Monday, October 21, 2019

Review: Reaper

Reaper Reaper by Larissa Ione
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow, I was unprepared for this book. I started it, just assuming that I’d be in for your typical short read in this rather developed universe. This was not your typical read.

So much happens and I’m not willing to spoil you to discuss it, but just be prepared for *a lot* of shocking developments, changes to the world, changes to people we care about, and some super dark surprises. I’m… happy, I guess? There’s resolution to a lot of things that get initiated in the first few chapters of this book, but this has set my head spinning.

We join Azagoth, still living with his pregnant mate, still trapped in his realm, but determined to be a better person for her. Then… all the things happen. So much badness, so much change, all orchestrated by the “big bad” that was created previously. As usual, heaven isn’t really much help to him, but it was still nice to get visits from *all* the familiar faces from just about every book previous. This was like the greatest hits of the series, which would be great and fun, if some major things didn’t happen that shook me up.

Ultimately, there are a lot of battles (some super “epic”) with so much damage and destruction that I was cringing but eagerly flipping pages. As with most books that have so very many changes, it was difficult at times to continue. Azagoth has been through so much, and he heads in a bit of a different direction I this book, that I was simultaneously rooting for him and rooting for people to stop him. I think this is a necessary book, but tough to finish.


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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Release Blitz: Reaper by Larissa Ione

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"Reaper is . . . Epic. Thrilling. Amazing. No one can suck me into a story like Larissa Ione." -- Donna Grant, New York Times bestselling author”

For love, he’ll watch the world burn.

For revenge, he’ll light the match.

New York Times bestselling author Larissa Ione returns to her fan favorite Demonica Series with REAPER, available now!

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THE DEMONICA SERIES RETURNS…

He is the Keeper of Souls. Judge, jury, and executioner. He is death personified.

He is the Grim Reaper.

A fallen angel who commands the respect of both Heaven and Hell, Azagoth has presided over his own underworld realm for thousands of years. As the overlord of evil souls, he maintains balance crucial to the existence of life on Earth and beyond. But as all the realms gear up for the prophesied End of Days, the ties that bind him to Sheoul-gra have begun to chafe.

Now, with his beloved mate and unborn child the target of an ancient enemy, Azagoth will stop at nothing to save them, even if it means breaking blood oaths and shattering age-old alliances.

Even if it means destroying himself and setting the world on fire…

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Download your copy today!

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Excerpt

Lilliana woke to someone tap dancing on her bladder. Groaning, she rolled over and bumped into Azagoth. Pleasantly surprised that he was still in bed, she ignored her need to pee and curled up against him. She’d missed this so much while she was gone. “Good morning,” he murmured, his husky voice even more gravelly than usual. “Morning.” She snuggled into his shoulder. “I’m surprised you’re not working.” He yawned. “You wore me out last night.” Smiling against his skin, she trailed her fingers along the hard ridges and deep valleys of his abs. “I wanted to show you how grateful I was that you threw me a baby shower.” And she’d done it without getting too active. Eidolon couldn’t begrudge her one orgasm, right? “Mmm.” He pressed a kiss into her hair. “You must have been very grateful.” She slid her hand under the sheet and meandered her way to the curve of his hip. She might be a million months into her pregnancy, but her sex drive didn’t care in the least. “I’m still grateful.” He hissed as her knuckles brushed his shaft. “Not complaining.” It truly had been sweet of him to gather together the denizens of Sheoul-gra for a big celebration of food, drink, and games in the traditions of people from the human, demon, and angelic cultures. She’d suffered two more bouts of intense nausea and some cramps, but they’d passed quickly. What hadn’t passed was Azagoth’s concern. Which was probably why he was still in bed with her. It was cute the way he hovered. Annoying at times, but cute. “I just want you to know that you’re my life,” he said. “Without you, I’m a monster.” “And what are you with me?” He gave her a rare, boyish grin, made even more playful by his mop of bedhead. “A happy monster.” “I’m very happy about the happy.” She rubbed her eyes and yawned. “Things are good, Lil,” he said. “I never thought much about being a partner, let alone a parent, but I want to do these things with you.” He settled his hand on her belly and smiled with wonder. “This will be my first child born without a predetermined future. He or she can be anything. Do anything.” “Incredible, isn’t it?” She pushed up on one elbow and leaned in to kiss his chest. She’d kissed every inch of him last night. Maybe she’d lick every inch of him this morning. “And our baby will be born to parents who love each other.” Determined to show him how much she loved him, she kissed her way lower. Her lips whispered over his nipple, but before she could taste him, a cramp wrenched her insides. She sucked in a harsh breath, her hand going to her belly. “What is it?” Azagoth jackknifed up, his expression dark with worry. “Is it the baby?” Fierce heat swelled beneath the surface of her skin as her abdomen tightened. “I think it might be Braxton Hicks,” she said between panting breaths. “What?” “Cara had them.” Closing her eyes to stop the room from spinning, she eased back onto her pillow. “They’re like practice contractions.” She didn’t remember Cara complaining about being hot and sweating buckets, though. Another cramp streaked through her, and she moaned. Cara had said they were painful, as if someone were squeezing her intestines. This was more like someone was driving a red-hot blade through them. “You’re white as a ghost, Lilli.” Something’s wrong. No, nothing was wrong. She was being paranoid. Azagoth rested his palm on her forehead, testing her temperature. “Are these Hicks things supposed to be like this?” She heard the panic in his voice but not the words. Her ears were buzzing. Her head was pounding. And, suddenly, a wave of agony wrapped around her and squeezed so hard she screamed. Vaguely, she heard Azagoth call out her name as a warm gush spread between her thighs. “Lilliana? Lilliana!” His voice droned in and out as the room began to tilt. There was shouting. More pain. Her thoughts fragmented. And then, finally…nothing.

About Larissa Ione

Air Force veteran Larissa Ione traded in a career in meteorology to pursue her passion of writing. She has since published dozens of books, hit several bestseller lists, including the New York Times and USA Today, and has been nominated for a RITA award. She now spends her days in pajamas with her computer, strong coffee, and supernatural worlds. She believes in celebrating everything, and would never be caught without a bottle of Champagne chilling in the fridge…just in case. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her retired U.S. Coast Guard husband, her son, a rescue cat named Vegas, and her very own hellhounds, a King Shepherd named Hexe and a Belgian Malinois named Duvel.

Connect with Larissa

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialLarissaIone

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Website: http://www.larissaione.com/

Monday, October 14, 2019

Review: Junkyard Dog

Junkyard Dog Junkyard Dog by Katja Desjarlais
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book feels like a later installment in the series where I skipped the first few books – that’s how developed the world is. We join what feels like a story already in progress, which only grabbed me even more.

Alex is part of a group of mythological beings. You gotta get over that real quick, because there is so much more to this story. Charlotte is a park ranger with a super tough chick background. She’s more than capable, but still has a soft spot for lost animals. After another sighting of a huge black dog pops up, she sets up camp to “lure” this dog to safety. She’s certainly fearless, because it’s Alex in his shifted form that she ends up “catching.” The sizzle between these two (as humans, not human/dog pairing) is off the charts hot and awesome.

