Friday, November 10, 2017

Review: Revelation

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

Somehow, after reading all of the other series by this author, I missed the first installment in this cat shifter series. I don’t think you really need to have read book 1 to enjoy this one, but I’ll probably go back and pick it up for completion’s sake.

This book is filled with chemistry from start to finish. Kendra is a tough as nails witch who doesn’t take lip from anybody. She and Max (the next-in-line-to-lead cat shifter) have been dancing around each other for a little while now and everything explodes in this book. Max is a patient cat, willing to work on their relationship before dragging Kendra into his house. Sure, there are bad guys out to get them, but everything changes when they make a direct attempt at Kendra’s life. Things speed up a little bit from there.

The attraction between these two was fantastic! I am absolutely dying to see what cats continue this series and how their relationships grow if this is only book 2. Like most PNR, this book wraps nicely, with some action, some bad guys getting punished, and lots of sexy times. I was happy with the quick read and liked the familiar faces from the other series.

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Review: Master of Magic

Master of Magic Master of Magic by Angela Knight
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this short novel without actually realizing there was a whole world built into a series that I have no experience with. That being said, I was able to catch up rather quickly and still enjoy this glimpse into a magical world.

Olivia wakes up on a freezing bench with no recollection of how she got there. She’s a magical being who is lots of years old so nobody should really be able to kidnap her, let alone hold her against her will. It seems, however, that she can’t seem to get off that bench until a tall dark and handsome stranger appears, loaded with magic. Sure, it seems suspicious, but when a pack of werewolves try to kill them both, beggars can’t be choosers.

Oh, did I mention that there’s also some sizzling hot attraction between these two? That was fun to watch play out, even if magic might have had something to do with it. There’s magical beings, lots of family surprises, and magic, magic, magic! And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the HEA.

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Review: Alpha's Prize

Alpha's Prize Alpha's Prize by Renee Rose
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was a little dark, a lot alpha, and pretty smutty. As my first intro to the Bad Boy Alphas series, I think it gave me a good flavor of what to expect. I read it as a standalone, but I’m sure there is a lot of backstory given in other books.

Sedona is the daughter of an alpha shifter, away on holiday, when she is kidnapped, stripped, and sold to another wolf clan. She’s chained in a dungeon, naked, and introduced to the current alpha of the pack. Said alpha is just returning from a long hiatus when he’s led to a cell and locked in with a female captive. Some biological imperatives take over throughout the night and these two end up having consensual sex and he ends up marking her.

Sedona is obviously not in the best of places. She’d been kidnapped, found herself attracted to someone who might be in league with the kidnappers, and she is now conflicted about some mating that may or may not have been ok with her at the time. Throw in a very backwards pack structure, her family showing up to rescue her, and a possible pregnancy and you’ve got oodles of drama enough to set even the most calm wolf running. Don’t worry, though, because her alpha mate is willing to chase her to the ends of the earth. If you’re looking for a very alpha heavy, dirty read, this is definitely worth checking out.

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Review: Magic Breaks

Magic Breaks Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t even know where to begin here. Since there was a huge disclaimer at the start of this book, warning me about it reading like the last of series (but wasn’t) I spent most of my reading time expecting the worst. Don’t get me wrong, people die, things get wrapped up, it does read like the last book in a series (complete with epilogue) but I almost wish the disclaimer hadn’t been there. I’ll comment on the ending when I get there, too, because… I’m pretty conflicted.

OK, so we all knew this was coming – the big showdown! As the fake last book in the series, this was obviously where we would see Kate’s life mission (sort of) come to its ultimate end. I pretty much expected everyone to die. Every time there was a nice lull in the action and happy moments cropped up, I waited for something horrible and traumatizing to happen. Overall, though… it didn’t. I mean, sure, there are some dead bodies left in the wake of the happenings of this book, but not nearly the amount I expected (and there was a big one that never got into that dead body pile, unfortunately).

Without spoilers, in general, the story revolves around Kate coming to terms with her lineage and fighting to get to the big bad. I say get to because the book spent a really long time taking Kate to Roland. There are meetings, more meetings, planning, castles, cells, more castles, more cells, some camping, lots of vampires, and then Roland. Roland was… unexpected. Not that he showed up – that’s a given, but where we end up with him is surprising and maybe not in a good way? Is it bad that I’m somewhat unhappy with a HEA? Maybe Kate just felt like she needed a tougher path? That doesn’t sound right, because she (once again) sustained Dresden-level-hurt throughout the book.

I guess I’m happy that my favorites made it out alive and I still get more books in this universe? I’m conflicted. Also, there were some notably absent characters for a fake final book: Saimon, Grendel, and Julie. I’m obviously going to see where the rest of the books go, but I’m left a little unsettled by how happily everything ended (especially with some big bads still lurking).

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Review: Magic Steals

Magic Steals Magic Steals by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This short story was another installment of the Jim/Dali romance. I am absolutely in love with these two and their quirky relationship so I quickly gobbled this book up when the time came.

In the main set of books, we only get to see Jim, the paranoid, tough, unstoppable head of security. He’s good at what he does, and is oftentimes the voice of reason to the two rather crazy alphas (or alpha and consort… whatever). In these Jim/Dali shorts, we get to see how Jim lives the rest of his life (if he has one...) and we also get to see Dali be a super awesome magic wielder! To be honest, she kind of blew me away, probably as much as she did Jim. I’m getting ahead of myself, though.

This story is about Jim and Dali’s growing relationship (yay) but it is also about how Dali conducts her “job” as her culture dictates. With her massive magical powers, she can remove all badness from curses of her lineage. It’s super crazy that this little mostly blind vegetarian girl can go in there and knock around the baddies. I loved it! I also really enjoyed Jim being playful. He and Dali are such a wonderful combination. I wish we saw more of it bleed into the larger books.

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Review: An Ill-Advised Rescue

An Ill-Advised Rescue An Ill-Advised Rescue by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listened to this short story after completing the emotional rollercoaster that is Magic Rises. I’m usually one to read things in order and complete all the little short stories in a row. I couldn’t find this book without having it attached to Magic Rises, so I begrudgingly read it “out of order.” I’m glad. After all the drama jammed into the book, it was nice to see Kate just… be Kate. She gets a call from the guild about Saimon being kidnapped and swings into action. It was also very satisfying to spend some time with Kate’s dog after him being so very absent in the larger book. Definitely a welcome addition to the Kate-verse.

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Review: The Road to Helltown

The Road to Helltown The Road to Helltown by S.M. Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, I’m not sure what I expected out of the last Cesar book, but it totally wasn’t this! This author knows how to make me feel so safe in the knowledge of oodles of previous books and then just pulls the rug out from under me! I expected a bloody, gory, fight to the end and instead I got the most satisfying book of the series!

