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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Friday, July 21, 2017

Review: Kill Game: An Urban Fantasy Thriller

Kill Game: An Urban Fantasy Thriller Kill Game: An Urban Fantasy Thriller by SM Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dana is still the determined, crass, warrior that she always was. The only difference by the start of this book is that she’s now living as a “blood virgin”-type vampire and is separated from her wife (and sleeping in the tomb of a mystical church). She’s even allowing herself to maybe-sorta-kinda hope that there is a path to the super rare cure for vampires who haven’t fed and that might just get her back to “normal.”

Dana’s teammates (aside from the hunting club) are a little stranger now – the shifter who was dating the vampire that turned Dana and the blood virgin that killed said vampire with the only known cure shot. They’re all somehow working towards more cure shots and/or some level of destruction of the city. Either way, Dana is on board and she’s just as reckless and brutal as ever.

I will admit to being some level of angry at her for most of the book, but not so much that I wasn’t still secretly rooting for her to have a nice HEA-type ending. Sadly, we are still in a series where we have to get through the bad to get the good. In this book, we got back hope, but we are still probably a ways away from wrapping things up.

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Review: Freeze

Freeze (Midnight Ice #2)Freeze by Kaitlyn Davis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow! This book really blew me away! Who knew a second installment in a series could grab me as much (if not more) than the original book?

We join Pandora already locked up tight in Titan jail. She’s been betrayed by the one guy she thought she could trust (and love) and she’s also slated to be executed pretty soon. Too bad for them, she’s got some pretty crazy tricks up her sleeve. As usual, the thing that makes her so very different from all the titans is exactly what will help her get away from them.

Speaking of Pandora’s shadows, there’s still the mysterious, sexy stranger who drops hints and clues about their history without really giving her too much to go on. I was completely torn between Team Jax and Team Sam throughout this book. Pandora is definitely not hurting for attractive men trying to help her. In Jax’s case, he’s hunting for redemption. In Sam’s case, he’s trying to get her far away from the titans. This book is filled with tough choices.

Along with the general plan to escape her prison, Pandora can’t help but want to know exactly why she is dangerous enough to murder. She seems like a generally average titan (minus the shadows) who hasn’t done anything so wrong as to warrant a death sentence, so there’s clearly more that she’s missing. Don’t worry! We get all these answers and more in a fabulous ending that left me dying for even more of this world. If you read the first book in this series, this is a must read continuation of this truly wonderful world. I’m desperate to know what happens next for Pandora!

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Review: Boundary Born

Boundary Born Boundary Born by Melissa F. Olson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books never cease to amaze me. Somehow, we ended this trilogy where we did, but I have no idea how we got there. This author has the magical ability to take a hundred different ideas and make them work to a very simple conclusion. At any rate, I still enjoy Lex, which is more than I could say for Scarlett at the end of her trilogy, so I’m a pretty happy camper.

Lex is still doing damage control in her life after she “outed” herself to her brother in law. We join her after he decided to take the rest of her family and his daughter to Disney on a vacation. She’s thrown herself into other things (training, her work, chopping up a really big supernatural worm), and is working on teaching Lily some combat moves when what appears to be a rabid animal crashes through her window.

Here’s where this story begins – rabid animals? Obviously never that simple. There’s also someone poisoning vampires, a guy claiming to be her birth father shows up on her doorstep, and her usually solid witch friends appear to be having a rough time dealing with their previous family drama. Throw all those things into a blender, add some ghosts, crystals, and an incredible amount of physical damage (to Lex and property) and you’ve got the finale to this trilogy wrapped up.

The mystery portion of the book, of course, was unpredictable. We don’t get enough information and Lex is trying to handle too many things at once, so when we finally reach the conclusion, I was left saying “huh.” I guess maybe there were signs? Not really, though. Lex freely admits to not being a real investigator, so we, by extension, are mostly left grasping at straws (like her). I wish we had a little bit more wrap up at the conclusion, which felt rushed and clunky. As I said, though, I still like Lex, so she gets a little more leeway in her confusing life choices. I hope that we swing back around to her at some point so we can maybe get some more answers.

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Review: Midnight Untamed

Midnight Untamed Midnight Untamed by Lara Adrian
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This short, sexy story takes place in Europe, as Savage tries to take down a complex drug ring. Seems simple enough – blow up the building with all the key players inside. Everything changes when he spots a familiar figure in the window. The one woman he is eternally drawn to suddenly shows up in his line of sight. He obviously can no longer stick with the plan (to his teammates’ ire), so he creates a new plan to take her from the house and *then* blow it up.

