Sunday, December 31, 2017

Review: The Lady is a Vamp

The Lady is a Vamp The Lady is a Vamp by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book has gotten me back into the Argeneau stories again. After the last book, I was a little hesitant to dive into another one, but I'm glad I did. This book definitely didn't follow the typical storyline.

Jeanne Louise is a researcher at Argeneau Enterprises and she's so obsessed with her work that she barely notices anything around her. It's this trait that gets her in trouble on her way home. She is startled to find someone else in her car and then gets knocked out. Upon waking, it's clear that she's in a bit of trouble. She can't control her captor and he seems determined to keep her under his control.

Paul is acting out of desperation. He also works for Argeneau Enterprises but had to take a leave of absence after her daughter was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Knowing that turning her might be the only way she can survive, he concocts a plan to kidnap Jeanne Louise. Things quickly spiral out of control. There's car chases, lots of steamy attraction, and oodles of secrets. What begins as a "simple" kidnapping ends up possibly changing Paul's future.

You can probably predict that this ends with a HEA, but there are some surprises along the way. Who knew that you could bargain with Lucien? Who knew that kids could even be turned? I learned a bunch that I hope gets brought up in the future books. I'm looking forward to seeing some of the enforcers find their mates...

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Review: Deathly Revelations

Deathly Revelations Deathly Revelations by R. Holland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm not really sure what to make of this book. It was short and gave a good introduction to this world, but I found it pretty difficult to like any of the characters. I'm getting ahead of myself, though.

The book starts with some truly dark and horrifying scenes introducing us to a vampire named Simon. He's tried to live according to his rules, but ends up having to break ties with his current pack after they do something really bad. Really, really bad. I had a hard time reading it. He ends up captured while wandering and pondering life. I was a little confused why we met him and went through all that, but it comes back later.

Ana is a spoiled girl who happens to have just lost her sister in a tragic car accident. Trying to focus on her birthday (and Christmas?), she scurries down the stairs to find her mother and father loading her into a car on some unannounced trip. This trip leads her to a "seeker" compound where the hits just keep on coming. She's supposed to train to hunt vampires. Oh, and her parents are not her real parents (something her mother makes real clear during the trip there). Oh yeah, and pretty much all decisions are now in the hands of the mysterious council.

Ana is not one for following rules, so she breaks just about all of them during her first day or two there. One important defiant action ends up introducing her to Sam and Simon, the vampires that are currently being held captive. Things in the compound are not as they seem and some really bad stuff ends up happening that leads Ana to team up with her new allies. We get an ending of sorts, but it's clear I should want to continue on to see what happens. I'm not sure I do, but I'll definitely keep it in mind.

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Review: More Than A Hunch

More Than A Hunch More Than A Hunch by Kate Douglas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book was steamy, smutty goodness and I loved every second. Not only did you get some excellent erotic reading, you also got a decent story here.

Nita is a reporter who has been having steamy dreams about a mystery man for some time now. The dreams appear to be escalating, but she's pretty sure it's just hot flashes. Upon getting a mysterious phone call from a local businessman, she learns that she's not the only one having these dreams. On top of all that sexual chemistry is the fact that her previous investigative journalism might be the only thing that can save his daughter.

There's some sexy times, but Martin and Nita end up working together to save his daughter and get their much deserved HEA. I loved this.

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Review: Things Forbidden

Things Forbidden Things Forbidden by Raquel Dove
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book as completely unexpected and had me 100% engaged within the first pages. We join the story of Paris, a lonely demon lord, on the prowl and enamored with an innocent, Zoe.

Zoe routinely bathes in the local pond, late at night. It's here that Paris spies on her, becoming more and more addicted to her. On one fateful night, a stranger tries to attack her. In the brutal way of demon lords, Paris ends up protecting her and then promptly putting her under contract. Instead of quickly going into the land of smutty goodness, Paris is called away by the council to hear some pretty awful news - he's been mated to the most horrible but most powerful person available.

