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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Review: The Reluctant Vampire

The Reluctant Vampire The Reluctant Vampire by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love coming back to this series. Just when I think they can’t spin the same old story in a different direction, it proves me wrong.

Here we meet Drina, sent to act as a bodyguard to the mysterious young girl with the fascinating powers. Of course, there are games within games in the Argeneau clan, and Drina knows that a fellow bodyguard, Harper, could be her life mate. Since there is a near 100% chance, Drina jumps on a plane and arrives to meet her mate.

Harper, however, has just lost his mate. She didn’t survive the turn and he has been understandably crushed. He’s so absorbed in his own guilt that he barely notices the signs that Drina just might be his mate. If not for their teen charge, they might never have actually gotten together. They certainly would have never been able to get over their own issues.

These books are filled with danger, smut, and an ever-growing world of wonderful characters. I’ll keep reading them until they stop getting written. I’m especially curious about where the teenage vampire will end up and how that will shape things to come.

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Review: Scheme of Maneuver: A Career Soldier Military Romance

Scheme of Maneuver: A Career Soldier Military Romance Scheme of Maneuver: A Career Soldier Military Romance by Tawdra Kandle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love these books. They are fun, flirty, and full of unexpected romance. While these can probably be read as standalone, it is so much more enjoyable to get the full story. It was particularly satisfying to see Owen meet his match.

Owen is the last man standing. All his other friends have fallen in love, gotten married, had kids – you know, grown-up stuff. He’s still hitting the scene, or at least that’s what he thinks is happening when he sort-of hooks up with a fellow wedding goer named Jacey. Turns out, however, she is way more than he bargained for. He soon finds out that she is related to one of his friends (which is off-limits), but she is an addiction he can’t seem to quit.

This short and sexy read had me flipping pages at light speed. I love the way you leave these books – smiling and content.

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Review: Reborn

Reborn Reborn by C.C. Hunter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Admittedly, I have no read any of the original “Shadow Falls” series of which this is obviously a spin-off from. That being said, this appears to be a separate storyline following Della and her friends (and drama) so I hope to not be missing too much. There is some missing set up of this world, but other than that, it seemed OK as a standalone read.

Della, the main character, is a vampire teenager who has daddy issues, awesome friends, and an unyielding determination to prove herself worth of school mentor’s praise. Oh, and she’s got drama. Lots and lots of drama. She’s trying to avoid officially dating a hot shifter, even though he’s pretty much bending over backwards to take care of her. On top of that, she’s also in a hate/love/hate relationship with the obnoxious new vampire kid in school. The bigger story? There’s a murder, a weird illness, a missing cousin, and Della wants to find out if anyone else in her family ever became a vampire like her. What gets solved? Not much other than the murder. There are so many starts to stories in here that it’s clear there are going to be many more books to follow them to the finish.

Even with all these loose ends, there was really only one reason I think I’m done with this series – I hate Della. I really tried to like her, especially since we are in her head 100% of the time. She is a teenager who is filled with way too much angst and attitude for one person to handle. She constantly snipes at everyone around her. Sure, there are supernatural forces at play, but that doesn’t give you my “pissy pass.” She is probably the only reason I am not dying to pick up the next book in the series. I don’t think I want to go back into her head… ever. I kept waiting for her to get better or grow on me, but I just constantly wanted to smack her.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Review: Malediction

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

This little short story was everything I wanted it to be. It mashed the two stories together in a way that was totally organic and made me happy to still not have to go back into Jesse’s drama. I hope he gets his act together before we see him again.

As a follow-up to the cliffhanger-ish ending of the first Boundary Witch book, we knew that Lex had to go to LA to figure out what really happened to her sister. If you’ve read the other series, you already know, but it was still heart wrenching to watch Lex have to go through the discovery. She also had to be forcefully introduced to the Old World in LA, which is definitely a departure from how things work in Colorado. I was particularly happy that we got this little glimpse into how things are going without having to commit to a full-fledged book. Nice to visit, but glad I didn’t have to stay.

Needless to say, we do get answers for Lex and some perhaps unflattering views of the other paranormals in LA. I probably enjoyed how Lex reacted to Scarlett a little too much, but sometimes she could use a little bit of Lex’s tough love. I’m interested to see where Lex takes this new information and new world view.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Review: Boundary Crossed

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

I really enjoy the world that these books all take place in, so it was nice to discover another person who we can follow around on their journey. I actually expected more connections between this series and the previous one, but I still really enjoyed this introduction.