What should have been a simple hunt for Alex ends up being complicated by the murderous intentions of his target and his attraction to Charlotte. Did I mention that the side characters in this story are also great? They totally are, and left me wanting even more. Charlotte’s partner in particular was a highlight of this tale. I hope this isn’t the last we see from him. So while this story starts and ends Charlotte and Alex’s tale, I’m optimistic that we’ll get some closure from the other brothers at some point in the near future.


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Review: The Weaver

The Weaver The Weaver by Heather Kindt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was definitely a unique tale, and managed to weave (ha!) together a contemporary YA romance, historical fiction, and even some elements of horror/fantasy. As the start of a series, this does not disappoint!

Laney is a bit of a recluse. She keeps to herself, writing her secret novel and studying, but makes an exception for her childhood friend and longtime crush. Things take a bit of a turn when a character from her book ends up attacking her. Her college life, which seemed relatively normal, only gets weirder and weirder as some more familiar faces begin to pop up. A simple crush turns into a love triangle, which then turns into a race against a murderous fictional character. The face is quick and this book was completely addictive.

While I guess you could read this book and stop here, this is clearly not meant as a standalone. This book sets up the characters (both fictional and “real”), the world, the magic, and starts the story. I can’t wait to see where this world takes me in future installments. I’m desperate to know more about what goes on here, what other powers are roaming around in this universe, and ultimately where Laney will end up.


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Review: Burn for Me

Burn for Me Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I know, I’m doing this in a weird order. I dove in at book 4, but now I’m swinging back around to start at the beginning (even though I kind of know where things end up). That being said, I still really enjoyed this book.

Nevada is the eldest kid of very… interesting family. They live in this universe where magic powers are relatively commonplace and everyone is dealing with their challenges/skills in different ways. A sort of class system has set up with primes (the heaviest magical hitters) are at the top and everyone else falls in line. Nevada’s family has become beholden to one such family, due to some debts they collected when her father fought against cancer. She’s carrying the weight of this and all their other burdens when she accepts an un-winnable case – find a fire-magic prime and bring him to his family before the police catch him.

As if that wasn’t tough enough, she ends up butting heads with a notoriously crazy “mad Rogan.” Oh, and he’s super-hot, super powerful, and super arrogant. These two, obviously, have some amazing sexual attraction that will take us through this 3 book story arc. Fair warning – this is not a book that resolves everything all in one book. In fact, there’s a pretty good cliffhanger which guarantees you will read the next one (which I will). It was neat to see all these characters must younger than I saw them in book 4, so I think whatever order you join is still OK.


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Saturday, October 5, 2019

Review: Stockings and Spells

Stockings and Spells Stockings and Spells by Nancy Warren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I blindly picked up this audiobook while between series based solely on the cover and title. I'm new to this "Vampire Knitting Club," but was also intrigued by that. I guess vampires can do anything, also knitting.

I met Lucy at the start of this book, so I'm not really sure of all she's gone through up to this point. She now owns a knitting store, inherited from her grandmother who is now a vampire. I'm sure there's a story there. Her grandmother is around (though hidden) with her group of vampires, including one possible love interest for Lucy in the form of an older vampire book appraiser (he's a vampire, who is also a book appraiser, I should say). Another love interest for Lucy is in the form of a cop, who she encounters several times before ultimately needing him for the mystery part of the book.

This book is not my typical read, because there really isn't any romance. Instead, we get a mystery in the form of an attempted murder, possible book authorship theft, and some other related crimes. I liked the characters, the mystery, and was even motivated to think about trying knitting (I won't). this book was quick, entertaining, but probably won't get me to continue with the series in lieu of others. For a book series with "Vampire" in the name, there was pretty much no supernatural elements, other than fast knitting.

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Review: Enchantress Under Fire

Enchantress Under Fire Enchantress Under Fire by A.C. Spahn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am so sad to see this series come to an end! More, please? I'm not ready to say goodbye to this world, all the characters, and the unique magical quirkiness! That being said, this was a fabulous ending to a wonderful story. If you are reading this and have not yet read book 1 - go back and do that! You would be doing yourself a disservice by starting at the end of this fantastic journey.

We join Adrienne as she embarks on what will undoubtedly be her most dangerous mission. At the end of the previous book, we learned she was going off on her own to infiltrate Geralt's cult and rescue her boyfriend. Seems silly, but she's desperate for enchanters, and Geralt holds all those cards. This story starts quickly and just doesn't let up on the terror and anxiety. Sure, it takes some time for her to gain some trust and allies, but there is a constant worry that she will be found out and sacrificed, killing way too many people in the process.

Don't worry - we get lots of familiar faces, even though Adrienne was insistent she do this on her own. I wouldn't mind some spin off books, though, to get even more of our friendly PU members (hint-hint). There are so many twists and turns to get to the big showdown that I wouldn't know where to start with a spoiler-free review. Things I can promise? Magic - more awesome magic. Big showdown - the one you want. Happy endings? Of course! These endings, however, come in the most unexpected way (that I was shocked and happily surprised by). This world is still one of my favorites, and I'm so happy I got to see it all play out.

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Review: Good Leaders Ask Great Questions: Your Foundation for Successful Leadership

Good Leaders Ask Great Questions: Your Foundation for Successful Leadership Good Leaders Ask Great Questions: Your Foundation for Successful Leadership by John C. Maxwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up this book as part of a leadership program I was undertaking. It was a suggestion from one of the program organizers and it sounded like something that could help me develop better question skills. I've been trying to work on coaching, so I made sure to listen to this pretty regularly as an audiobook.

I knew nothing about John Maxwell when I started. By the end, now, I know a lot more. He's the narrator of the audiobook, which I enjoyed, and he seems genuine in his mission to help leaders develop. Some of his stories revolve around religion, but it never seemed to be preachy or judgement filled for those who do not pray or follow any religious affiliation. The narrative flow of the book largely follows a list of questions people ask (him, his staff, his team, his fans, etc.). I found it very motivation, uplifting, and engaging. I'm not one for reading tons of self-help books, but this one definitely helped me.

There was a lot of focus on self leadership, and that also grabbed my attention strongly. I'm a leader with nobody directly reporting to me, so I was happy to see that you can still continue on your leadership path with or without employees. Influence is key in a lot of these messages, too, which may be my next focus in learning development. All in all, this book got my wheels turning, which was my ultimate goal.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Review: Sapphire Flames

Sapphire Flames Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I joined this series, already in progress, based on the description of this book. It sounded like everything I wanted and more! I wasn't disappointed in the storyline, or the writing. I'm going to warn you, though, I had a really hard time with the ending. Are all of these books like this? If so, I may rethink my plan to go back and start at book 1.

We join this book, with Catalina stepping into the role as head of the house. It’s kind of like Harry Potter, except with way more murder, betrayal, and sexy chemistry. Catalina has siren powers, which is good when she gets the chance to save a young boy from a ledge, but bad in that she can’t exactly have normal relationships. Her family is filled to the brim with quirky characters, all of which were a wonderful joy to meet. As a PI firm (kind of?), she ends up being tasked with tracking down an evil doer that conspired to murder a young woman’s mother and sister in a supposed house fire. Things get much worse and more confusing from there.