Zoe doesn't exactly take the news that Paris now controls her lightly. She goes into full research mode and ends up trying to use that knowledge to break her contract. Turns out, that's a bad idea that can lead to into eternal servitude. One thing leads to another, and Zoe and Paris end up helping each other out. All in all, this was a jam-packed quick read that had me wanting more from this world. Sadly, I'm having trouble finding any.

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Review: Cursed Under The Moon

Cursed Under The Moon Cursed Under The Moon by Sakura Fruit
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'd give this short book somewhere between 2 and 3 stars, really. It would definitely benefit from a run through the spelling and grammar program of any Word application. Having similar words replaced with the incorrect ones definitely took me out of the story a little bit.

This story is about Daren, a boy who is destined to destroy the world. His mother, the queen, upon learning this, hands him off to her servant to raise him until he reaches adulthood. At that point, she's supposed to kill him to protect the world. During this time, however, he meets and falls in love with a neighbor girl, giving himself one weakness. His adopted mother, as you can probably predict, fails in her task, starting the end of the world.

The story kind of goes this way and that, without much explanation about how Daren gets his powers, what his real goal is, and how things progress. We meet more members of his lady love's family, there's evil demon powers exposed, lots of killing, and in the end we get a somewhat (?) happy ending. This was a self contained short story that had a good idea but could use some help in execution.

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Review: The Newborn Vampire

The Newborn Vampire The Newborn Vampire by Evelyn Evans
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a short paranormal romance set in some not confirmed time period. There's some action, some mystery, and a bit of a darker type of vampire than I'm used to.

Catherine has lived a sheltered life with her grandmother. All of that changes when a traveling circus comes to town. Her grandmother reluctantly goes, and ends up introducing her to a young man that she claims is her grandfather. Lots of questions obviously come up, which all revolve around the fact that the entire circus is made up of vampires. These vampires aren't the sparkly nice ones, or even the ones that don't kill people. They have to kill people to survive and tend to kill a virgin girl in each town. Hard to support, right? It left me a little conflicted that I was supposed to support Catherine and her new boyfriend while they went out hunting innocent girls...

There's also this big bad roaming around searching for her. Samuel is Catherine's father, but he selfishly got her mother killed by simply impregnating her before she transitioned to being a vampire. The story ends in a battle, some good news, and this odd feeling that you've been rooting for the monsters.

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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Review: Antonia Bells

Antonia Bells Antonia Bells by Ramz Artso
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was completely addictive! I'm so sad that it's over, and it looks like there are no other books to follow. Even knowing that, I'm glad I read it.

Antonia Bells is a loner student at a Swiss school. She keeps to herself, trying not to stand out too much, and ultimately tries to escape her horrible home life. During one such escape attempt, she ends up being attacked by a shapeshifter and saved by some stranger with a bow and knife. Writing it off as imagined, she tries to go about her normal-ish life until confronted by that same boy as a new student at her school. Kellan (said boy) ends up introducing her to a new and fantastical world. At the same time, another new student, Mason, tries to lure her to his side.

Caught between these two guys, Antonia also learns that she's a prophesied "dragonborn." While still trying to accept that and all the magic in this new world, things escalate quickly. What should have been a slow introduction to this world and its political machinations ends up with her being thrown into a violent war. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, but was a really great introduction to this world. I wish there was more.

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Review: Nephyrae:A Paranormal Romance Series 1 (A Young Adult Urban Fantasy Thriller Bundle)

Nephyrae:A Paranormal Romance Series 1 (A Young Adult Urban Fantasy Thriller Bundle) Nephyrae:A Paranormal Romance Series 1 (A Young Adult Urban Fantasy Thriller Bundle) by Dee Ashford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This set of short stories were all packaged together in this all encompassing tale of a Nephyrae and his lady love. Having never read about a nephyrae before, I was suitably curious about this new spin on some older paranormal ideas.