Cesar is still... Cesar. If you were annoyed with him before, his participation in the events leading up to the apocalypse will not make you love him more. His actions afterwards are just… the best. I’m getting ahead of myself, but in a world where I know what happens years after, years before, and to other people at the same time, where to draw the spoiler line gets confusing. We are still rapidly approaching what people know will be a drastic change for the world as everyone knows it. Cesar is the saddest, reluctant participant in the apple, but he’s still going along with their plans. Can you feel me shaking my head at him? That’s what I’ve done through most of the series.

As things start looking worse and worse, he is actually forced to make some tough decisions. He can no longer stay on the sidelines or be pulled along by either his girlfriend or his boss’s wife. As far as his storyline goes, he certainly gets the best of all endings available. We know where he has to end up (or at least anyone who has read the surrounding books knows) but the path is totally uncertain. There will be a re-making of sorts, so all bets are totally off. What someone ended as before that can be undone, essentially meaning no one is safe anymore. As the last book of this series, I guess I expected it to be darker. The fact that it left me smiling and happy was a pleasant surprise. It gets dark, don’t worry, but it is 100% worth it to get to the end.

Do we get all the answers we want? I think we do. We get to find everyone’s path forward while watching the pieces get in place for Dana’s series to pick up. I even wanted to hug Fritz! Who wants that before this book? Nobody! Now I’ve got soft and fuzzy feelings for everyone (you know, except the big bads). This book was surprising in the best way possible and gave probably the most satisfying end I could have hoped for in the Cesar storyline.

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Review: Magic Rises

Magic Rises Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m reviewing this only a few hours after finishing this book in audiobook format so I’m probably a little closer to this one than my usual review. That being said – damn! You always know that these books make no guarantees that everyone ends the book in good shape (or even alive) but I’m pretty beat up here.

This book is another road trip-type. Kate and a select few from the pack end up making a trip across the ocean into what everyone agrees is a big trap. Everyone knows that there can be no good reason that Curran was selected to negotiate and protect a disputed pregnant woman. Everyone knows that they will walk right into this trap with the promise of a magical lupism cure at the end of it. How can they not? At the same time, soon after arriving, it’s like everyone forgot. People are playing their own secret games hidden within games, but (again) it’s like nobody remembers that this is a gigantic trap.

I’m not even really sure what of the plot I can talk about without getting into some serious spoilers, but overall, this trip to a castle ends up being (shockingly) a bad idea. Yes, they might come out slightly ahead (definitely stronger) but there are some big checks in the “loss” column that some might argue outweigh the wins. That being said, Kate is still… Kate. There is a lot of unbearable girlishness thrown in here, but she’s still the non-stop killing machine we’ve come to know and love. This book also gave us some good, in-depth time with some of the more supporting characters. At one point I even found myself appreciating how much more I know and love a certain character because of the actions of this book. This was a bad omen.

So what happens that I can talk about? Kate’s secret is a big player in this book. What starts as a book that seems about Curran ends up (of course) actually being about Kate really. All of her work has been leading up to a big confrontation in this book (no, not *the* big one, but still, a pretty epic battle). While I’m happy where we end up here, at least as far as Kate and Curran go, I spent most of the time in this book dreading coming back to it. The relationship drama was so unbearable, but eventually works itself out (thank god). I look forward to a book where everyone is back at home and the Kate/Curran team can be strong again.

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Review: Enthrall Me

Enthrall Me Enthrall Me by Tamara Hogan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow, I joined this series wayyyyyyy after I should have. There is a very detailed and comprehensive world already built and set up for this story, but I managed to muddle through. The author certainly does a good job of catching up even the most uniformed reader (like me).

This book follows the blissfully beautiful romance between Tia and Wyland. Tia is a young vampire, an investigative journalist, and a friend to most of the higher up muckidy mucks of the Underworld Council. In this universe there are all sorts of paranormals and each of them have representation on the council by a first and second. For vampires, the second is Wyland. That means he’s responsible for representing and governing the vampire race and also being super-duper old and powerful. This, for Wyland, also comes with crippling guilt over perceived faults and overworking himself to Dresden-like levels of fatigue.

So how do these two manage to get into a relationship? Well it certainly wasn’t Wyland’s preference to bring such a young and seemingly fragile woman into his life. If he had his way, he’d be brooding, alone, and sleep deprived for the rest of his never-ending life. Tia, however, has a way of shaking things up. After ending up on the short list of people granted access to the archives, she starts to become a close friend to the vampire first, putting her square in Wyland’s line of sight. It seems impossible, the amount of work he takes on, but he somehow manages to add a simmering obsession with Tia to the mix rather quickly.

The blend of these two characters was one I really enjoy. Tia’s “live life to the fullest” attitude constantly forcing Wyland to push outside is comfort zone was really great to watch. Oh, and the sizzle between these two was great, too! Even if you’re not familiar with the world (like I was), I still recommend this book as a solid paranormal romance read with oodles of mystery and action thrown in, too!

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Review: Relentless

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

As a novella, this book certainly over delivers! There is enough drama, intrigue, and romance to be a full-length novel and then some.

We join the North American vampire gang as they continue to battle against the Europeans. While a full scale war is not yet in effect, there have been so many small battles they are essentially there. Raphael has finally reached his breaking point. We get to watch Cyn be her usual awesome self, Raphael go into super vampire mode, and everyone else die. If you’re looking for a truly great “novella” that should most certainly be read in order of the series, this is a stand out book. While this is definitely a Cyn/Raphael book, we get hints of Quinn’s story and how things will eventually take shape in Europe.

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Review: Wolf in her Soul

Wolf in her Soul Wolf in her Soul by N.J. Walters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Remember Reece when we first met him? Even if you don’t, this story is a really great addition to the world of werewolves. This book can probably be read as a standalone, but would be better appreciated as part of the larger world.

Reece is a detective, a werewolf, and he’s also a closet romantic. After dreaming of a mystery for most of his life, he has been hoping for her arrival for years. When he finally reaches his breaking point, ready to head home to be with his twin and pack again, she stumbles right into his world. Hannah, the mystery woman, doesn’t have the most wonderful introduction to Reece. She’s stalked, attacked, and is in the hospital when they finally meet one another.

While Reece is ready to dive right into a relationship, Hannah has a little bit harder time adjusting to this world where she’s not somehow “less” because of her partial werewolf heritage. Who knew an abandoned young girl could somehow end up inheriting such a wonderfully protective mate and family? The romance is somewhere between fated mates and regular paranormal romance levels, but don’t worry – these two light up the pages! As a standalone or companion to the series, this book is definitely a great read.

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Review: Levi

Levi Levi by Bailey Bradford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This sexy and suspenseful paranormal romance gave a great introduction to the world of cat shifters and their hunt for a mate.