Arabella has been a prisoner in this world ever since her brother sold her off to this monster to cover his gambling debts. Since she still has family that can be hurt, he knows exactly what buttons to push to get her compliance. It’s for this reason that she fights her long ago boyfriend when he attempts to forcibly remove her from the house. There’s lots of action, escape, fighting, and romance thrown in to this short story. Enough happens that I found myself wishing for even more side stories of the other characters involved. Hopefully we see them reemerge in future full length novels. Either way, this story read like a regular size book, complete with satisfying HEA.

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Review: Wolf's Mate

Wolf's Mate Wolf's Mate by Celia Kyle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book took your typical shifter mate story and threw in buckets of danger, deception, and the introduction of a shadowy organization. Essentially, it threw you in the deep end of the pool, with shooting and running and general chaos.

Abby is a mild mannered accountant who has been tasked with auditing at her recent company. While looking through their transactions, she discovers that they are linked to a fanatical anti-shifter organization. She does the right thing and tries to squirrel away as much information on her private drive as possible… until the guys with guns show up. Declan has been tasked with watching Abby while she works. As part of a sort-of suicide squad type group, he has a history of bad deeds and training that he puts to use for the “good guys” now. He’s also obsessed with Abby. When the bad guys start showing up, Declan does the only thing a guy who is her mate (but in denial) could do – he charges over there and gets her to safety (eventually).

These two fight to stay in denial for way too long! Sure, there’s lots of danger and time spent on the run, but it took a little bit too long to get to the sexy times. This story also sticks a toe into darker waters in some of the kidnapping scenes that kind of left a bad taste in my mouth. We do, thankfully, end up with a HEA after much drama. This was clearly the set up for future books and all the ones we’ve me definitely deserve to meet their match.

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Review: Hell Can Wait

Hell Can Wait Hell Can Wait by Celia Kyle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These Caith Morningstar books just keep getting better and better. I find it very hard to put them down to take a break, what with the snappy dialogue and engaging story. At this point, I’m 100% invested in Caith’s life story and cannot wait to see where she ends up.

Caith’s nightmare story starts with ghouls that are super-powered, spreading contagion, and stealing people’s life force for some evil mastermind behind them all. After getting out of the last crazy mayhem, you think she’d get a break. Unfortunately, she’s somewhat responsible for the magical activity in Orlando, which puts her in the path of the evil ghouls. Infection was never really an issue for her, what with her insanely mixed heritage, but this appears to be spreading through her body rather quickly.

What could have easily been a super depressing story ended up making me love Caith even more. Sure, she’s got death looking over her shoulder, but that doesn’t stop her from being herself and charging at the danger. There was only a teensy bit of romance thrown in here, but I didn’t mind the loss. I know that Caith and Sam’s relationship is somewhat doomed, but I’ll hold out hope until the bitter end.

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Review: Magic Burns

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

Magical mysteries? A big battle? Sexual tension? Sign me up! This book had a little bit of everything and had a *superb* ending. It left me smiling and wanting more.

We join Kate, now firmly entrenched in her new life as a liaison, essentially working for The Order for the steady pay while taking jobs with the mercenaries to cover her growing real estate empire. With magical fluctuations starting to point at a big flare coming, things are all sorts of crazy. There’s someone killing her targets, a young girl looking for her mom, and the ever-present beast lord is still… mysterious. I really think this book showed us what constitutes the “softer” side of Kate. She really forms some bonds (or further develops them) and they remind her what it is like to have someone counting on her/caring about her.

This book also took a deep dive into the world of gods and goddesses, with a bonus road trip-like story thrown in. Who knew a vampire, a shifter, and a witch could make such a great team? I can’t even put into words how epic the final battle was, but it certainly exceeded all my expectations. Kate is a force to be reckoned with and I can’t wait to read more from her world. Oh, and that ending! Gah! It couldn’t have been more perfect!

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Review: The Way You Bite

The Way You Bite The Way You Bite by Zoe Forward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book felt like a mix of Underworld and a BDB book. We get an introduction to the world of vampires (with pre-arranged political marriages, forced breeding, and an ongoing war with werewolves) and werewolves (an archaic, hierarchy based group of pack members, all trying to survive the increasingly deadly weapons thrown at them by the vampires. Of course, the worst thing you could possibly be is a mix of the two.