There’s also the other bright spot in the story – Alessandro. He’s someone that Catalina has a serious crush on, who also happens to have crazy super powers. Their paths cross and there’s oodles of sparks. I mentioned the cliffhanger, right? Well this falls under that heading, too. Sigh. Overall, the story sort of wraps up, but I still wanted to chuck my Kindle at the wall to vent my frustrations. I’m angry, but not angry enough not to read the next book.


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Review: Selkies are a Girl's Best Friend

Selkies are a Girl's Best Friend Selkies are a Girl's Best Friend by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love the author, and the series, so it was a pretty sure bet that I would enjoy this book. I did, of course, and it even did some unexpected things along the way. Oh, and there's pie. There's always pie.

Sonja is a beloved character of this series, and the town people of Mystic Bayou acknowledge her awesomeness pretty unanimously. Will, however, is unaware of Sonja's near-god-like abilities and high unofficial (and official) rank in town. Having been away for years, he returns to take the open doctor position and, kind of shockingly, pokes at Sonja. Poke is probably not the right word (but we get to the fun poking later). They almost tested one another from the start. They are both clearly from out of town, though Will originated in town, and they are both determined to prove themselves in one way or another. Being forced to work together manages to smooth out all the rough edges, though.

Will is a Selkie and has a bunch of baggage. I guess most of it goes along with the whole Selkie pelt nonsense, but there is also the usual family drama. One super awesome bonus of this story was the introduction of John, who I hope we see again. Will's brother was simply a delight! While Will and Sonja work out their relationship, there's still the larger story of the rift, what's happening to it, and who the evil folks are. In typical paranormal formula, we get the romance, the smutty goodness, the misunderstandings, some evil doers, and then a nice HEA. I love these little yummy audiobooks and will happily continue to devour them as they are released.

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Review: Listening: Learn to Really Listen and Develop Active Listening Skills

Listening: Learn to Really Listen and Develop Active Listening Skills Listening: Learn to Really Listen and Develop Active Listening Skills by Christian Olsen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I grabbed this audiobook based on the short amount of time, and the content. I guess I should've been prepared for it to be a very cursory look at active listening for the approximately 40 minute read time.

If you're looking for something in-depth, there are definitely other books out there. This reminded me of the things I already knew to do, almost like a refresher. It did get a little bit preachy about attention, phones, etc. and, for some reason included a list of quotes at the end. Overall, I guess you get what you pay for. As a brief introduction or a refresher, this hit the spot. Anything more, look elsewhere.

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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Review: Wishful Thinking

Wishful Thinking Wishful Thinking by Helen Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book blew my socks off! There was just the perfect combination of cursing, magic, sexual chemistry, and relatable workplace characters that I couldn’t put this book down. As the start to a series, you’ve got me ready for book 2 (and 3 and 4… you get the hint)!

Saffron Sawyer is not in the most glamourous job when we first meet her, but she is doing her best for her clients. As a dope fairy, she guides them on a journey of sorts, but ultimately the choices are up to them. Her ambition has always been to become a fairy godmother, but the position is coveted and the wait list is long. There is also a bit of a class system in the fairy world, leading the same families to have several generations of fairy godmothers, not leaving room for newcomers. All of that changes on the day her boss informs her of a surprise interview to become one of them! It seems her dream has come true, but, as with most jobs, it’s nothing like she expected.

The fairy godmother workplace is filled with anxiety over some missing employees, leading to them being overworked, suspicious of everyone, and not exactly welcoming to poor Saffron. She manages to make the best of it, though, focusing on her clients, but also getting drawn into the mystery of who is making fairy godmothers disappear. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that she ends up in close quarters with an attractive Devil’s Advocate. All of the twists and turns had me eagerly (digitally) flipping pages only to be surprised by how it all ends. I loved the characters, and most of all this world! I can’t wait to read more and get to know them all even more!


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Review: Beware the Darkness

Beware the Darkness Beware the Darkness by Alexandra Ivy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book picks up exactly where the last one leaves off, so I don’t recommend diving in to this as your first book in the series. I’ve jumped in and out of the series, and while the author does a good job catching up, I enjoyed this one a lot more having met most of these characters previously.

Tarak is newly freed from his prison, having learned his lesson about the evil of the mermaid ruler. He’s determined to find his vengeance and also equally determined to ignore his affection for the mermaid princess that visited him to keep him “fed” during his captivity. Waverly, the aforementioned princess, is also in denial, but willing to do just about anything to keep her sister safe and do whatever is right for her people. Riven, the ruler of the mermaids, is doing some horrible things to her people, so when things start to indicate that he may not have been mystically chosen as he said, Tarak and Waverly team up to take him down.

Oh, and there’s also the wonderfully amusing and always catastrophe filled gargoyle sub-story going on. And the romance elements. And some visits from familiar faces. All in all, this was a nice, new spin, making me re-thing mermaids as a paranormal main character storyline. I can’t wait to see where this world goes next.


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Review: Blood Truth

Blood Truth Blood Truth by J.R. Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I gotta say, I wasn’t really dying to hear about Boone. Sure, he is essentially what started them learning more about the shadows attacking people, but he was never really a super mystery I wanted to know more about. This book felt like a bit of a filler book, which is sad, because the rest of the series was fun and new, which is exactly what the BDB needed to get me re-hooked.

Boone, as I said, is the one who came to the brotherhood to warn them about the big party filled with treason (and shadows, surprise!). He’s got a rough home life, what with his father essentially disowning him and his mother having passed away without much ceremony. The fake lifestyle he’s forced to hold up when he’s there is a bit of a drain on him. Oh, and he’s also dealing with tendencies to take the fighting a little too… dark. He doesn’t go for the quick kill and instead draws things out like a serial killer. For something that we spend a lot of time learning, this ends up going nowhere (yayyyy, more loose ends!).

When Boone finds out his father was killed at that party, he rightfully has mixed feelings. In an effort to avoid being along with his thoughts, Butch offers to train Boone on investigative techniques. It’s through this investigation into a serial killer (not Boone) that he meets Helaine. The expected mate dance begins there and has some bumps in the road, just like all the others. This book manages to tie all the separate stories into one by the end, leaving the typical loose ends, but giving a happy ending none the less. As a close to the spinoff, this was not really that satisfying – we barely saw the other trainees – but as a story, it delivers something entertaining, if not completely wrapped up.


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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Review: Accidental Sire

Accidental Sire Accidental Sire by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Man, I enjoyed Meagan so much more in this book than the previous short story. She gets a fully formed personality that was a lot more enjoyable than the one that paired up with Ophelia. Her being friends with Ophelia just seemed like more of her being an awesome open hearted person.

So, we join Meagan after Ophelia has introduced her to Ben and they appear to be having a great time. The start to a wonderful relationship? Not in this universe! Vampires end up breaking poor Meagan in a confusing accident that ends with her being turned. Things kind of spiral out of control from there, ending up with Meagan and Ben's relationship becoming even... more. Don't worry, though, because Jane steps in to... help?