Levi is the dutiful son, hosting his family reunion with a smile while he secretly longs for some more personal companionship. Being a larger guy has made it hard for him to find what he needs in a mate and in the bedroom. A chance encounter with a cougar shifter suddenly shows him how great a perfect match this stranger could be. If only he had stuck around to cuddle, maybe he wouldn’t find himself in such a strange predicament – lusting after someone who he doesn’t even know.

Lyndon has been on the run most of his life, dodging a stalker who has been silently escalating his approach. Having lived with abuse for so long, he finds it very hard to accept that he might have something real with the snow leopard shifter he’s smitten with. While they might have reservations about their relationship, everyone around them appears to be significantly more clued in to their mate status. Being accepted as one of Levi’s large family seems so far out of reach for Lyndon that they might just end up sabotaging their relationship before it starts. Lucky for them both, his instant support system won’t let that happen.

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Review: Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas

Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas by Terry Spear
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a wonderful little Christmas story! While I’m not really up to date on all the wonderfully intersecting stories of this author, I found it incredibly easy to dive in here and enjoy this relatively standalone tale.

Candice was an average woman, writing in her free time until she goes on the camping trip that changes her life. A small bite from what she assumed was a lost puppy ends up transforming her into a werewolf. Being forced to essentially push everyone away has left her alone but eagerly throwing herself into her writing career. Writing about werewolves is suddenly even more relevant.

While Candice was out on her inaugural shift/run, she happened to see another arctic wolf. Said wolf, Owen, has become convinced that this mystery wolf will be his mate and is even more dumbstruck when his most recent case takes him right to her door. The two of them might have a confusing history, but their future is definitely looking good. As long as she can accept the instant introduction of a pack, some estranged family, some conniving con-men/women, and more shifters than she can shake a stick at, they should be fine! As a nice introduction to the world, this book was more than I expected. We meet so many interesting characters that I’m eager to dive right back in.

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Review: Drop Dead Gorgeous

Drop Dead Gorgeous Drop Dead Gorgeous by Juliet Lyons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This second installment was filled with just as much quirky romance as the first one and leaves me eager to see where this series heads next.

Mila is this book’s focus. She starts the story going on a v-date with a serial killer. No worries, though, because Vincent the vampire is on the case! Vincent is the “by the books” vampire you hope would be the cop assigned to your case, but Mila certainly tests his resolve. Aside from their blistering attraction, these two also have to work together to make sure the serial killer can’t continue his work.

Vincent has oodles of baggage, but trust the very open and rambling Mila to push all his boundaries. Forced to live together, these two play a game of who can ignore their attraction more. When they finally break, it’s epically hot. If you’re looking for a murder-mystery with paranormal romance throughout, this is definitely a smutty good time.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Review: Demon Hunting with a Sexy Ex

Demon Hunting with a Sexy Ex Demon Hunting with a Sexy Ex by Lexi George
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay, full disclaimer – I didn’t realize this was a later installment of an already in progress series. I dove right in, quickly realizing that I was missing some initial books, but plowed through anyway. While this might not be the optimal introduction, it was still a nice intro.

Cassandra has an ex-boyfriend who has hunted her down, hundreds of years later, and he won’t take no for an answer. They’re both magical (her a witch and he a magical demon hunter) and they’ve already had the big “you’re something I should be hunting” fight, so things should be smooth sailing, right? Wrong. Cassie is still very much holding a grudge, Duncan (the ex) is still trying to win her back, and the both of them are trying to navigate in a magical world.

There’s also something magically big going on. An orb is changing hands, there might be some big betrayal in the Dalyhani, and there’s also big and lovable creatures out there. All of this combined to make for a really great, magic-packed book. Oh, and there’s a solid love story underneath it all, too.

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Review: Bittersweet Blood

Bittersweet Blood Bittersweet Blood by Nina Croft
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While this is the first of a series, it certainly throws you into a well-established world of vampires, demons, and fae assassins.

Tara is out on her own in a world that she has always been taught to be afraid of in one way or another. She was raised knowing very little of the world, so now that she’s on her own, she’s more determined than ever to figure out her shady past. She’s hired a PI who just happens to be a vampire (and ex-demon hunter) and that’s just where the weirdness starts. Christian, said vampire, is immediately intrigued. After saving his new client in the alley outside his building, he’s determined to take the risk and look into her past. It doesn’t hurt that her blood calls to him, either.

From there, things just keep getting stranger and stranger. Turns out, Tara has a very important mom and dad and somehow she’s about to bring about some big war. Oh, and she’s also got to navigate her growing feelings for Christian and her surprise in the form of a pet/friend. Throw all this in the blender, combine with paranormal madness and you’ve got one engaging start to this new series. I was pleasantly surprised with Tara and how she embraces her new life.

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Review: Forsaken by Night

Forsaken by Night Forsaken by Night by Larissa Ione
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a short companion to the series I’ve already been reading. It’s short, but worth the read.

Lobo, a vampire adrift without companionship due to a miscommunication years ago discovers Tehya, who he assumes is a wounded animal. He nurses her back to health and finds in her the companion he’s always needed. The only thing missing? If she were a female vampire. Lucky for him, fate seems to be on his side. Sadly, for Tehya, she’s been stuck in wolf form because she accidentally shifted years ago. She’s found companionship in Lobo but she’s unable to be with him the way she ultimately dreams of.

After a horrible accident, Lobo is forced to sneak in and get help from his old friends, breaking all the rules along the way. By risking his life, he ends up somehow triggering Tehya shifting back and starting all sorts of other drama. These two are well matched and made for some good entertainment. Even if you’re not familiar with this world, it’s a good read.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Review: Fracture

Fracture (Midnight Ice #3)Fracture by Kaitlyn Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Holy moly! This series has so many twists and turns that I never know what to expect! What was starting to feel like the last of the series suddenly threw me for a loop with its shocking ending. While I’m not sure it qualifies as a true cliffhanger, this book will definitely have you desperate for more from the world of Pandora Scott.

We meet back up with Pandora and Jax in their hideout with the conduits. There is obviously still some massive tension between the two of them. Jax still feels super guilty about having betrayed Pandora to who he thought were the good guys and Pandora isn’t quite sure where she stands with any of the men in her life. Sure, there’s the wonderfully tormented Jax who is desperate for every shred of emotion she can give him, but there’s also the king of the bad boys, Sam, who has suffered lifetimes in the hopes of getting her back.

I have to admit to being a little bit on Team Sam, but this book completely turned me around. Along with this love triangle drama, there is also the larger end of the world storyline (I guess that should really be the primary story in my head, but I’m a romance addict). Pandora is more determined than ever to end this cycle of rebirth and murder one way or another. One thing we know for sure – when Pandora sets her mind to something, don’t get in her way. As I said before, the ending blew my mind and I’m sure you’ll be stunned, too. I cannot wait to see where the story takes us next!