Vee is determined to keep her head down and eventually escape her arranged marriage and live far away from the war. Everything goes wrong when a sexy werewolf ends up getting treated in her office. By helping him, she puts herself in danger, but it might just all be worth it if she can survive the next couple days.

There's secrets and answers on Vee's way to her own, unexpected, path to escape. As a world, this was an interesting set up for possibly future installments (with Lexan's other guards?). As a romance, we get the HEA we wanted, delivered in an unexpected way.

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Review: Enigma

Enigma Enigma by Tonya Kuper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not sure you can dive into this world at book 2 without having read book 1, but it almost felt like that for me, so - give it a shot if you want! There isn't much "catch up" work done in the book, so you're essentially on your own for refreshing your memory if you've had many books between #1 and this one.

Reid and Josie start the book on the run from the "bad guys." They're supposed to go on the run, but information about her family heading to the Resistance changes their mind. Sure, it means they're supposed to hide their relationship (trainer/trainee's aren't supposed to date), but it's something they're willing to sacrifice to keep her family safe. We meet a wide variety of characters at the compound and get some really neat power displays, reminding me of the super cool powers they've all got. Josie, the super power in the house, was definitely the most impressive in the bunch.

There is a lot of mystery, betrayal, suspicion, and eventually a HEA all jammed into the pages of this book. Just when you think you've figured everything out, the book throws you another twist and you have to question everything all over again. I believe this is the last book in the series, and was super happy with where everyone ultimately ended up.

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Review: Magic Bites

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

As someone who is typically not a fan of dystopian future stories, I was surprised I liked this book as much as I did. It's probably around a 3.5 stars for me, but sets the world up nicely for future installments. This is clearly the start of a series type book, where we get a lot of introduction, a solid story, and some loose ends to make you wonder and pick up the next one.

Kate is a tough, gritty, no-nonsense mercenary with a mysterious and magical history who finds herself drawn into a the last place she wants to be - The Order. She left them after determining that she didn't want to compromise herself and her goals, but the death of her guardian sends them right to their door, demanding they let her investigate. Throw in some vampires, some shapeshifters, and even a date or two, and you've got the complicated world of Kate Daniels.

What started out as a relatively straightforward mystery ends up getting twisted and turned into something significantly larger. Kate's level of damage along the way definitely rivals Harry Dresden's. The two have a bit of similarity - what with the sarcasm, magic, and mayhem - but I think Kate has a little more... edge. I can't wait to see where she ends up after a few books. She's already starting to build up her supernatural reputation which could be good or bad for her (or both).

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Review: The Chosen

The Chosen The Chosen by J.R. Ward
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gah, I don't know what to say about this book. As usual, there are a few ongoing storylines that dominate this book. The main story, however, is between Xcor and Layla. This was been building for a while, so it's not too much of a surprise. That being said, this was not... what I was expecting.

When we last saw Xcor, he was in the custody of the BDB, essentially waiting for him to wake up and get interrogated. It's assumed that they'll kill him afterwards, but there's a bit of a line for that honor. Layla gave birth to her twins and is, of course, a very doting mom. When the book starts, and Qhuinn is determined to get to the bottom of Layla's depression I thought he had finally become the honorable man we all thought was hiding inside his rough exterior. I was wrong. So very wrong. When Layla inadvertently reveals all her secrets to him, he goes insane. There's no other way to explain his actions that follow. His actions set off a series of horrible and torturous scenes. It was pretty hard to get through - depressing and gritty.

Since I found the central story so hard to get through, I ended up focusing on the side stories that consisted of revisiting the super depressing Trez situation, handle the missing virgin scribe issue (probably the best part of the book), V being the worst ever, and get little glimpses of some other loose ends. All in all, though, this was a book I could have done without. Sure, it pushed things along and we knew Layla and Xcor had to end up together, but certain aspects just seemed to be there to... undo things that happened earlier. After finally accepting Trez losing his mate now we're going to reopen that wound? After we get a HEA for V, we get some rushed side story about that not being true? I can't even get into how much I hate what Qhuinn did to his own relationship. Oh, but don't worry, somehow everyone is happy at the end? Bah. This book left me wishing for more of the spinoff series and less of the brothers.

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Review: Drakon's Plunder

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

These books just keep getting better and better. Each time I think I found my new favorite couple, another book comes along and knocks the previous ones out of the top spot. While these books can probably be read as a standalone novel, they are so good and keep building to something that you should completely start from book 1.