The story takes a lot of twists and turns, taking me from wanting to punch Ben, to wanting to punch Meagan, and finally to punch all of their enemies. It takes a lot of doing, but they eventually get to a happy ending in their new and unique life together. It was very nice to finally close the book on "poor Ben." Is there anyone left here that doesn't have their mate yet? Maybe the next book will be about new characters that also get drawn into Jane's web of madness.

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Review: Big Vamp on Campus

Big Vamp on Campus Big Vamp on Campus by Molly Harper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Again, I'm powering through this series, complete with all the short stories. Since it seemed to be somewhat important to complete the "in-betweens," I was even willing to listen to some Jamie and Ophelia time. Yuck.

Ophelia was "sentenced" to going to college with her boyfriend. Yeah, I don't think it was a real punishment, but it certainly seems like it to Ophelia. I figured this book was going to be the one where I suddenly didn't hate her. Nope. I still really don't like her and I don't get the Ophelia/Jamie thing even more now that I got an inside view. For someone so very old, she definitely is not in a healthy one and should probably know that. It almost hurt to watch it happen.

The most important part of this book was the introduction of Ophelia's friends, who play a prominent role in the next full length book. There were a bunch of loose ends thrown in (some that don't even get wrapped up in the next book, maybe just dead ends?), but I guess you can't expect big things from a short read. If you are okay playing catch up in the next book, I would recommend skipping this one.

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Review: Where the Wild Things Bite

Where the Wild Things Bite Where the Wild Things Bite by Molly Harper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am so dedicated to this series and this author, that now I'm blindly downloading the next in the series without reading any description. Maybe that's my problem - remember how I said how much I did not enjoy Finn? Well, this is his book. Maybe his redemption book? Kind of? Ugh.

Anna is a new character who made the mistake of crossing paths with Jane. Welcome to crazyville! Anna's life has been a bit troubled as far as her academic history goes, but she persevered and made a name for herself by appraising supernatural texts. Enter Jane's mystery text, which resulted in Anna getting on a very small plane, no matter what her anxiety warned her about. For once, her anxiety was right, and through a series of confusing events, the plane crashes, leaving Anna and the only other passenger, a vampire, stranded in the woods.

Finn is not exactly the outdoorsy type, so they are pretty much on the same page, except Anna isn't allergic to sunlight. No matter what Finn did or didn't do in this book, I just couldn't get over my baggage with him. The misunderstanding section of this story only reinforced how much I do not like him. Maybe you enjoyed this book if you didn't have previous bad experience with Finn? I did enjoy Anna, though. She's a tough babe and I can get behind her storyline. Too bad for her choice of match.

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Review: Queen of Vampire Hearts

Queen of Vampire Hearts Queen of Vampire Hearts by Jeanette Rose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow - I am completely shocked by this book! At the start, it seemed like it would be your typical smutty erotica, but this was so much more! Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of dirty good times, but there was a lot of solid world building and story that made this more than your standard read.

Phoebe is a really powerful witch on the run from the ruling witch council. She made a mistake and trusted her vampire ex-boyfriend with some witch secrets and was sentenced to death. Lucien is a jaded vampire king, tired of life and just biding time. At an orgy (of course) he is drawn to a stranger who just so happens to be the most wanted witch ever. He doesn't know that, and this is where all the secrets and miscommunication begin.

This world has everything supernatural - gods, vampires, werewolves, witches, curses, magic, and different realms. Throw in a confusing and fated relationship, and you've got Phoebe and Lucien's story. Watching them build a life together (and almost destroy it) was completely engaging. I couldn't put this book down! The end gives you all the happy feels, but leaves you wanting more. Where's the next book? I need it now!

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Review: A Kid's Guide to Drawing Cartoon Animals (Happy Fox Books) From Kid Scoop, Step-by-Step Instructions and Trace-and-Draw Sketches for Elephants, Crocodiles, Tigers, Sea Horses, Sharks, Pandas, & More

A Kid's Guide to Drawing Cartoon Animals (Happy Fox Books) From Kid Scoop, Step-by-Step Instructions and Trace-and-Draw Sketches for Elephants, Crocodiles, Tigers, Sea Horses, Sharks, Pandas, & More A Kid's Guide to Drawing Cartoon Animals (Happy Fox Books) From Kid Scoop, Step-by-Step Instructions and Trace-and-Draw Sketches for Elephants, Crocodiles, Tigers, Sea Horses, Sharks, Pandas, & More by Vicki Whiting
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, full disclosure - I used this book myself. I am no artist and have struggled with trying to take a stab at drawing. I figured using a kids book might be less pressure and have a greater variety of adorable drawings . I was right! It even gives you some very helpful words in the beginning of the book, letting you know that it's OK if your drawings don't turn out identical to those in the book.

My husband and I set out to show how awesome we could be at art by flipping through this book together, armed with crayons, pencils, and drawing paper. I chose a few to demo and I have to say - the steps were totally doable! Otter may have been the most challenging for me, but that was probably because some steps seemed rather large in expectations. This book would definitely entertain kids and I'm sure they would do an even better job than me and my husband. We sometimes got in our own way by assuming we knew the next thing to draw, only to have to erase or go back. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a great activity (with or without kids!).

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Friday, September 6, 2019

Review: Hour of the Wolf

Hour of the Wolf Hour of the Wolf by Dana Marie Bell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think I did myself a disservice joining the series at book 5. There appears to be *a lot* of characters floating around with lots of stories that I felt very lost trying to keep track of. As a paranormal romance, though, it is super unique.

Iva has just recovered from some horrible torture/kidnapping from the big bad Van Helsings. Noah, who apparently discovered that Iva was his mate, has been trying to balance sitting by Iva's tree and managing the North American shifters. They are both rulers in their races, so them coming together is a great match. Iva seems like a free spirit, worried more about others than herself, but pairs off nicely with Noah. Noah, who has taken to being an adoptive father to two young kids, is the real-world to her wandering mind. Oh, and there's chemistry that lights up the page.

The larger storyline here, other than their fated mate status, is hunting down the big bad. They use all of their larger paranormal network to their limits - there's magic, dragons, unicorns, vampires, shifters, ghosts - you name it! Their combined power might be able to keep the bad at bay and give us a happy for now ending, but it's clear there's still more story to be had.

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Review: The Second Coming: A Mythpunk Urban Fantasy Novel

The Second Coming: A Mythpunk Urban Fantasy Novel The Second Coming: A Mythpunk Urban Fantasy Novel by SM Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you're new to this world, this is not the starting point for the series. You definitely need to at least go back to the start of the original series, a spinoff, or read a whole bunch of spoilers. There is so much baggage we've accumulated along the way that you will be LOST. I've read all the books, and I could still use a timeline with diagrams and character sketches. I muddled through, though, and I'm glad to have read this one.