Lex recently lost her sister (who you might recognize from the previous series) and has been working her butt off to try to fit into society (sort of). She is active in her family, takes special care of her niece, and has a steady job. Everything gets turned upside-down when she stops an attempted kidnapping of her niece by some super strange folks. Oh, and she gets stabbed enough to make her heart stop. Turns out, this isn’t the first time Lex should have died, and that really makes the doctors scratch their heads. The supernatural community, always on the lookout, end up sending Quin (a vampire) to check her out. Along with being pretty much impossible to kill, she also can’t be “pressed” by vampires, and has a very special niece. Throw all these things together and a whole bunch of people are suddenly way too interested in Lex’s life.

As a character, I am loving Lex. The only thing that I have some hesitation on is the need for her to have any sort of romantic entanglement. While it’s not a huge part of the story, I still really appreciate a nice tough chick who can hold her own and Lex is certainly that. I’m really interested to see where she goes overall in this set of books and can’t wait to see what other misadventures await our new inductee to the Old World.

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Review: Real Vampires Do It in the Dark

Real Vampires Do It in the Dark Real Vampires Do It in the Dark by Amy Fecteau
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed the first book of this series, so much so that it got one of my coveted 5 star ratings. This book does not feel as good as the first one, but it’s still not that bad. You definitely need to start with book 1, and maybe I did myself a disservice by having such a long time between reading that one and this book.

We join Matheus right after Quin gives up on him. He leaves him in a cemetery where he proceeds to whine and mope for way too long a time. While he is floundering in his new vampire life, he ends up being confronted by some old frenemies who turn into much more and some old friends who end up surprising him in really horrible ways. Somehow, Matheus ends up becoming a player in the supernatural game without even trying (and sometimes trying to avoid it).

The big bad in this story (aside from Matheus’s crappy attitude) is Appollonia, who is the current ruler of the vampire world. I guess Matheus should have probably tried to avoid pissing her off, but he has a special aptitude for being a pain. I felt like this book was definitely leading somewhere and setting up future books rather than really being a standalone. I’ll definitely see where this is headed, but wish we could have avoided just a little bit of the whining.

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Review: Crimson Death

Crimson Death Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

At this point, if you don’t know what you’re getting into when you pick up one of these books, it’s on you. Book#25 is not the place to start a series and there is a lot of baggage that comes along with Anita Blank and her men (and women) from all their adventures. While this book was longer (I think) than most of the recent installments, I still was left feeling a little rushed at the end. It definitely had some critical events, though, so if you’re dedicated to this series (as it appears I am), you shouldn’t miss this one just because it was relatively “meh.”

If I had to sum up what this book was about (other than Anita’s endless other relationship issues), it would be 2 things: vampire attacks in Ireland and her master/servant relationship with Damian. I was actually really excited by the first storyline. It had all the things I thought I wanted: Edward (yay!), road tripping to another country, and the familiar procedural crime type story. It was even hinting at the fact that the most obvious big bad in Ireland might not actually be the perpetrator, leading to a mystery on top of all that goodness! To get there, though, we had to trudge through your typical Anita fare: way too much description of men, stopping in the middle of something important to troubleshoot her relationship with a boyfriend or girlfriend, and unnecessary fights.

The other storyline, Damian/Anita, was a little more interesting than I thought it would be. Damian is having nightmares, which shouldn’t be possible, and Anita is finally forced to work on setting up her own triad of power with Nathaniel and Damian. I have to admit, I was seriously disappointed with Nathaniel in this book. He was significantly more catty and annoying than I’ve gotten used to him being. The smut was good, though.

So, to get back to why I didn’t end up liking storyline 1 (SPOILER ALERT) – the big twist I kept expecting never came. What they set up as misdirection was… just obvious. The big resolve at the end felt really rushed and we didn’t get nearly enough Edward time, most of it spent doing other things that weren’t nearly as fascinating to me as Edward himself. We definitely progressed the storyline and there is probably going to be a big whopper of a life change for Anita soon. I guess this book was necessary in the grand scheme of things, but one death in particular seemed kind of wasteful and mean. Like I said, though, you get what you’d expect from the books.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Review: Harker's Journey

Harker's Journey Harker's Journey by N.J. Walters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I guess I was at a slight advantage because I ended up reading the second book in the series prior to the first one. This first book is really more of a short story that sets up the world of the Dalakis men.