Sam is an archaeologist with the gift for finding magical artifacts. It helps that her works tends to put her in their path, but even without her profession she would be drawn to them. After her mentor was murdered, she was exposed to the very evil Knights of the Dragon, who are determined to hunt down these mythological beings and keep them in captivity for their blood’s gift of immortality. While she doesn’t necessarily believe in dragons, she does believe that this organization has murderous plans and would appreciate some justice for her mentor. On this path, however, she’s put herself alongside them, hunting for sunken treasure.

Ezra, who we met previously as one of the drakon brothers, had a very simple plan about sinking the Knights of the Dragon’s research vessel until he found a woman trying to steal something (and being shot for her efforts). That, coupled with the undeniable draw he felt towards her meant he found himself nestling her in his covers before too long. As usual, the Knights are up to no good and fate stepped in to align these two strong allies. Oh, and they also kept another evil book out of the hands of the bad guys. As is to be expected, they don’t exactly embrace their relationship right away, but that doesn’t stop the sexy times! These two positively sizzle while they try to find a way to be together. If they’d both just stop trying to protect one another, they could end up being a formidable team. Don’t worry – we eventually get to our HEA. Bring on the last brother!

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Review: Shifter in Paradise

Shifter in Paradise Shifter in Paradise by Susan Kearney
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a very short paranormal romance about a different type of shapeshifter and his fated mate.

Ari is a shapeshifter who, after dreaming of his fated mate, shifts himself into the form of her personal pilot and essentially kidnaps her. They end up landing on his secluded island where he is somehow supposed to both convince her to trust him and convince her that she can make herself change forms.

Samantha, rightly so, is not exactly on board with the kidnapping plan. She’s a powerful, independent woman, who does not enjoy being played with. Luckily for them both, nature makes them irresistible to one another, helping her overcome her hesitation in short order. What initially feels impossible is suddenly part of her hopes and dreams. These two are definitely an unlikely pair, and would probably have continued to be without the help of this fated mate “push.”

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Review: Fifty Frogs

Fifty Frogs Fifty Frogs by Tawdra Kandle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an adorable, page-turning read that gave me smiles, laughs, and (of course) oodles of romance.

Poor Vivian. She left for her temporary reporting assignment with a rewarding job that she loved and a guy that could have possibly been the one (if she was willing to settle for stability over spark). When she returned home, she was pretty much homeless and jobless, and to make matters worse, the guy she could settle for was no longer willing to settle for her! Following some sage advice, she decided to explore the concept of having to kiss a lot of frogs to find her prince.

She meets exactly who you’d expect she would when she dives back into the dating scene – clingy, weird, aggressive, etc. Every woman has these stories, which is what would make Vivian’s article so likely to be picked up. As usual, it’s the guys that you never think of that end up being “the one.” In this case, we were introduced to a yummy dream man on Vivian’s way to reaching her goal of kissing fifty frogs.

This was an adorable story that really kept me entertained from start to finish. If you’re looking for a super fun and relatable book for a nice hot summer night, this is definitely worth it.

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Review: Defy the Dawn

Defy the Dawn Defy the Dawn by Lara Adrian
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was definitely a different type of Midnight Breed book. Rather than focusing on the breed, really, it had a lot to do with the Atlantean race.

Brynne, who we met previously, is newly out of a job because of her work helping the breed warriors. She's used to having a very solitary life so when she goes from London to the breed compound, it's a bit jarring to have people in her business 100% of the time. There is also the issue of the very sexy and alluring Zael. These two are obviously the stars of this book and will obviously end up together, but they certainly do not make it easy.

Brynne is filled with secrets and issues that Zael only seems more inspired to tackle. It seem the challenge is even more attractive to him. Aside from their romantic storyline, there is also the ever-present terrorist group who is taking out large scale targets. This escalation and the mystery of the Atlantean crystal eventually take the Order to the doors of an Atlantean colony. Or rather, it takes some volunteers - Brynne and Zael - to the colony. If you thought the colony would have less drama or strife, you'd be wrong. It looks like Brynne and Zael just can't catch a break, but don't worry, we get our HEA.

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Review: That Old Black Magic

That Old Black Magic That Old Black Magic by Laurie Carroll-Kuna
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is the second in a magical world. Witches exist, but they're hiding. Oh, and there's vampires, too.