Rejoining James and Elise is like putting on your favorite sweater, if that sweater was also filled with warm blood, guts, and things that make you vaguely uncomfortable. One thing this book delivers, like the previous ones in this world, is a gritty, sometimes gross, and horribly realistic post-apocalyptic environment. There are battles and they get ugly. There's a kid now, and that's horribly graphic. James still might be a dick, and that's... annoyingly familiar. The story revolves around James and Elise coming back to earth significantly later than planned so they can live the somewhat perfect life of two somewhat normal folks, complete with baby.

There are *a lot* of familiar faces in this book, so have your thinking cap on and be prepared to recall their backstory. We get hints, but more to spark your memory than to retell things. Assassins are after Elise and may have kidnapped James, all while Elise is a new mother and things are... bad. As usual, there are twists and turns, some awful loss and then a somewhat happy ending (with mild "to be continued" type ending). I will read just about anything with James and Elise, so I'm in for these books no matter what.

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Monday, August 26, 2019

Review: Dark Alpha's Redemption

Dark Alpha's Redemption Dark Alpha's Redemption by Donna Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was bound to happen - we are working our way through the Reaper ranks to pair them off with unlikely matches. This particular Reaper I didn't really remember, but that doesn't make much difference. Being such a cagey bunch, we don't know much until their stories anyway.

Bradach is a Reaper who has a huge issue with dark fae. He is, obviously, tasked with working with a dark fae for Death, in one of her infinitely wise decisions. Maeve is anything but your typical dark fae, so when these two are thrown into dangerous situations, sparks fly between them. Two loners plus battle equals sexy times. Simple math! The overall storyline, hunting Usaeil, is nudged along with the actions here. If you aren't familiar with all the players, the story, the dragon kings, etc., you should roll back to the beginning (or at least a few books).

There are a lot of loose ends still out there at the conclusion of this book. No, we don't hurt for a HEA - that's definitely delivered. Instead, a lot of key players are still MIA. I'm hoping a resolution shows up quickly, because it hurts watching the bad guys escape all the time. Sure, I could read a bunch of these Reaper tales, watching them pair off, but I want to see some bad guys get wiped out!

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Review: Fangs for the Memories

Fangs for the Memories Fangs for the Memories by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Usually you can skip over the short stories and still get the full picture, but how could you pass up a story on how Andrea and Dick Cheney end up together? I know we see them as a couple and I kind of get it after the fact, but how did he win her over?

This story fills in all the gaps - from the night of Dick's great-great-great(?) grandson's death, to after the Titanic themed wedding of legend. At this point in the series, you've probably already fallen for Dick's lovable shady ways, but this will guarantee it. Andrea is still acting as a blood surrogate at the start of this story, and is probably only alive because of the mushy adorable man who is now her husband. While a short story, it brought back all the lovey dovey feelings that existed before this series got a little clogged with extra characters.

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Review: Enchantress Underground

Enchantress Underground Enchantress Underground by A.C. Spahn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First - don't start here. We've come a long way and it's only fair to go through all of this with this merry band of misfits. We join the story already in progress. The gang is in hiding from Geralt's evil cult and all of his allies that are out to kidnap or kill Adrienne. For her part, Adrienne manages to pull up her big girl panties and become a legit leader of the resistance. The girl that was hiding from the cult all her life is gone now and in her place is a superhero-like enchantress. So what about the rest of her crew? Well they are all doing their part in their own way.

So aside from fighting the cult, Adrienne has also been working on curing an incurable illness, bridging allies that have never worked together before, and trying to be a good girlfriend and friend. There are a lot of familiar faces in this book, and we learn so much more about each and every one of them. The story culminates with *a lot* of battle, so be prepared! Not everyone makes it out alive. All of this, however, makes the story super addictive and engaging. I went from being somewhat confident in Adrienne's abilities, to believing her unstoppable like her allies. I absolutely cannot wait to see how the next (last) book goes. After an epilogue like that, how am I supposed to wait???

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Review: The Single Undead Moms Club

The Single Undead Moms Club The Single Undead Moms Club by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, I gotta admit - I had my doubts about this one. I'm not a big fan of mommy/son books, especially when it is smack dab in the middle of a series filled with paranormal romance. How does romance fit in with kids and vampirism? Well, quite well, actually.

Once I let go of the romance angle, I was much happier with this book. Libby is a single mom, raising a kid while managing her overbearing in-laws and a terminal illness. The obvious solution - become a vampire! Sure, there were some mistakes made, but Libby is a pretty darn good vampire after all of this. Of course, Dick and Jane are tasked with foster-siring her since her sire accepted an ad on craig's list (not the safest, best role model). Libby and Danny rapidly grew on me - and then we met Wade.

Wade and Libby are the typical angry frenemies that grow into way more. Their relationship is angsty, then awesome on the turn of a dime. This book is definitely not the typical, formulaic installment, and instead goes into a bit of murder-mystery (like the Jane books), peppered in some romance, and then topped it off with family stuff. There are a bunch of familiar faces at PTA meetings, bake sales, and all sorts of oher places that the series has never taken us before. While Libby's sire and friend were not my favorite, this book was still shockingly one of my new favorites.

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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Review: Scent of Betrayal

Scent of Betrayal Scent of Betrayal by Denise Carbo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a wonderful new series! I admit, I stumbled upon this series already in progress, starting with Book 2. While not optimal under any circumstance, I was able to walk into this already built world and enjoy the story without any issue.

This world is unique in that it blends a bit of alien backstory with shifters as most people know them. Called Shifters of Rishard, they are born with their powers and abilities to shift into different animals (some more than one). It doesn't appear to have anything to do with what their other family members can shift into, and clans are formed more by geography than type of shifter they are. Bethany, the lead here, has had a bit of drama in her life. While out trying to meet up with shifters outside her clan, she ended up being betrayed by her brother.

All that appears to have wrapped up and we join Bethany as she is making the journey back to her clan. Davis, a member of a different clan, can't seem to let her go, so essentially makes himself her bodyguard and escort back home. Bethany is so wrapped up in all of the fallout back home that it takes her far too long to recognize the attraction between them. There's an element of fated mates thrown in here, but what Bethany should be most concerned about is even more betrayal and threats to her life at home! This poor girl just could not get a break. Don't worry about her, though, because this book gives a nice HEA. There was a lot of introduction to some pretty entertaining characters along the way, so there'd better be more coming from this series so we can visit them, too!



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Friday, August 16, 2019

Review: Brave the Tempest

Brave the Tempest Brave the Tempest by Karen Chance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books leave me with a serious hangover! I'm not even sure what I went through, but I have a vague recollection of it being rough.

At this point, there is no way to play catch up in these books. You start at page one, and things are already chaotic. Start from the beginning and prepare yourself! These are not fun, happy, flowers and rainbows books. These are some serious magical mayhem books, where Cassie is almost always on the verge of death, taking more damage than Harry Dresden and still coming out on top (somehow). So, what's this book about? I have no idea. As a larger story, I know we are nudging things in the right direction, but other than just haphazardly fighting off enemies and scheming "allies," I don't know that there is a single identifying theme throughout. Things we do get? Pritkin and Cassie (yay?), our favorite vampire bodyguards, some pretty satisfying deaths, and a slightly surprising new direction for the next book.

