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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