Endora we met previously in the first book of the series. She's buttoned up, can shapeshift into a cat, and likes her life to be in order. All of that changes when she receives a summons by the Tribunal. They are the ones that removed the majority of her power as a misplaced punishment for being present at a mass murder. She wasn't alone in her punishment - her soul mate, Marcus, received a similar punishment. Also, they were told to stay away from one another. Now, it seems, the Tribunal wants their help tracking down the real bad guy.

It's a little confusing as to why these two are specifically tasked with this job, and why they won't give them their powers back to do it, but I guess fate is weird that way. These two have some sizzle, but Endora is determined to fight it. You can probably guess how well that works. In the end, this story shows that love is powerful and can conquer even the most evil of villains.

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Review: Drawing Dead: An Urban Fantasy Thriller

Drawing Dead: An Urban Fantasy Thriller Drawing Dead: An Urban Fantasy Thriller by SM Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, wow - this book really surprised me in a good way. If you've never experienced this universe and are not well versed in the mythology, you can probably appreciate this book, but I have read them all and had some... preconceived notions. I honestly didn't like Dana when I met her in the previous books as an adult. I didn't know how I could possibly get through an entire book about her, but I devour everything by this author so I gave it a shot. I am so glad I did!

This story takes place in Vegas, where the Hunting Club is taking shots at the local vampire group while they take shots right back. The cops and the OPA are done turning a blind eye to these activities and have threatened them with an end to both of them if they don't behave. Dana is not really one for behaving and neither are some members of the vampire group. Oh, and then there's the whole issue where Dana just got forcibly turned into a vampire. That kind of throws a wrench into her plans.

Aside from Dana's dramas (which also involve some lovelife issues, of which there appear to be many), we spend a bunch of time in Nissa's head. She's a vampire with empathy who has never actually gotten up the nerve to drink blood. She's in good with her vampire friends but she is also not really a team player. You've always got to watch out for the quiet ones in these books. Oh, and the familiar characters from previous stories. Really, you've got to watch out for them all, since this author loves to surprise you.

While this book was really frickin' entertaining to read, it is certainly not a standalone, wrap-everything-up type book. We get to see into Dana's world and, wow, it is messed up. I can't wait to see what Dana does next, and where we head from here. With all the changes and bad guys we've now met, it should make for a really great new series.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Review: Cougar Bait

Cougar Bait Cougar Bait by Evangeline Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books are never straight vanilla and definitely veer towards the darker side, but they still never fail to deliver an unexpected romance.

Samantha is the sister of the previous book’s main character. While we briefly met her at the end, we certainly haven’t gotten to see all she has to offer. I think it would be okay to start reading the series here, but it would certainly help (or hurt) to see Liam as he plays a pretty strong role in book 1. Samantha, even after being locked up and watching Liam essentially threaten her sister with a forced mating, manages to save Liam’s life. As a surgeon, it kind of comes second nature to her to want to help people, but I’d be hard pressed to want to save the man that he was in book 1. He was pushy and almost forced a mating, which I thought would make it hard to get behind this romance. I was wrong. Liam won me over.

Liam ended up in a similar situation with Samantha, where a certain draw keeps him chasing her, no matter how much she insists she cannot be in his life. She has a normal human life, no signs of being a shifter any time soon, and has no interest in throwing her life away for any man. That all changes when she’s attacked and realizes that there might be some secret genes hiding in her somewhere. Their lives take a tumble and suddenly we all end up on Team Liam. I’m not really sure where the series will head from here since we’ve paired up the two main men, but I guess we could see what madness was unleashed from this book and follow it to its conclusion.

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Review: Fierce Obsessions

Fierce Obsessions Fierce Obsessions by Suzanne Wright
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book had everything I love – a spunky female lead, smutty goodness, and an engaging mystery.

Riley is the quirky raven shifter who brought two lovable misfit children to the Phoenix Pack. She and Tao have been dancing around each other since she got there. What might have looked like animosity has quickly grown into a burning desire. These two are *fabulous* together, especially because nothing is ever predictable.

Tao has done his best to sneak up on the raven shifter, but eventually a drunken night and a phone call from Riley’s past puts him in a position to push his luck. Who knew that a trip to Riley’s old home would involve an attempt on their life and the lives of those around them? I guess it should have been expected from this unpredictable duo.

Caught between trying to find a killer and coming to grips with her past, Riley also manages to let Tao in. I can’t say enough good things about this pair! They are now officially my favorite in the series. I wish there was more story from them – I could read a whole other book just for the witty banter.