I'm not even sure how to summarize this book because... damn. So much is just happening at all times. Lots of magic is thrown around, there's lots of time jumping and timeline damage that she's got to clean up, and there's a looming war between vampires and fae (maybe?). And Cassie still doesn't have an assistant! It's mind boggling and exhausting to read these books, but I simply cannot quit them. At this point you know what you're getting into when you pick one of these up, so no surprise there. Cassie does appear to be growing and adapting, so watching her character is probably the highlight of this series. All in all, I will keep reading this series until its over, but I definitely need a break in between.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Review: The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire

The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As is my tradition, I have been reading all the books between the main books, and it is kind of critical that you read Gigi and Nik's intro before diving in here. We got to watch Gigi transition from a kid to an adult, and you need that in order to get on board with all the sexy times here. I don't know how you could make the leap without the ick factor otherwise.

So, as I was saying, we already knew that Gigi had some mystery man kissing her during the Christmas holiday, and that she was making some big life changes at the same time. She ended up taking the job working for the council, no matter how many complaints or arguments came along with it. Oh, and she's also working for her arch-nemesis. Downsides. I'm still not 100% on board with adult Gigi's life plan here, but I'm all for her standing up to the "adults" around her and making her own decisions. That includes getting involved with a vampire who doesn't remember meeting her.

Nik is having some trouble. There are large blind spots in his memory that he can't explain and while forgetful Nik and evil Nik seem to having liking Gigi in common, that's kind of where it ends. When Nik is all zombied out, he seems to want her dead. Couple that with navigating a vampire workplace and geeky coworkers, and Gigi gets a huge dose of adulthood all jammed in one summer. This book, again, gives us most of our favorite characters in one form of another, but is still definitely a Gigi book. I'm happy where we ended, even if the mystery was a little less tricky this time.

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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Review: The Rogue King

The Rogue King The Rogue King by Abigail Owen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book begins a new series set in the previously set up world of dragons and their fated mates. You can definitely start fresh here, but coming to this series with some groundwork definitely had me hooked from page 1!

The story that begins here starts with a phoenix. Turns out, if you have a phoenix mated to you, it automatically makes you high king of the dragons. Unfortunately for power hungry dragons, the phoenix must actually choose you, so there should be some wooing involved. That didn’t stop the evil melty current king of the dragons from trying to force himself on a phoenix. When that failed, and she found her own mate, he was determined to just suck her powers from her and kill any offspring. Said phoenix ended up having 3 daughters who had been trained their entire life for a dragon attack. Sent to various hidden places around the world, Kasia is the first one we meet up with. She is also the first one to be found by a rogue dragon for hire – Brand.

Brand has his own secrets to keep, so these two are evenly matched in hiding. They are also, surprisingly, evenly matched in running and fighting (or hot wiring cars, as the case may be). There is also, of course, some simmering interest between them. While on the run, things run hot (literally, sometimes), they are both finding their place in this world. Things they took for granted, the black and white imagined lines they drew, are all changed by the end of this book. As the intro to a series, this was a great start. This can certainly be read standalone, but with a start like this, how could you not want to read the rest?


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Saturday, August 3, 2019

Review: I'm Dreaming of an Undead Christmas

I'm Dreaming of an Undead Christmas I'm Dreaming of an Undead Christmas by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This short story was a pleasant surprise. I had always wondered if we would circle back around to Gigi so that we can see more of what happened after the Iris/Cal romance. While we don't get a complete and resolved story here with HEA, we do get to bridge the long gap of what happened in Gigi's life between the Iris book and the next one.

Gigi went to college, still dating her life-saving boyfriend, Ben. Remember when we knew her as the young and innocent girl? This story (which is somewhere between short and almost full-length) takes us out of that world and into the world of her becoming a true adult. When we left her, she was going to become a nurse or a doctor or something else that was inspired by Iris's brush with death. Well, that changed, because she showed aptitude for computer science. It's this that ends up pushing her towards vampires, much to Iris's dismay. Iris, however, has made some changes of her own. We knew she would eventually go vamp for Cal, but this book picks up some time afterwards, for Gigi's first Christmas home since then.

Iris, in typical Iris fashion, is determined to make it a nice, normal Christmas for Gigi, but there is nothing she can do to stop the chaos that is Half-Moon hollow. There's a lot of chaos, drama, and, well, what anyone would probably consider a "normal" dose of Christmas. We got to see all of our favorite characters in one form of another. We also got some confusing hints about hopefully where Gigi's future will be headed. As a bridging story, this does the trick. We get to turn the page on Gigi's story and I'm ready to see her life take shape.

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Review: The Undead In My Bed

The Undead In My Bed The Undead In My Bed by Katie MacAlister
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book for the Molly Harper story. I think saying that upfront is important, because that's the only series I actually have experience and knowledge of. The other 2 stories, while good, definitely were not as interesting to me, probably because I was playing catch up from the start.

The first story is Shades of Gray. This story introduced me to the world of guardians, demons, and vampires. Oh, there's ghosts, too! Noelle is super quirky and plucky, and is probably the best balance to the brooding vampire she is apparently destined to be with (a little muddy on the details of how their world works, to be honest). The vampire in this story is doing some silly martyr act, trying to avoid entanglements because he is somehow beholden to a demon due to some shady family dealings. There is a happy ending to this story, but I'm not sure I'd dive back into this world. It may have suffered from the narrator of this particular story, but I just wasn't as engaged in this one as the others.

The second story was Undead Sublet - my favorite of the bunch (obviously). Tess is a chef who had a little nervous breakdown. In an effort to reset her brain, she heads to the middle of nowhere, where she is rented a house that is (surprise!) already occupied by a vampire. There's some kitchen implement throwing, a prank war, sizzling chemistry, and ultimately a challenge that neither can turn down. By working together to win a "bake-off" (is cooking with blood in that category?), they are forced to handle their attraction and I'm happy to see this couple still present in the future installments. This was a joy to read and I was sad when it ended.

The last story was Out with a Fang - a shifter/vampire romance, told from a previously broken up couple reacquainting themselves with one another. Ruby had to catastrophically dump Michael after her father threatened to kill the poor human. As a shifter, she's only allowed to date paranormals. Lucky for her, she gets a horribly timed and chaos filled second chance. While lots of blood and fighting is involved, they still get to try again.

Overall, as a set of stories, I was happier with this one than most. Short stories are tricky, but this one had a good theme and generally good narration.

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Review: Special Valentine's Day Half-Moon Hollow Story

Special Valentine's Day Half-Moon Hollow Story Special Valentine's Day Half-Moon Hollow Story by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an adorable little short read set it he Half-Moon Hollow world. As probably the first time we get to watch all the guys of this world interact on their own, it was fun to watch. I was able to read this one for free online in the author's blog which a few people have linked to. As a serious completionist, it felt good to check off all the short stories between books. In the real world, if you don't want to read this one, you aren't missing anything critical, but you are missing some silly fun.