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Review: Gunmetal Magic

Gunmetal Magic Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I admit that I was kind of excited to get out of Kate’s head and into somebody else’s. That lasted only a few chapters in and then I was kind of sad to be completely without Kate. There’s something about her sarcasm and wit that really keeps things moving for me. Andrea is a different beast (haha) entirely.

So, as I already said, this really is exclusively an Andrea story. Kate is in maybe 5% of the book and that’s really only as a supporting character. Yes, you get Raphael (of course), but it really hurts for a while to watch Andrea muddle through her broken relationship and her feelings towards said relationship. Sure, Andrea is a tough chick who can handle herself in analytical situations, but she is severely lacking when it comes to the interpersonal stuff. Maybe that’s why she and Kate get along so well.

What’s the main story? Gah – in keeping with the rest of the series, this gets complicated. Andrea is called in to help Jim out with a murder investigation. It (of course) happens on one of Raphael’s sites, which puts them in direct contact for the first time since their “break-up.” We do finally get to learn what happened to Andrea during her time MIA. I’m glad I read the short story that runs parallel before this book, too, and highly recommend it.

Andrea’s adventure in this book takes her to visit Roman, who we met in the previous book. He was a welcome addition to the usual crew and I look forward to more interaction with the witches (am I allowed to call them that?). Do we get some resolution on the Andrea/Raphael front? Yes. Do we get to watch Andrea fall apart for most of the book? Yes. If you want both of those things, you’ll have to check this book out.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Review: Blood Guard

Blood Guard Blood Guard by Megan Erickson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was filled with sarcasm, an amazingly strong female lead, and sizzling smutty goodness. Overall, it was an awesome introduction to this world and left me dying for the next installment!

Tendra has been living her life through a haze of grief lately. Her mother recently passed away, leaving her adrift and unsure of herself. All her life, they’ve moved from place to place, on the run from some unseen force. Now that she’s on her own, she finds herself wondering when she needs to leave. Turns out, she hung around a little too long. Now she’s thrown into the world of vampires and other paranormals, most of them trying to hunt her down for her blood lineage.

Athan, the blood guard tasked with guarding and bringing her to his brother, has been training all his life for this job. Nobody could have predicted that it would be filled with so much confusion and temptation. Fighting is easy, but working on his interactions with Tendra is turning his world on its head. There’s a prophecy and his race’s survival in the balance, too. No pressure, right? These two somehow find their way to a really great solution, but it’s not without a lot of drama and surprises. I really enjoyed watching these two hit things head-on and become a phenomenal team.

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Review: Suicide Queen

Suicide Queen Suicide Queen by S.M. Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow – what a shocking way to end the series! I have to say, this author never stops surprising me.

No spoilers, but this is the last of the series, so you know some big things have to go down. We watched Nissa escape at the end of the previous book, so it’s no surprise that she’s still up to no good with her crazy psychic powers. There’s also (like we need more bad guys) a new serial killer going around making vampires and killing lots of people. Dana has been recruited, much like the suicide squad, to help catch a killer and get severely punished (with head exploding consequences) if she tries to make a break for it.

There’s also a lot of soul searching (at least as much as Dana does that) thrown in to make things even more complicated. Can she kill Nissa? Will she reconcile with her wife/ex-wife? Can she let go of her vendetta to save her marriage? Oh, and then there’s the looming daylighting from the OPA that’s coming up quickly. Don’t worry, though, because somehow we get to a very satisfying conclusion by the end of the book. I was shocked and amazed by the way things played out, but happy none the less.

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Friday, September 22, 2017

Review: Small Magics

Small Magics Small Magics by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m usually not one for short story anthologies. I’d much rather dig into a full size book or at least a novella, but these stories made for a good, quick read that reminded me that there is more in the Kate Daniels world than just Kate.

There are 5 stories in total. 1 happens before the series begins, 3 are mysteries to me (and don’t directly involve any familiar faces), and 1 is supposedly taking place around where we left off in the series. The first and last were definitely my favorites (for obvious reasons) but the rest (particularly the pig story) were still solidly written and engaging. I’m not really a fan of historical fiction and some of them did read a little… old. I was expecting corsets and petticoats to be on the next page.

Pushing all that aside, this collection of short stories was a nice diversion to hold someone over waiting for the next book. Of course, I didn’t exactly wait and am listening to the Andrea book at the same time. Who knew the Kate Daniels world would grow so big?

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Review: Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats

Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats Pink Lock Picks and Sequined Witch Hats by Carla Rehse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was just brimming with awesomeness. I will admit to being a little worried at first about following around a very spoiled rich teenager but Gracie grew on me rather quickly.

Gracie Mason is a cheerleader and a master manipulator. Fear not, though, because she is determined to put her evil power to good use. Sure, it starts off with her trying to use this skill to get in good with her latest crush, but she soon finds herself knee deep in witches and magic. The source of said magic? That’s Asher, a guy who ended up saving her life and bonding them together. He’s got trouble of his own, however, and Gracie just can’t help herself. These two make a very powerful combination.

What starts out as a mutually beneficial partnership soon grows into friendship and then sizzling chemistry. Maybe there was chemistry all along, but it really heats up when the magic starts flying. As an intro book, this story certainly had me hooked. I want more of Asher and Gracie and I’m dying to see what happens next!

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Review: Magic Gifts

Magic Gifts Magic Gifts by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved this short (long-ish) story set in the Kate Daniels world! There is something so very light about a story that begins with a date between Kate and Curran. Sure, it isn’t easy and doesn’t end well (sort-of), but it is so… nice.

The larger story (aside from the awesomeness that is Curran and Kate’s witty banter) is about a magical item that ends up threatening a child’s life. By working together to locate a solution, we end up going on a very entertaining journey to the Vikings and their mythological creatures. I don’t think I can adequately sum up how spot on the dialogue is throughout this story. It had me smiling, laughing, and just generally loving on some Kate and Curran goodness. If you’ve read the rest of the series, you deserve this wonderful little nugget.

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Review: The Witchling Apprentice

The Witchling Apprentice The Witchling Apprentice by B. Kristin McMichael
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Witches, shapeshifters, and vampires all rolled into one mythological race are introduced in this addictive YA read.

We get to meet Cassie, a bit of an outcast, but also an exceptional witch. She’s been kept in the dark for so long that she can’t wait to pass her test and join the coven. Without her overbearing guardian’s permission, she takes and passes the test, starting a cascade of events (not all good). There’s mates, magic, and some really bad guys out there! All of this is a huge surprise to Cassie, but she somehow manages to keep her wits about her.

Her plucky best friend is also a highlight of the book that had me quickly flipping pages. Even her mistaken mate ended up growing on me as he proved himself to Cassie and the readers. By the end of the book I was dying to see a clean HEA materialize. Sadly, while we get a happy ending, you’re left wanting more. I’m happily addicted and dying to dive in to book 2!