The Dalakis are cursed with only ever loving one woman and being able to mate with them to share eternity. It sounds romantic, but there are some logistical problems when one finds his mate when she’s still only 18. Cris is a gentleman, though (mostly), and lets her live her own life for way 13 years before luring her into his castle for some real life seduction.

There was a lot of smut, sexy times, and a great start for a series. Even if I hadn’t read the next book already, I’d be interested in seeing how the remaining men end up paired off. Things only get hotter from here on out!

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Review: Salem's Curse

Salem's Curse Salem's Curse by Sydney Bristow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book kind of took me all over the place. Soon after starting the book I began to wonder – is this book a spinoff? Did I miss another book that set up this series? I don’t think I was missing anything (after some investigation online), but it was still a little confusing to dive in with not much explanation. Once I got the hang of what was going on, though, the story did start to take shape.

Celestina is a girl who is missing a week’s worth of her memories. During that week, apparently a lot of stuff happened that is vital to who she is/has become. She was raised in an abusive household, first with a drunk mother, then with a physically abusive grandmother. Turns out, however, that her grandmother might not have been that bad (?) and that her mother was worse than she remembers (?). Still a little confused on those parts. Oh, and she’s got magical powers, and there are vampires, and demons, and … werewolves, I think?

Somewhere along the way, while we run from drama-filled reunion to the next, we get introduced to a troubled demon who is (of course) a hottie, a vampire with hurt feelings, an estranged and possibly murderous aunt, and a spunky new friend. There’s some other characters, but at some point I had to focus on only the important parts, which was a little difficult.

The larger story is about stopping the end of the world, because isn’t it always? Some preconceived notions are thrown out the window and Celestina ends up being pretty awesome in her own right. Not sure it sends the right message that all her abuse was helpful, but that’s where we end up. Needless to say, there are tons of questions I still have, most revolving around the love interest that never got answered. Lots of questions still surround Celestina and her powers, too. As a start, I am definitely left wanting more information.

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Saturday, May 13, 2017

Review: Blake's Pursuit

Blake's Pursuit Blake's Pursuit by Tina Folsom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to say, the Blake that we get in this "fast-forward" set of Scanguards books is totally not the Blake that I used to hate on in the original set. He's grown up in a big way, and thank goodness, because this book was 100% him (OK... maybe there was a little Wes, too, but that's probably just because he had to set up the crossover).

In the previous book we learned that Blake moved his way through security and is now the guy in charge of guarding everyone's children. It seems like a momentous task, but he appears up for the job. We also learn that he is somehow plugged in to their side business, Vuber, the vampire ride company. When one of the drivers goes missing, he immediately tries to help locate the missing woman. That's where his path crosses with Lilo.

Lilo might be a famous writer, but she still keeps in touch with her longtime BFF. Said BFF also happens to be the missing woman that Blake is trying to track down. When she finds out that her friend missed her mother's birthday, she knows something is wrong and immediately flies out to try to figure out what is wrong. After sort-of breaking into her apartment, she's quickly attacked, then just as quickly saved by Blake. While there is a little bit of tension between the two of them, they are willing to put aside differences to track down their mutual friend. The only problem is that Lilo is not exactly "in the know" about vampires.

While hiding his secret isn't anything new to Blake, it quickly becomes an issue as their earlier tension grows into attraction. Blake even begins to recognize the signs of Lilo possibly being his mate. There is a whole lot of sizzle from this couple (as is to be expected from a Scanguards book) but we also get a larger mystery in the form of some new crime-spree happening in the city. As the two stories converge, don't worry, we still find our way to a happy ending for everyone.

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Review: Lucian's Delight

Lucian's Delight Lucian's Delight by N.J. Walters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book takes a little bit of fated mates, some vampire romance, and twists it around a little to come up with a unique love story. Full disclosure: I haven't read book 1 in this series yet, but I don't think it's really necessary to enjoy this one on its own. Oh, and another warning, there are some near-rape scenes in here that might prove problematic if you're not expecting it.

Delight has some surprisingly realistic dreams, so it's not a shock to her when a vampire ends up seducing her in one, asking her why she's in his dreams. Sure, it's a change to her typical frightening nightmares, but she's willing to accept it if she gets a break from them. She's a hard working guardian to her younger brother and is determined to save up enough money to send him to art school. This means that she's working two jobs which puts her out dangerously late at night. It's here that her nightmares begin to become reality.