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Review: Ashes of the Phoenix

Ashes of the Phoenix Ashes of the Phoenix by Jess Haines
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

This was a really short, quick, supernatural read that gives a teeny tiny taste of this uniquely magical world.

Lyra is essentially a guardian of magical books. She’s got no magical power to speak of, but she knows her artifacts. She’s also super determined to keep a certain book away from her thieving ex-boyfriend. She might have been a little too blinded by that goal, because she ends up getting duped by an even more evil fellow and turned into a mythical being. Unfortunately the only person she knows who can try to help her also happens to be said thieving ex.

There’s mystery, mayhem, and maybe a little romance thrown into this short story. It is certainly an introduction to this world but felt pretty rushed. I wanted to know more about Lyra, her relationship with her ex, and even more about the magical world that they seem to be a part of.

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Review: Stroke of Midnight

Stroke of Midnight Stroke of Midnight by Lara Adrian
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was another short installment in the Midnight Breed series. While it doesn’t really involve the critical main characters, it certainly takes place heavily in their world.

Jehan is a breed warrior who has been living his own life for many years before getting his family’s summons. Through some archaic mindset, if his family and another do not have a living mated pair, the world will end. When the previously surviving pair perishes, he’s forced to step up to the plate. He fully expects to go through the motions and then leave, but finds himself quickly falling for the mysterious stranger.

Seraphina is just as reluctant, having never even known that side of her world. As a breedmate, she knows the dangers of falling for a breed male, so she’s been avoiding them while trying to save the world in her own way. These two are a perfect match, but it was fun to watch the quick courtship misunderstandings resolve themselves in sexy ways.

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Review: Boundary Lines

Boundary Lines Boundary Lines by Melissa F. Olson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I still love Lex. She’s tough and actually handling all the dramatic changes relatively well. When she aligned herself with the vampires she somehow managed to separate herself even more from the witches. It probably works out better for Lex, though, because all the supernatural factions are going through some issues of the magical variety.

The short story that takes place in between books really sets the stage for Lex’s future run-ins with werewolves, which factor prominently in this book. They really bring home the point that werewolves are just like humans – the bad ones can be bad and the good ones can be good. They all just suffer through the same “curse.” Also, yuck, there’s a really yucky big bad that’s up to no good (as if they need more bad to hunt).

I’m not sure what to make of the romantic element in this story. I much prefer Lex to be independent and awesome on her own without having all these entanglements. Maybe that’s what we’ll ultimately get? I hope so, because I don’t really want another Scarlett situation. I also much prefer Lex’s way of handling strange situations without a partner. Watching her figure things out using her experience and intelligence is more satisfying than the “phone a friend” option, in my opinion.

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Review: The Bite Before Christmas

The Bite Before Christmas The Bite Before Christmas by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I'm just now up to 15.5 in the Argeneau series, this was the one I just read and reviewed this year:
FINALLY! I’ve been waiting for Teddy to have his story for a while now. He’s been ever-present as a background character in the vampire-friendly town, but it seemed unclear if he would find a life mate or if he would just fade away. I was hoping for the life mate story, and wasn’t disappointed by his surprise meeting.

This story was pretty short and sweet, but I had some real trouble seeing old Teddy as the match to Katricia Argeneau. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown so accustomed to the matches being human woman to vampire male (or vampire/vampire). Either way, I’m still happy that we finally get to “keep” Teddy in the Argeneau family for the near future. It was very satisfying.

I read and reviewed the Night Huntress story back in 2015:
It always amazes me how quickly the Night Huntress world can suck me back in. All the characters are so engaging and addictive that I put off reading this short and the following book because I knew they were the last in the series. These characters will be sorely missed.

This story is set during the holidays (obviously) where Cat mistakenly believes she can have a nice “normal” holiday with all of their friends. A surprise visit by someone who claims to be Bones’s long lost brother (who also just happens to be a vampire) sets of a chain of events that almost ends in tons of death and destruction. Cat is one of the few unaffected by the mystery man’s mojo that seems to have wrapped all the incredibly strong vampires around his little pinky. She, Denise, and Ian (the most unlikely ally, always) manage to formulate a plan to get their friends and lovers back and out of harm’s way.

I admit, this story was almost as good as a full length book, with the action at extremes and the risks super high. Ian was a surprise highlight of this story and somehow forced me to begin enjoying his company. Who knew? All in all, this is a must read (especially for further connections?) for all Night Huntress fans.

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