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Review: Magic Slays

Magic Slays Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yeesh! These books keep getting better and better! Just when I thought there were no more big revelations to come, this book totally surprised me.

We join Kate as she is working on making her own business. Sure, the pack has fronted the money to set it up, but she’s also determined not to be some sort of “kept woman.” Getting called “consort” is certainly not helping matters, either. Her first real client comes around the same time as she gets some employees, which is a good thing. The guards we previously met at the Midnight Games end up calling her up for help. Turns out, some big bad magical thing is missing and so is the inventory. This throws Kate firmly into some magical drama between factions that mostly hate each other.

On the relationship front, it was nice to see a mostly stable Kate and Curran. If you’re hoping for some of your other favorite couples showing up, don’t hold your breath. I’m sure those will be further handled in separate books or stories. While all this is going on, Kate is also struggling to be a stern but still awesome guardian to Julie. Some horrible things happen. I’m still not over it.

We get your typical ending from Kate Daniels – lots of destruction, some maiming, but this time she actually comes out slightly less damaged than usual. Maybe this time we were focusing more on the emotional and mental trauma, of which there was tons. I’m a little happy for a bit of a break from Kate after this (the next book is an Andrea one) so I can decompress from this one.

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Review: Rescued by the Wolf

Rescued by the Wolf Rescued by the Wolf by Sasha Summers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Admittedly, I joined this party a little late. I’m starting with book 2, which I didn’t realize, but I think I was able to enjoy it just as much.

At this point in the story, Mal has been kidnapped for quite some time. He’s been actively tortured in some horrible ways, but has managed to keep his head on straight. Determined to escape, he’s even learned (the hard way) not to trust people who are thrown into the cage next to his. It seems like he’s making slow but steady progress towards escape on his own until Olivia gets thrown into the neighboring cage. She’s obviously a human, while Mal is a shifter. She’s also obviously mortally wounded unless they can get her into better shape. Throw all that together with his animal’s inability to leave her behind, and he’s got an uphill battle.

They manage to make it out, but that’s really only the beginning. There’s lots of tough choices to be made in order to secure their escape (and their lives), but these two became a pretty solid pair. I was also interested in the wild cast of characters back in Mal’s home pack. I’m sure there’s a bit of backstory that I was missing, but we got to revisit most of it as Olivia stumbles through pack life. As an intro (for me), this was a great blend of action and romance. Definitely interested to see where we go next!

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Review: Hellcat

Hellcat Hellcat by Isabel Brann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was wacky, wild, and had me completely confused (in a good way). The world of the Therian shifters was definitely something different.

Nik, a pompous lion shifter who is obsessed with his hair, starts his day with an IT problem of the “my-ex-girlfriend-hacked-our-website” variety that seems innocuous enough. The IT solution – get in the best in the business to make sure it gets fixed quickly. The best in the business, however, ends up being Lee, a shifter who has oodles of secrets but an equal amount of mad skills. While they both have some immediately attraction, Lee is definitely a little gun-shy. Who wouldn’t be, after being betrayed by her last ex in a relatively catastrophic way? We’re talking prophecy-rific type of betrayal.

Nik obviously sees no need to slow things down, since he’s the most awesome thing ever. These two have a hard road to acceptance of a fated mate-type situation, but it was pretty entertaining to watch unfold. On top of all this, there’s some big bad who is hunting down Lee using a whole bunch of mythological beings. In between the sexual chemistry, there was action, mystery, and a nice set up for future installments. All in all, this was a really great into to the zany world of the Therians.

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Review: Hunger

Hunger Hunger by Jacquelyn Frank
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This series is filled with unexpected twists and turns and this particular book really set the tone from page 1. Who knew a book that started like a “Saw” installment could end up being so steamy and romantic?

We join Halo in an unfamiliar place, with no recollection of how he ended up there. He’s been stripped and confined to a nondescript room with nothing but video footage of another captive to entertain him. The other captive, Felice, is a human and unexposed to his e-vamp world but all of that goes out the window when they must rely on each other to escape. It seems relatively straightforward in concept – the unattached hunter must work with the caring human, but it is so much deeper than that.

On top of the regular escape and try not to have feelings for one another story, there’s also the big bad in this situation who is actively working against the “good vamps.” With an operation designed at forcing them to feed off tainted energy, it seems like the plot could actually work in the long run. This battle between the good and bad vamps is clearly ramping up and will require the unique combinations thrown together in these books for the good ones to emerge victorious. I’m very interested to see where we head next and how the stoic guardian we met here will find his match.

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Review: Unconditional

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

This story can probably be read alone, but it was a good addition to the already existing series. I am pretty sure I’m missing a spinoff set between the previous book and this one, but I treated it as a “fast forward” addition to the timeline without issue.

Michelle is a tough as nails cop who also happens to be a witch. It’s a difficult secret to keep, but she’s got a few friends who share the same secret and that makes it easier. One such friend ends up going suddenly missing, which wouldn’t be so ominous except for the current abduction of supernaturals by mages. When her normal routes of assistance begin to dry up, she gets pointed towards the wolves for help. One such wolf, Josh, just so happens to be her long lost high school boyfriend.

Josh was forced to abandon his life when he was bitten by a shifter. He didn’t even end up saying goodbye to Michelle, which made her sudden appearance in his life all that more difficult. Add the fact that she’s his mate and doesn’t really know anything about their world, and he was definitely in for an uphill battle. While we don’t get a conclusion to the mage storyline, we definitely get a nice, neat HEA for these two. With all the hard work and sizzling chemistry, it was hard to anticipate anything but that. There were some twists and turns along the way, but it was totally worth the trip.

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Review: The Darkest Promise

The Darkest Promise The Darkest Promise by Gena Showalter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a long time coming. We’ve watched Cameo suffer with her demon, Misery, for a while now. At first I thought that she was going to end up with her fellow warriors, but this story with Lazarus has been building for a little bit.

We join Cameo as she tumbled (literally) into Lazarus’s realm. She knows that they’ve met before, but the demon had previously removed any memory of him from her mind. This world, coupled with her own demon-based suffering, ends up making it a little difficult from her to find Lazarus without any bloodshed. Wounding one of Lazarus’s pets, though, seems to accomplish everything she needed. With a weird cat-thing in tow, she ends up being confronted by the man she most desired (re) meeting.

Lazarus doesn’t actually realize the extent of Cameo’s memory loss, but that doesn’t really slow him down much. These two are absolutely the perfect pair. His sarcasm and wit had me wishing for more Lazarus-centric scenes. Even with some truly terrible and martyr-rific decisions on both sides, I really enjoyed watching the romance between these two.