Lucian is a vampire who has been cursed to only get one love. Said love will be able to share his dreams and bond with him, if he can find her and convince her to become his. Lucky for the both of them, Lucian ends up living out their rescue dream/nightmare in real life, which appears to bode well for their romance. Oh, and the attraction is just as good in real life as it is in their dreams. Maybe even more so.

So, things can't be super easy, or we wouldn't have a real story, right? The big bad is still out there and determined to make Lucian's job of keeping Delight and her family safe even harder. There's action, some really really stupid moves on Delight's part, but ultimately we get a solid HEA. If this is an indicator for what the rest of the series is like, I'm in!

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Review: The Untamed Vampire

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

If you think this book will be your typical werewolf/vampire love story, you will be disappointed. Chelle, my new fave of the series, is anything but typical, so it only makes sense that the story of her finding her mate would be filled with surprises.

Chelle is a witty, sarcastic, danger-loving, unique vampire. OK, so she has one other vampire similar to her, but as the head of her own vampire line, she's a bit of an anomaly. Her powers are stronger than anyone else, and she's still keeping most of that a secret from almost everybody. Her latest obsession is finding answers about her powers and exactly what the creepy relic did to her when it transformed her into what she is now. The way into her location for answers, however, is guarded by a three part key, one of which is with the leader of a werewolf pack. It's on her trip there when she shockingly discovers her mate.

Gunnar is exactly what you'd expect a werewolf viking to be like - he's rough and crude, ruling by his own strength and eager to fight any battle that needs to be fought. Most packs don't accept mixed race matings, so when he identifies his mate in the form of a vampire, he knows it must stay a secret until he can inform the pack of a law change. As if their Romeo/Juliet romance isn't hard enough to keep under control, there's also a big power play going on with the remaining supernatural factions and it might be time to choose sides.

There's a lot of action, romance, and sexy times all jammed into this fast-paced read. I think you might be able to read this one as a standalone, but it was nice to watch all the characters and larger storylines grow from book to book. It will be interesting to see where everyone ends up at the end of this building battle. I'm especially interested in seeing some of the side characters get some more development along the way.

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Review: Dating The Undead

Dating The Undead Dating The Undead by Juliet Lyons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Holy smokes, this book is sizzling hot! It had two things that will instantly make me love a book: snarky tough chick and sexy vampires.

Silver (I know, you get over the name) is still reeling from her latest dramatic breakup on New Year's Eve when she finds herself face-to-face with a super sexy vampire. Yes, in this world vampires are "out of the coffin," but that doesn't mean they are universally loved. Silver, however, is willing to take a walk on the wild side, especially since this vampire is giving her more chemistry than her latest date. This unlikely couple ends up being the key component to both their worlds, whether they want it to or not.

For Logan (the sexy vampire), it appears that Silver is somehow linked to a police undercover operation that he has been tasked with forcibly removing from her memory. After their meeting, however, it is simply impossible for him to do so. Silver, for her part, hides her own secrets from Logan, while continuing to live in denial where there relationship is concerned. Oh, and there's a bad guy (or girl, rather) that's looming over Logan's head (more secrets). I think that about sums up the odds against them. Of course, I loved every second!

If you're looking for a super sexy and super smutty paranormal read - you'll love rooting for this unlikely (and completely snarky) couple. I couldn't get enough of Logan and Silver, flaws and all.

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Review: Silence Fallen

Silence Fallen Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This latest installment of the Mercy Thompson books has really become one of my favorites. I love when Mercy can show how independent and strong she is, and what better way than to separate her from Adam for a short time?

The book obviously needs something to separate Mercy and Adam, and that comes in the form of a kidnapping of sorts. More a maiming and kidnapping, but I genuinely think they assumed she was werewolf tough. Once separated, she’s thrown into some dramatic power play by a European vampire with oodles of baggage and grudges against, well, a lot of people. One seriously old vampire isn’t really a match for Mercy, but the odds are definitely stacked against her. I love that her uniqueness comes into play so much in this story, to show that while she isn’t necessarily the physically toughest supernatural in the room, she can still hold her own.