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Thursday, July 25, 2019

Review: A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses

A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I still wasn’t really sold on the Half-Moon Hollow post-Jane books when I started this one, but by the end, I was hooked all over again! Thanks, Nola Leary, for restoring my faith in Molly Harper!

Nola is a witch who has some unreliable healing abilities, is prone to things exploding, and has somehow become the head of the family and in charge of finding relics that, in the wrong hands, will doom her clan. On her death bed, her grandmother puts her on this quest by also informing her that Jane’s deceased shop-owner friend is Nola’s grandfather! Surprise! The connections to the original series abound in this book, so prepare yourself. Nola ends up renting a house that is shared with a very helpful contractor neighbor, Jed. Jed has his own secrets and, though they work to fight it, there’s attraction on both sides as well.

There are mysteries, backstabbing, magic, and (of course) vampires throughout this wonderful tale. Nola was relatable and fun to watch as she becomes more her own person and even gets some closure on childhood issues. Jed, too, was a great companion for Nola, without having to rescue the damsel in distress. This book was a really great addition to this world and I’m even more excited to keep exploring!


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Review: Priest of Skulls

Priest of Skulls Priest of Skulls by S.M. Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not sure it’s possible to start here in the series (or this world as a whole), so if you’re looking for a standalone, this book probably isn’t it. That being said, this book picks up right where the first one left off and might lead to some binge reading for later fans. While it always helps to be familiar with the larger world that the author creates, if this is your first series of hers, welcome!

Allene has been taken at the end of book 1. Sorry if that’s a spoiler for you – see above! She kind of sort of wanted to end up with Macsen anyway, whether to damn him or save him, that’s unclear, but we’re here anyway. Turns out, Macsen is super wounded and actually ends up needing Allene to soothe his broken soul. Allene is her brash self, trying to push through Macsen’s boundaries, trying to undo the brainwashing that so obviously has been taking place. All of that, plus the attraction, makes for some good times while being kidnapped.

Leander, of course, is not just sitting around waiting for the king to act. He and the other familiar faces of book 1 work together to help Allene where they can and leave her to her own devices where they can’t. Things are never a straight path, though, and the most obvious decisions end up having some truly catastrophic consequences. The ending of this book is a big ole cliffhanger, so prepare yourself!


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Review: The Librarian's Vampire Assistant

The Librarian's Vampire Assistant The Librarian's Vampire Assistant by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love this author and I love vampires. Those two things led me to this book. Maybe I should have read the details closer? Maybe I should have ignored my love of libraries and paid more attention? Either way, this book was not what I expected.

Michael is a vampire on the hunt for information about his maker’s killer. In the non-vampire friendly state of Arizona, he somehow gets wrangled into a job interview as a librarian’s assistant (it’s hard to explain). Once there, he ends up even further drawn into this quirky librarian’s world, saving her life and binding himself to her. The librarian, who I really cannot recall the name of, doesn’t have any interest in Michael, and it drives him crazy. Honestly, though, Michael’s friend Lula was so much more likable than him.

The larger story is about some nefarious plot by the local vampires to do horrible, apocalyptic (and evil) things to the rich folks in town. And there’s drug dealers. And mysteries. All of that rolled together in a book that didn’t really have the quirky humor I was looking for in a book from this author. I probably will not continue in the series.


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Review: Taste of Darkness

Taste of Darkness Taste of Darkness by Katie Reus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really really like this new series and the direction it’s going in. There’s a real uniqueness in the mashed up world of wolf shifter, dragon shifters, demons, and other wild paranormals. The matches are new and exciting with me guessing and second guessing myself every step of the way.

Drake was the dragon shifter we met in the previous installment. His instant attraction to Victoria was overwhelming, but he has been trying to “make himself more deserving” of her before revealing his intentions to make her his mate. It doesn’t matter to him that she’s a wolf shifter or that she is wonderfully independent. The match is absolutely perfect. They both balance each other out in great ways, when they least expect it.

This isn’t your typical virgin romance. Victoria is tough as nails and confident in her sexuality. The sexy scenes sizzle right off the page. If you’re looking for a brand new twist on a shifter romance novel, you should definitely check this series out. It’s really shaping up to be a wonderful series.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Review: Driving Mr. Dead

Driving Mr. Dead Driving Mr. Dead by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Since I saw that this book was not a full numbered book in the series, I guess I assumed it would be a short story. It totally is not a short story! This may be a longer book than some I’ve read in a full-fledged series. So, that minutia aside, this definitely did more to get me back into this world than the previous book.

This book sort-of/kind-of branches off of the previous Iris book. Miranda is a bit of a free-spirit, jumping between jobs and leaving a path of destruction in her wake. When Iris decides to take a stab at running the new arm of her company, she needs someone to physically transport the vampires. Miranda was looking for an escape from town after discovering her fiancĂ© has been less than faithful. For some reason, she decides to “think it over” on her job, but I believe we can all agree there should be no coming back from what he did. It only gets worse from there on out.

Collin is an uptight vampire who hasn’t traveled in a really long time. The last thing he probably expects at his door (late) is a walking, talking jinx. She just cannot seem to get through anything without an incident of some sort. Lucky for him, it mutes his annoying ability and leads to some of the most exciting days in his very long life. Of course, there’s romance, although I almost could have done without it. Maybe that’s based on first impressions, but I never got fully onboard with the Collin love interest angle. I think Miranda can do better. We get some familiar faces thrown in here and there to keep it current with the world, but it can probably be read as a standalone story. I’m slightly more eager now to dive into the next of the series.


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Review: Love and Other Wild Things

Love and Other Wild Things Love and Other Wild Things by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am loving this new series, set in the lovely, weird world of Mystic Bayou. Having already read book 2.5 and book 1, I was in the unique situation of knowing where we get but not knowing how we get there. This filled in the gap quite nicely and I wish there were more of these books available already!

This story is about Zed. We met Zed in the last book – he’s the mayor of this unique town, centered on a rift that is acting up. It’s turning humans into magical creatures and is only getting stronger. To this end, the league calls in Dani, an energy witch. Dani has been raised in a family of “normals,” so this town is particularly interesting to her. It’s probably the first place she can freely be herself, and that includes all her relationship issues and baggage from a childhood of being tossed around. Zed, a big, hulking bear shifter is just blunt enough to find Dani a delightful vision (and tell her that).

These two could have made their lives very easy and just had a purely physical relationship (that’s what she certainly was hoping for), but it quickly grows into more, through pie and life threatening situations. There’s a bit of hiding, betrayal, and lots of high strung league employees in this book, which gives the world a much larger feeling. While I knew who survived and where they ended up, it was still a delight to read. I’m happy for Zed and Dani, and really enjoyed the liberal use of my neighborhood (Parsippany, NJ).


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Review: Untamed Delights

Untamed Delights Untamed Delights by Suzanne Wright
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve jumped in and out of this series and the author’s works, but have always enjoyed what I’ve read. I’m sad that this is the “saying goodbye” book for the Phoenix Pack, and hope for many crossover/spinoff opportunities moving forward.