As usual, there are also a number of side stories, but none were actually distracting. We’ve met the woman in the mirror who will somehow tie to Hades in future installments (probably). We’ve also got more Hera information that will probably come in handy, a new cat-thing friend (maybe), and a huge step forward in the Pandora box situation. All in all, this was a really productive book, with another lord paired off successfully.

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Review: Masked Possession

Masked Possession Masked Possession by Alana Delacroix
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow – this book was something completely unique! After reading boatloads of paranormal romance, it takes a lot to make a book something truly special and unique. This world certainly does that and more.

Caro is a woman who is hiding from her past. She used to be a tenacious reporter, outing the big bads of the world until she got caught (and stabbed). Oh, and to make matters worse, she’s also a paranormal who has some serious issues about using her abilities. Sure, she’s working in a paranormal publicist office in her “new life,” but that keeps her busy and lets her continue to hide out. Her entire world changes when a Masquerada walks into her office, looking to kill off his masks.

Masquerada were definitely a bit of a change from your typical paranormals. They can change their body and face to take on a “mask.” Depending on the level of skill, the person can take on one or many of varying difficulty or changes from their original form. Eric, the leader of this race of paranormals has recently discovered he’s having trouble taking on a mask, as is common for people who maintain too many for too long a time.

When taking on the task of removing his masks from the world, he immediately finds himself distractedly smitten with Caro. He knows that he shouldn’t fall for someone who is not a Masquerada, but he can’t help himself. Luckily for them both, they are perfectly suited. She helps him look outside his world and he helps her embrace his (and hers). There’s a little bit of something for everyone in this book – mystery, action, romance, smutty goodness. It was certainly an excellent introduction to this world and I found myself captivated by the newness of it all.

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Review: Magic Dreams

Magic Dreams Magic Dreams by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These little books in between the main novels are such fun to read! I like getting a change-up from the POV of Kate and they never cease to give oodles additional details that may or may not be necessary.

This story is told from Dali’s POV and, oh boy, you can kind of anticipate how awesome that was. She’s a vegetarian, half-blind, white tiger shifter who has an insane amount of arcane knowledge in her head. She’s also, obviously, in love with Jim. We’ve watched them dance around each other for a little while now and I have been dying to see that get resolved (in a good way). Dali comes back from a bit of a failed drag race (or something) to discover Jim asleep in her bedroom in a totally not good way. Turns out, there has been a magical attack on one of Jim’s buildings and he needs someone to escort him back because he… doesn’t remember.

Of course, it’s some really obscure bit of magic that has begun attacking the cat shifter base. Without going into too many details, the most important part is that this bit of trauma ends up pushing Dali and Jim to face their attraction! Yay for everyone! This book is definitely an essential companion to the main series. A must read!

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Review: Curran POV Collection

Curran POV Collection Curran POV Collection by Gordon Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This collection of stories was a great companion to the first few books of the series. I tried to read them after each book, or soon after, but often just plowed through a few at one time. Who doesn’t want to know what Curran is thinking along the way?

Some highlights definitely came from the POVs before you know where things are headed. Getting some insight into what he knows and when he knows it was also appreciated. I’m absolutely in love with Curran and Kate and will continue to devour everything that I get from their world. I would read 100 of these companion sets of POVs.

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Review: The Vampire Next Door

The Vampire Next Door The Vampire Next Door by Marilyn Baron
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Full disclosure: I did not read any of the 3 previous books (nor did I realize they existed) before diving in to this book. While rated a 3 stars, it was probably closer to 2.5 using my rating scale. I had trouble finishing this one.

I originally picked this book up because I thought it sounded like something I’d be in to – a paranormally gifted girl ends up drawn to the vampire boy next door. The boy next door, however, has a whole heck of a lot of baggage with him. He’s not your typical love interest and has, in fact, been involved in the rape and murder of a few members of the girl next door’s family. Somehow, they are able to look beyond all this to find… romance? There’s an arranged wedding fast approaching, some scheming vampires lurking, and a family of psychics who can’t seem to keep their daughter away from a literal murderer.

The book itself reads almost like a historical romance, which may be why I had some issues getting through it all. I tend to prefer contemporary paranormal romance. That aside, I would have probably benefited from having some connection to the rest of Aurora Dawn’s family, who play key roles in this book. If you are interested in this tale, I would recommend you start from the beginning, and hope that you enjoy.

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Review: Alpha's Temptation

Alpha's Temptation Alpha's Temptation by Renee Rose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was sizzling and sexy with lots of alpha goodness thrown in. If you’re interested in some hot paranormal action, this is definitely the book for you.

Kylie is a reformed hacker who has been recruited for her dream job – working for a billionaire genius coder. Through an unfortunate series of events, she ends up trapped in an elevator, talking rather candidly about the owner to… none other than the owner. Despite her sarcasm and wit (or maybe because of it), she finds herself getting offered the job. This job ends up being worse for her health than hacking ever was. She’s bounced between a hot and cold relationship with the boss, a blackmailer who threatens her grandmother, and some pretty creepy coworkers. I give her an A+ for holding it all together as long as she does.

Jackson, the aforementioned owner of the company, is immediately smitten with Kylie, and his inner wolf is, too. Sure, he’s supposed to stay away from humans and is also determined to remain a pack of two. Kylie, however, seems to be his new obsession. No matter how many things indicate he should just stay away, he keeps getting drawn back to her side. These two have some serious sizzle that lights up the pages. We not only get a HEA, but we also get some good romance along the way. I was sad to see this one end.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Review: Convergence

Convergence Convergence by J.R. Rain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow – what an intro to a huge new world! We’ve got paranormals, MIB, giant bird things, and so much I can’t even wrap my head around. This was definitely a deep dive into the world of magic and mayhem.

Solstice is a reporter for a paranormal paper. It would be pretty strange if she hadn’t grown up around magic. In this world, when normal are confronted with magic they easily rationalize it all away. Some people, however, are more open to seeing it. All of that changes when “the convergence” happens, putting a whole mess of magical beings front and center for all the world to see.

There’s a bunch of madness, kidnapping, magic, and maybe even some romance jammed into this introduction to Solstice’s world. The larger story has to do with nothing big, just saving the world (and herself) from some dark forces. I’m sure that this will end up being a much larger story in the books to come, but this was definitely a satisfying start.

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Review: Falling For His Mate

Falling For His Mate Falling For His Mate by Savannah Stuart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This short but sexy/sweet read gave a nice intro to this series without the full commitment of a novel. There was romance, drama, action, and sexy shifters all rolled into a quick read.

Andrew ran away from his mate at some previous point in time. We join him as he is trying to make amends. Sure, he could have probably called, begged, or otherwise warned Charlie that he was coming to win her back. Instead, he jumps at a paranormal exchange program-type opportunity and ends up stationed at her door. Okay, not really stationed, more like tasked with helping out at her salon. You know, the salon that he missed the opening of because he was a coward.