From Adam’s side, it was refreshing to get into his head as he deals with Mercy’s disappearance. He’s forced to work with some familiar vampires, and even throws in the goblins for good measure. This was a who’s who from the series and the twist at the end had my head spinning. It also makes me want to go back and re-read this one just to catch all the hints. No spoilers, but this book had a certain… fun, that I really like about these stories. Sure, there’s a bad guy (or guys, or girls, or … OK, there are a lot of people out to get Mercy), but there are even more interesting scenarios that Mercy manages to involve herself in. She’s a chaos magnet, and it was really fun to watch it play out in this story. I didn’t want it to end!

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Review: A Fire in the Blood

A Fire in the Blood A Fire in the Blood by Amanda Ashley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was a nice spin on your typical vampire love story. It had fortune tellers, vampires, shifters, and magic.

Tessa’s town is being taken over by vampires. It happens so suddenly that nobody is quite sure what to make of it. With the vampires comes the hunters, and now there are rewards being posted for turning in proof. Andrei has been picking off the intruding vampires to protect the innocent, but he begins to notice that they seem to be swarming one particular woman. There is also a rumor going around the vampires about a woman with blood that gives fledgling vampires more power and strength. Wrap all of these things up and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Andrei has no choice but to protect Tessa, even though he’s a master vampire himself.

These two really light up the page when they meet. The chemistry is palpable, made more so by the fact that Andrei always appears to be saving Tessa from some bad guy. Things might have been a little simpler if Andrea’s maker and general evil-doer doesn’t show up. Oh, and she’s also still married to him. Surprise! We somehow still eke out a HEA for these two, complete with some fantastic supernatural help.

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Review: The Billionaire Werewolf's Witch

The Billionaire Werewolf's Witch The Billionaire Werewolf's Witch by Celia Kyle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Who knew a secretary’s life could get so crazy? Rachel is just trying to make a living, hiding her secret witch heritage while working in the secretary pool for a famous billionaire. It would be just her luck that he turns out to be a paranormal that has been known to hunt her people down.

While ironing out a deal to renew the agreement between werewolves and witches, said billionaire knew something was wrong. His right hand man (and growly friend) drags in some help in the form of the only secretary still on premises. Rachel and Grant (the billionaire) end up with more than a simple work relationship, especially when his wolf informs him that she is his.

There’s bad guys and deception and ultimately some smutty dirty sexy times. Who doesn’t like that? As a quick read, it definitely delivers.

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Review: Damage Assessment: A Career Soldier Military Romance

Damage Assessment: A Career Soldier Military Romance Damage Assessment: A Career Soldier Military Romance by Tawdra Kandle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While this book can definitely be read as a standalone, I highly recommend starting from the beginning of this series. Each of the stories are unique and worth their own attention. It has been really nice to watch the progress these guys have made in their love lives and I was super excited to finally get Derek’s story here.

Derek’s life has been turned upside-down. One simple accident in a training exercise took him from active duty to a guy who can’t even mow his own lawn. He’s pretty much given up on trying most anything to get him back into his old life. Even his friends know that if he misses one more doctor appointment, he’s going to lose his job. They all end up working together to get him there, which is where he meets Tasha.

Tasha has her own set of baggage. She’s come out of an abusive relationship and isn’t eager to be attracted to anyone right now. That doesn’t stop her from being instantly drawn to Derek. Maybe their broken parts just know that they fit together, like puzzle pieces. Whatever the cause, even with the doctor/patient relationship, they are both clearly smitten. If you’re looking for a quick, romantic read, this book will leave you smiling.

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Friday, April 28, 2017

Review: Sweet Tea and Spirits

Sweet Tea and Spirits Sweet Tea and Spirits by Angie Fox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books never disappoint and always manage to leave me with a smile on my face. I’m pretty sure you could pick them up at any point and dive in, but to get the complete story, I’d recommend starting from the beginning.

We meet back up with Verity, now an official ghost… helper… of sorts. She’s come “out of the closet” about dating her ex-fiancĂ©’s brother and is now only slightly less repugnant to the social leaders of the community. This latest adventure begins with a phone call from a ghost. The ghostly call appears to have originated from the historic society, which is where a lot of the action takes place in this book.

Teamed up with her faithful, although reluctant, partner, she heads out to investigate. That curiosity ends up uncovering even more than Verity hoped to find. It seems like as soon as Verity gets involved, everyone finally gets to learn the truth about some long held Sugarland belief. No wonder her boyfriend’s mother cannot stand her (among other reasons). Along with the usual murder mystery gig, we also get a healthy dose of romance in the most unlikely of places. This book was truly enjoyable from start to finish.