Remember Dominic? Well, if you don’t know him and you’re joining us here (WHAT?!), then all you really need to know is that he has subjected all the women who have come into their pack to some truly horrific and hilarious pickup lines. We knew eventually the time would come when his mate walked into his life and they would all finally be able to get him back. His mate, it turns out, is in the form of Mila. Don’t worry about her, though, because she is tough as nails.

Mila comes from a family of organized crime, Russian murdering wolverines, and other pallas cats, like herself. Unfortunately, her true mate has chosen someone else and she’s still licking her wounds, hiding her horrible secret from him. In a last attempt to get well, she tentatively agrees to an arranged mating all the way in Russia. No one is happy with this, least of all the adorable flirt she meets after performing at a shifter bar. Dominic, unfortunately, has more than just impressing Mila on his plate. What he thought was a simple one night stand turns into a boatload of drama for him when her father teams up with the extremists.

These two are 100% great for one another (of course), and were a nice, solid way to end the series. We get to see Dominic settle and yet learn way more about his inner workings. We watch the score get settled with the rest of the pack for all the flirtation. We also get to see the shifters pull together in a big fight. Oh, and we get to see more pallas cat action, which is always scarring in the best way. This ties up a lot of things, but I’d still take 8 more of these books!


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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Review: The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires

The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I dove into this book right after the wild and crazy ride that was the Jane series. That being said, while I enjoyed being in the familiar world, this was not the same type of happy, quirky feeling book that I was expecting. I’m definitely going to keep going in this spinoff series, hoping to get more hooked than I am right now.

Iris is a familiar character, if you’ve been through the Jane series. She planned her wedding and was somehow able to wrangle the crazy characters into a more manageable bunch. With that on her resume, I think I had something in my head that ended up completely different in this book. Iris is essentially a single mother to her younger sister. As the sole bread winner in the house, she’s forced to collect as many clients as possible so she can make ends meet. The council, luckily, keeps throwing vampire clients her way. One such client, though, ends up more trouble than she wants. Instead of following her rules and avoiding vampires in their homes, she literally falls for this new guy – Cal.

Cal is… pretty much a jerk when they first meet. He’s analytical, and a puzzle solver, so he quickly puts her in the harmless and useless bucket. Iris couldn’t be further from that. Sure, she manages to get herself in a ridiculous amount of trouble (not even counting Cal), but she does survive. The larger story here is about someone trying to poison vampires (Cal included). There’s secrets, backstabbing, betrayal, and teenagers all rolled into this intro novel. Cal and Iris are your typical opposites attract couple. Yes, he’s a vampire and she avoids being near alive/awake vampires, but they make it work. The only thing that got me more firmly on Team Cal was how he treated Iris’s sister. As a dysfunctional family, I’m on board.


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Review: How to Date Your Dragon

How to Date Your Dragon How to Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I dove into this series through the short story after book 2. This may have not been the best place to join, but since I really started my new addiction to Molly Harper, I guess it all worked out.

This book introduces us to the wonderful, wacky world of Mystic Bayou. The town that has drawn magical beings towards it with its mysterious rift has, no shock, attracted the attention of the shadowy organization – The League. Jillian, however, was not the person supposed to be studying the Mystic Bayou. Her boss’s sudden injury led them to tap the newbie on the team, throwing her into her first assignment. Just about everything ends up blowing Jillian’s mind on this new journey. There’s magic around every corner, and one such source of that magic is a hunky shifter named Bael.

Bael is a dragon shifter who has no desire to allow the League into his town. As the sheriff here, he’s tasked with maintaining order, and Jillian is messing with his careful order. He’s drawn to her, even though his dragon relatives will disown him if they end up mates. Jillian is just as drawn to Bael, and is very conflicted about it, too. It doesn’t really seem appropriate to sleep with her “subject” on her first field assignment.

These two dance around the issue quite a bit, but, don’t worry, all of this ends up working out in the wild and crazy Mystic Bayou fashion. This introduction to the town and all of its crazy characters was just perfect. As an audiobook, it was totally engaging and had me sad when I had to hit pause. I’ll dive right in to the next book during my next outing!


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Monday, July 8, 2019

Review: Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors

Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was everything I wanted from a last in the series. It gave me massive amounts of closure without making me weepy. I’m happy leaving Jane where she is, and where she can be happy.

So, as guessed, this book involves a neighborhood person getting bitten. Unfortunately for Jane, it’s her doing the biting, or turning as the case may be. While doing her best to stay under the Council’s radar, she somehow gets in the position where she either needs to turn her neighborhood babysitting charge, or watch him bleed out right in front of her store. When he asks her to, the choice is made, and she becomes a sire. A teenage boy, however, is not the easiest to control or turn into a respectable vampire.

Along with her newfound “mom” status, she’s also planning a wedding. Oh, and I forgot to mention last time that she made up with her sister. With most of her family mostly talking to her, this wedding planning gets a bit more crowded than it would have been in, say, book 1. Surrounded by her amazing friends and quirky family, Jane is, once again, inundated with death threats. Things are flying through the air, there’s poison involved, and even the council can’t control the situation. Sometimes you gotta go back to basics and just wing it (as Jane usually does).

There were some really great moments in this book that delivered all the highs and lows I needed to say a fond farewell to Jane and her friends. I’m hoping spin-offs will keep me full of small updates, but overall I’m supremely happy with the journey this set of books took me on. I can’t believe I waited so long to check these books out and look forward to reading everything I can get my hands on by this author.


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Review: Nice Girls Don’t Sign a Lease Without a Wedding Ring

Nice Girls Don’t Sign a Lease Without a Wedding Ring Nice Girls Don’t Sign a Lease Without a Wedding Ring by Molly Harper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a teeny tiny little short story set in Jane’s world that is supposed to bridge the time when she is living separate from Gabriel, to when she convinces her friends to stage a midnight move-in to avoid her mom. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned for Jane and her friends. What may have seemed like overkill (taking a huge detour to avoid town) ended up getting them all in trouble with mama.

All of this is essentially repeated in the next book, so you can probably skip this one.


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Review: Nice Girls Don't Live Forever

Nice Girls Don't Live Forever Nice Girls Don't Live Forever by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ugh, this is the transition book I’ve been dreading! I’ve been hoping that Gabriel and Jane can just push everything under the rug. Sure, he’s been hiding a lot from her, but having read my fair share of paranormal romance, I know it is in some stupid martyr fashion in one way or another. Jane, unfortunately, does not know that, and she makes a huge issue out of some woman writing him love letters in the present tense. Sigh.

On top of that (because Jane never gets a break), she’s got a frantic BFF who is about to become a dad for the first time (with a werewolf bride), and she’s also become the focus of the crazy stalker lady previously mentioned. This book may have been the insane and wild ride that the band of misfits needed to firmly cement them all together. Andrea might argue against that, though.

This group of friends/family has been so wonderful to watch grow and develop that I was blissfully happy when we end up with some changes but not enough to throw the train off the tracks. As I’ve said for all the previous ones, the high points in all of these is the wonderful dialogue and relationship development. I’d read 100 of these books!


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