Charlie is still feeling the effects of Andrew’s dismissal and doesn’t exactly welcome him with open arms. She is definitely going to make him work for it, even if they are true mates. Even if you can guess where things end up, it was still a sweet and sexy read to fill a nice afternoon.

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Review: His Command

His Command His Command by Sophie H. Morgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Holy moly – this book was amazing! It had everything I wanted and more! It throws you into a world where genies are real and the sizzle is off-the-charts! I immediately went back and added book 1 to my wish list, sad to have missed it the first time around. Give me more from this world and I’ll be a happy girl!

Hailey is an uptight workaholic who recently got dumped. In an effort to ignore her loneliness, she dives even further into her work. That seems like a solid plan until she gets tasked with planning her ex’s wedding as a way to get a promotion. Along the way, however, she finds herself being rescued by a genie. Through some awkward work meetings, he somehow ends up posing as her boyfriend and that’s just the beginning.

These two are absolutely perfect. There’s not a single thing I would change about their awkward and unique romance. I found it incredibly difficult to put this book down from start to finish and found myself staying up well past bedtime to finish. I would love more from this world and will definitely swing back around to start at book 1!

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Review: Cashing Out: An Urban Fantasy Thriller

Cashing Out: An Urban Fantasy Thriller Cashing Out: An Urban Fantasy Thriller by SM Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books continue to surprise me and somehow I’m rooting for Dana like she’s some big hero. Shocking, right? There’s no real and true heroes in this world, but Dana might be pretty close now.

We join her after Nissa’s betrayal, I guess? It’s a little murky where everyone stands on the side of good and evil (as usual), but she definitely made the surprise decision to change the game at the end of the last book. This book definitely makes some big steps towards a conclusion. We get to see some very familiar faces (from another series), there’s some conclusion to Dana’s trip into vamp-ville, and, yes, there’s some really sad things that happen.

Dana’s journey is just as gritty, gruesome, and action-packed as you would expect. There’s really no easy choices for her throughout this book and I have no idea how she muddled through. While she’s suffering with her “life,” Nissa is coming to grips with the revelation that Dana presented. I guess there is a limit to how sorry you can feel for a psycho like Nissa, but she is sort-of the perpetual victim in this tale. It’s pretty hard to summarize and review without giving the game away, but I left this book relatively satisfied, if not sad for some endings. It read very much like a last book in the series, but I’m sure there’s more coming. Where will Dana go from here? I’m dying to know!

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Review: Magic Bleeds

Magic Bleeds Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, consider me completely addicted to these stories now. I definitely recommend starting from the beginning of this series, but no matter how you get here – enjoy!

This book is a little bit of a shakeup for a lot of things. While the previous books have been steadily building to this, I was still a little shocked. We join Kate, still working for the Order, still hiding her link to a big bad, still warring with Curran over their mutual attraction, but somehow making it all work (kind of). All of that gets thrown out of whack when a mysterious big bad rolls into town with plagues and the ability to turn shifters wild. Obviously Kate gets the call (while still moping about Curran) and that puts her firmly as a target for this evil doer.

Yes, Kate once again sustains an insane amount of physical and magical damage during the entirety of the book. It’s becoming a bit predictable in that sense. I know she will inevitably be horribly injured yet push through. In this case, it felt a little more… real. She genuinely has to deal with her human shortcomings (sometimes). While this book primarily focuses on Kate’s past, there is also a lot to do with Kate setting up what her future might look like. Sure, there’s some romantic interests thrown in for good measure (which I always enjoy), but it also has to do with how long she can balance what she wants to do with her life and what the Order wants from her.

All of these things mash together in lots of blood, some kissing, and another really great ending. This author certainly knows how to keep you coming back for more without actually making you stabby with cliffhangers.

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Review: Ride the Storm

Ride the Storm Ride the Storm by Karen Chance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t even know where to begin. First, if this is where you are thinking of beginning your journey with Cassie, STOP! Go back to the beginning, because we just dive right in with the first page and don’t look back.

These books are jam-packed with non-stop-action. Usually when I say that, there are still nice quiet scenes that don’t end in mayhem and destruction but that’s really not true with this book. It goes from one urgent emergency where things go crazy to another exploding mess of a battle scene without letting you decompress at all. I was torn between never wanting to put the book down and drowning in anxiety while reading. Cassie’s life is certainly not easy. While she doesn’t sustain life threatening injury as much as your Dresden or female equivalent, her exhaustion from power exertion is certainly on par. So, ultimately if you can through the mayhem and enjoy watching Cassie stumble through her duties, you will obviously pick this book up.

So, what’s the story? Gah, so much. Cassie and Rosier are still trying to catch and put back Pritkin’s soul with a counter curse which means much insanity of the old world style. It is pretty much exactly what you’d expect when an incredibly magical person and head ruler incubus demon guy team up. Just for good measure, though, Cassie doesn’t just have that to worry about. There’s also her relationship drama with Mircea coming back to bite her (and him). Who is the woman she found? Who’s trying to attack the vampires? How are they going to get into faerie? All of this is still crawling by while Cassie time jumps to other drama-filled worlds.

Some good we get out of this? There’s a conclusion to the counter curse storyline. That’s pretty much the only conclusion we get out of this book, even though it was pretty lengthy. That doesn’t mean we didn’t progress things along. There’s still big bad gods out there, but there’s also people fighting them. There’s still a lot of sizzle between Cassie and Pritkin, but don’t expect this book to be filled with romance. There’s even more revelations about Cassie’s past and Mircea’s secrets, but I’m sure we’ll still get more in future books. So while I love living in this world, the ending left me a little stabby about the lack of wrap up. That won’t give me any ounce of hesitation about reading the next one, though.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Review: The Lost Vampire

The Lost Vampire The Lost Vampire by Kate Baxter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was everything I wanted from a book about the broody and (maybe) crazy Saeed. I started the story unsure of how I felt about that particular character but he ended up being a pretty good guy.

When we last saw Saeed, he was going insane, falling into the Collective, and determined to find the mystery woman he was convinced was his mate. Having only seen her in the visions from the Collective, he obviously had nowhere to start looking. That was remedied by the helpful young seer, and off he went. He abandoned everything he cared about (some with pretty hurt feelings) and began his chase.

Cerys is an enslaved fae who has the deadly power to steal someone’s soul. The power isn’t infinite, and she convinced that any time now might be her last. The mage that owns her has little regard for her safety and keeps her on a short leash. It is through this connection that the two soul mates finally meet. It isn’t really with sparks and fireworks, since they are both missing their souls, but instead tests both their faith in the tether.

The other larger story revolves around the hunt for a dhampir who began the berserker’s downward spiral. All of our favorite side characters make an appearance, slowly progressing things to their inevitable conclusion (hopefully soon in the upcoming books). I’m completely addicted to this story and each of the unique love stories contained therein. I will devour each one until there are no more left to read!