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Review: Luther's Return

Luther's Return Luther's Return by Tina Folsom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Remember Luther? Okay, to be honest, I didn’t really remember him. Turns out we met him way back in the day and since I read these books at random intervals, I had to really refresh my memory. This book is the first in a new set, taking place a handful of years beyond where the previous book ended. The benefit? This gives us a new generation of vampires, while still keeping the original ones in play.

Katie we have apparently heard of before, too. She’s the sister of guys who have played major roles in previous books. She hasn’t gotten her mate, so that obviously leaves her “up for grabs.” She has befriended and taken under her wing the very familiar daughter of Samson and has cast her in a starring role of a play. With all the familiar faces in attendance, and a much older Blake running the security, she somehow manages to get kidnapped. Too bad for Luther, this also happens to occur when he wanders into town after his prison release.

Coincidence is never something that the Scanguards vampires acknowledge, so this throws Luther into a pretty big mess. That doesn’t appear to matter to Katie, though, as she is instantly smitten with the bad boy. Talk about sizzle! While I was eager to see Samson get his daughter back, I was more interested in these two Romeo and Juliet types to work it out. This was a nice redemption story that I completely wasn’t expecting. I can’t wait to see what the author does with this “time hop.”

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Review: Hunter's Trail

Hunter's Trail Hunter's Trail by Melissa F. Olson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While I still really enjoy the sarcastic, punchy, love-triangle-prone character of Scarlett, I’m eager to take a little break before coming back to her after this adventure. Where the last book focused an awful lot on driving, this one was all about her knee. I’m kidding, of course, but it still should get listed as a co-star of the book.

This book, the end of the trilogy, definitely wraps things up in a nice way. We join Scarlett in the aftermath of the impulsive decision made at the end of the last book. If you’re just joining here… don’t. This is not the place to start. With all the baggage leading up to this installment, you’re better off diving into the next trilogy, or starting at book 1. That being said, so Scarlett did that thing. It apparently messed up the thing I would least expect – her knee. Who knew? After these few books with her ramping up from normal damage to Dresden-like damage levels, I guess everything is fair game.

So the big bad in this story has to do with the werewolves. There’s some murdered women showing up on the alpha’s doorstep (literally) and somehow Scarlett has gotten tasked with solving it. Together with dark cloud/constantly conflicted man, Jesse, they have to put themselves into pack drama while avoiding talking about Eli and his mysterious disappearance. Can you tell I’m kind of sick of Jesse, too? At some point he has to make a choice, and I’m getting really tired of him painting himself as the good guy and the bad guy at the same time.

So obviously they end up solving the mystery and avoiding certain doom. That wasn’t really my main focus, of course. I was more interested in some sort of resolution for Scarlett. Her decisions, while always infuriating, were slightly less so in this book. I’m especially fond of her new pet, who I saw in later books and was slightly spoiled about. As a person who must complete a series, this was a nice way to end the trilogy, even if I was reluctant to read this one. I’m happy where everyone ended up but would expect better from Jesse in the future.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Review: Drakon's Prey

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

This book might be even better than the last one in the series! This world is so unique and different that I am really loving learning more bit by bit. If you read the previous book, then you knew that this one had to be about Valeriya, the sister of the head of the Knights of the Dragon.

Valeriya is a children’s book author who is doing her best to avoid the drama tied to her sister. She’s determined to make amends (or try to) and part of that is warning the drakon that is in her sister’s sights. When she arrives at her destination, however, it is very clear that there’s nobody around to warn. Even more determined to help, she decides to camp out a bit waiting for something to come about. Her instincts are almost never wrong.

Tarrant is the reclusive computer genius that we’ve met previously. It seemed like he wouldn’t have his match found for him… ever. Somehow, though, he finds himself smitten with the tenacious woman who simply will not leave him alone. He’s moved to the point of kind-of kidnapping her and taking her into his underground lair. While neither really knows one another, nor even can begin to know all the secrets they’re hiding, they still cannot deny the attraction. They’re drawn to each other and it seems like fate is at play.

These two are now my favorite couple. I love the spunky nature of Valeriya and I really loved the protective nature Tarrant had hiding in him. If this is any indication of how the rest of the series will go, I can’t wait to watch the rest of the drakons pair off!

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Review: Once Bitten

Once Bitten Once Bitten by Heather McCorkle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was definitely a different spin on your classic werewolf paranormal romance. There’s still a boy, a girl, and some werewolves, but that’s about where the similarities end.

Sonya is an overworked med school student who makes one bad decision – taking home the bad boy from the bar she works at. This particular bad boy, however, is using her to try to get out of an arranged marriage in a pretty dramatic way. After a surprise bite, she’s suddenly dropped into a world where werewolves are real and she’s going to turn into one. She’s also been paired off with an instructor of sorts, Ty.

Ty is a trainer who has never trained a new initiate before. He’s still learning while at the same time trying to fight his undeniable attraction to his trainee. It’s forbidden, of course, but that doesn’t stop the budding relationship. Oh, and to make matters worse, there’s a whole bunch of warring packs trying to get to Sonya.

There are a bunch of twists and turns, but at the core of this is the romance. These two are a great couple to watch and I found that to be the driver for finishing this book. At the end of this book we are left with the start of yet another journey for Sonya. Not quite a cliffhanger, but we certainly don’t have an entirely standalone story here.

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Review: Fated

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

Poor Megan. We’ve watched her grow and develop through the other books in the series. She’s been through a lot and getting a mate doesn’t really make things easier.

Megan’s sister’s anchor arrives and needs a ride from the airport. This seemingly simple task ends up jumpstarting a relationship that neither really expected. Shane is the most reluctant wolf we’ve met so far. He’s been traumatized and has a lot of baggage because of it. He lives as a human doctor and isn’t really open to accepting such a drastic change. That doesn’t, however, stop him from claiming his mate.

Megan is almost the complete opposite of Shane. She’s 100% wolf and completely committed to her pack. Shane does something that seemed impossible – make her doubt herself. It’s sad to watch them struggle through this, but I guess nothing Megan got could really be easy. These two are a good match and it was nice to visit with everyone else we’ve met before.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Review: Cain's Identity

Cain's Identity Cain's Identity by Tina Folsom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book kind of completes the series focusing on the “older” vampires before fast forwarding 20 years. I didn’t actually realize this when I started reading, but it makes all the references to the future a lot more relevant.

Cain is a bodyguard with amnesia. He’s been doing his best, working with Scanguards to at least put his mysterious fighting skills to good use. That doesn’t stop his dreams from showing him a life he doesn’t remember. The dreams also star a woman who he feels extremely drawn to. The mystery begins to unravel when a vampire turns up, claiming to be the leader of his guard – the king’s guard. Who knew that Cain could be king somewhere?

Faye, also known as the mysterious woman in the dreams, has mourned the loss of her king and lover for almost a year now. They were all told that Cain was murdered, but she hasn’t given up hope. Cain’s brother, Abel (obviously), is clearly up to no good in this whole situation. While almost blackmailing Faye into accepting his proposal of marriage, he’s also not a very good leader. It takes over a year to allow for a new ruler to be crowned, so it’s a good thing Cain shows up. Between revenge plots, assassins, and not being able to trust anyone, Cain really does a pretty good job balancing his kingly life with re-courting Faye.

While not a very Scanguards-ish book, this one was still really good. It was almost like a road trip novel, where a few characters travel to another place for the length of the book. While Cain wouldn’t have been my pick for such a book, it really worked. I found myself rooting for this mystery man and hoping for a really great ending (and was rewarded with one, too).

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Review: Zone of Action: A Career Soldier Military Romance

Zone of Action: A Career Soldier Military Romance Zone of Action: A Career Soldier Military Romance by Tawdra Kandle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books are sexy, sizzling, super fun bite-sized stories that will leave you grinning. In this book, we follow Jake on his journey from super bachelor to inadvertently committed man.

Jake is part of the crew that went out every weekend, hooking up with different willing women each night. This seemed to be the type of life that made him happy until one seemingly normal outing to a bar introduced him to Harper. Remember Harper? If you don’t, you’re missing out on another good story. Harper used to room with Sam (another soldier’s soon-to-be-wife from another book). Sure, they’re still BFFs, but they don’t really get to see each other much due to Harper’s demanding career as a chef. On her rare nights off, she likes to blow off steam in exactly the same way as Jake.

This is where the dirty time begins. Harper refreshingly and bluntly picks up Jake after he introduces himself and they quickly progress to the one-night-stand portion of the evening. So what’s different? They both know there could be more, but ignore it in favor of their seemingly simple lifestyles… until they re-meet at Sam’s party. From there, it was really fun to watch them dance around their growing feelings and altered attitudes. This HEA was particularly satisfying and I’m happy I got to read it.

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