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Review: Magic Mourns

Magic Mourns Magic Mourns by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a really quick short story that takes place exactly where you want one – with Andrea and Raphael. It was not a straightforward romance, as I was expecting, but is its own little mystery. Yes, you get a bunch of romantic elements along the way, and you ultimately get some big changes, but it all revolves around a death in the family and a really big dog. It was nice to see Andrea in her element and get a little look at her internal workings.

I’m not sure how much else I can get in to without giving away too much, but this story is certainly wrapped up neatly in one book, although the ending is a bit of a mystery. I can’t wait to read more in this world, and really enjoyed this little “bonus.”

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Review: Stefan's Salvation

Stefan's Salvation Stefan's Salvation by N.J. Walters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This third book in the series picks up with the broody one – Stefan. He’s the holdout of the brothers and was due for a nice HEA.

Stefan is prowling around the US trying to follow where his instincts lead him, which is hopefully to his one true mate. While grabbing a drink in some nowhere bar he ends up drawn to the sound of a woman’s name – Laurel Rose. The ones speaking it, however, have some foul intentions. Laurel Rose is the town’s oddity. She’s got a slight deformity and she has some mental powers that she’s probably not hiding well enough, so that’s enough to make her a little feared in town. Some locals are particularly stirred up because she won’t give up her land to a local developer who could bring in a big resort (and jobs, and money, etc. etc.).

On this night, Laurel ends up being saved by Stefan in wolf form, which begins their paranormal courtship. At least she has the benefit of being exposed to these types of things before, but that doesn’t mean she just jumps right into his arms. I was glad she made him work for it, because he could use a little blow to the ego. The larger story in town ends up interrupting their romance, but it also gives Stefan a chance to prove exactly how much he cares for Laurel. These two were a fun couple to read and it was particularly satisfying to see the brooding guy shake off his funk.

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Review: Never Dare a Dragon

Never Dare a Dragon Never Dare a Dragon by Ashlyn Chase
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These stories have officially moved from dragon-centric to phoenix-centric and I am totally enjoying them. They have a mix of smut, action, and romance that give you a good intro to this world, even if you’re picking up from this point in the series.

Jayce is the latest Fierro to get the focus of their own story. We met them all in the previous book, but we get to see it all happen from his (and Kristine’s) perspective. Who knew that meeting a girl at your brother’s fake funeral could start off an epic romance? Kristine is a dragon shifter who happened to be attending said funeral without any understanding of the paranormal undercurrents. Sure, she was appalled by the fact that Jayce wanted to flirt at his brother’s funeral, but she ended up writing it off as his own way of processing grief. She is, however, very happy to see him walk into her firehouse without warning.

These two have some sizzling chemistry (haha, fire paranormals, haha) but that part of the story can kind of be predicted. I liked the general lightheartedness you can practically feel jumping off the page when Jayce and Kristine interact. Yes, there are some darker stories at play, where Kristine is forced to do some not-really-good things, but the overall story is their budding romance. Can two paranormals from firehouses in different states make it work? Well, yeah, this is a solid HEA, but well worth the trouble it takes to get there. I especially liked watching them try to cross their paranormal divide.

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Review: Blood Gamble

Blood Gamble Blood Gamble by Melissa F. Olson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have a really hard time deciding whether I love or hate Scarlett. She’s definitely made herself difficult to love, but that might be what draws me to her.

In this latest installment, we join back up with Scarlett, still trying to find her footing in a world that treats her as something between a freak and a monster. They either love or hate what she can do and there really is no in between. Through a really weird set of events, Scarlett is somehow forced to take a girl’s weekend in Vegas to see a vampire-run vampire show on the strip. Coming off the heels of the origins of a Dracula tale, it looks like we’re going to see this thing out to its conclusion. Now we get to meet up with the real Arthur and Lucy from the story? Weird.

Of course, nothing ever goes smoothly for Scarlett and here we see her confronted with familiar faces and making all sorts of tough choices. While ultimately, we end up with a doozy of a cliffhanger and some new characters thrown into the mix, the way we get there never stops being baffling. Scarlett is starting to accumulate Dresden-levels of injuries and, jeez, just let her take a normal vacation for once! There was a very minimal amount of the usual players, so this was almost exclusively a Scarlett tale. We could really use a visit with her support system, especially after the trauma she endured in this one.

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Review: Magic Strikes

Magic Strikes Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

With each new book, I like Kate more and more. At first she sort of rubbed me the wrong way, but now I am 100% on board. She’s tough, takes crap from nobody, and manages to get herself in the most magnificent situations.

This book revolves around a supernatural gladiator-like battle that is illegal, the pack has banned everyone from participating, and is filled with all sorts of strange oddities. Ultimately, this book can really be distilled down into “Kate risks everything to protect her friends.” The first friend(-ish) person that drags Kate into this danger is everyone’s favorite shapeshifting nightmare. He/She/Idontknowhowtoidentify somehow ends up with Derek in custody and trades a favor for a favor.

This type of thing usually ends badly for Kate and this is no exception. She’s tasked with going to these illegal games which tips her further into badness as the matches go on. What harm could possibly come from passing a note and attending some fighting matches, right? Well, this is Kate we’re talking about so obviously she discovers a bunch of mythological creatures that need stopping. Should someone else be in charge of doing that? Of course not!

So what’s the bigger story at play? Well, other than my never ending desire to see Curran and Kate end up together, we get a lot of side character awesomeness. There’s a vegetarian shapeshifter we meet, Derek gets some unwelcome spotlight, Andrea and Raphael dance around one another in an amazing way, and as a bonus we get a lot more backstory from Kate. All in all, this was a great book, with a super awesome ending. I’m diving right from this book into some Curran POVs and then into the short story in between. There better be more hotness!

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Review: Betrayed by Blood

Betrayed by Blood Betrayed by Blood by Beth Dranoff
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wow, this book just throws you right back in to the wild and crazy world of Dana. She’s an ex-agent of some shadowy organization. She’s a commitment-phobe. She’s a surly bartender just trying to pay her rent. Oh, and she’s always on the run from some baddies. Throw in some Daddy issues, an evil demoness, and new shapeshifting issues and you’ve got a mess of a life.

Dana’s love life alone would be enough to fill the pages of a separate book, but we somehow (barely) manage to juggle that chaotic world with navigating the paranormal world. At this point, now at the end of the book, I kind of don’t even know how to summarize. There were so many things going on at once, that you just hold on tight and hope to get through OK.

As a second book, you definitely need to be up to date on your book 1 knowledge because there is no time to spare. Were you left hanging, wanting more from Dana? This is definitely your “more.” After all the ups and downs, I’m not even sure where we would head from here.

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