Heaven (I know, you get over her name) is an unemployed woman living alone at the start of this story. After getting a call from a bar she applied to, she ends up starting work as a waitress. It's there that she meets Bronson. He seems like a simple bartender, but that wouldn't make a very entertaining paranormal tale. Turns out, Bronson is a nephyrae, which is a sort of vampire-related-snake-like-energy-sucking-being. He reveals this after saving Heaven from a would-be attacker, expecting her to run from him. Heaven, however, surprises him by accepting his otherwordly affliction and soon becoming his live-in girlfriend. Things go downhill from there.

As a paranormal weirdo, Bronson has attracted the attention of some monster hunters that make a bunch of attempts at killing him and/or Heaven. During the very last of the book, he ends up putting together his own interesting group of monsters to fight the hunters. The series/short-story set ends with Heaven and Bronson getting maybe the happiest ending you could expect in a very violent world. I guess there are no more of these stories, which is sad because I'd like to see what Bronson and Heaven do next with their lives.

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Review: All The World Stopped Tonight

All The World Stopped Tonight All The World Stopped Tonight by Tamela Miles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an incredibly short but well written collection of three stories. They each had their own spin on a chance encounter that all ended differently, but were engaging from start to finish. As an introduction to this author, they had me hooked!

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Review: The Lockwood Chronicles Episode 1: A Chance Meeting

The Lockwood Chronicles Episode 1: A Chance Meeting The Lockwood Chronicles Episode 1: A Chance Meeting by Katrina LaFond
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was an entertaining, quick read that had elements of paranormal romance, action, and mystery. All of that as jammed into a short couple hundred pages (hard to tell on the kindle) that I actually thought had wrapped up a few times along the way.

Madeline is on holiday when she literally runs into an attractive young man. Alexander is a vampire and is immediately smitten with Madeline. They arrange a date and hit it off before their passion ends with him feeding off of her. While he has her knocked out, however, his arch nemesis shows up, threatening his new happiness.

Ultimately, decisions must be made in the heat of battle that end up changing all of their lives. There's a number of battle scenes, some relatively dark, but we wind up with a somewhat satisfying ending. It is definitely a cliffhanger of sorts, so if that bothers you, you might want to skip this one.

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Review: Vampires Need Pedicures Too

Vampires Need Pedicures Too Vampires Need Pedicures Too by C.C. Kelly
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This short story was pretty confusing. What was I just reading? Why did it take so many confusing turns? What should have been a simple dating story ended up leaving me... befuddled.

Holly is a librarian who has a friend that drags her shopping and then to a speed dating event. When they show up, Holly is not at all attracted to the first guy in the line, who ends up being a vampire and going on and on in no fashion of order for a while. Then it ends. I don't know how else to describe it other than ... confusing. I almost stopped reading at one point. I get that short stories can kind of do their own thing, but this was sadly not entertaining.

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Review: Reap

Reap Reap by M. Watts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow - I can't believe this book doesn't have more reviews or ratings. What I believed would be a simple short story ended up being a fully engaging tale of guardian angels, reapers, and all sorts of other mythological beings. If you have this already on your kindle, it is definitely worth checking out. I'm sad that this is not still available on amazon or I'd review it there, too.

Sophie is a girl who has moved around all her life. At her latest school, however, she's greeting with a sense of deja vu when another boy ends up being "the new kid" alongside her. Cooper, it seems, is hiding some things, but these two hit it off dramatically well in the short amount of time they get together. After some wild reveals and some heartbreaking choices, Sophie finds herself alone again - but not for long! Another new kid shows up with a bad boy image and a wicked motorcycle. Sophie tries to fight it, but she's drawn to him, too.

This new kid, however, has all sorts of other secrets. Turns out, Sophie is just a magnet for the otherworldly. With all the twists and turns and emotional drama, this read like a full length epic novel but was only a short afternoon's reading time. I loved the world that the author built and found myself rooting for this unlikely pair. Too bad we don't get to further explore it! I was sad to see this book end.

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Review: Coffee And Vampires

Coffee And Vampires Coffee And Vampires by J.A. Fielding
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was one of my favorite short reads so far, in my reading blitz at the end of the year. Sadly, when I went to copy this to amazon, it looks like it is no longer available. I guess that serves me right for letting it sit on my kindle for about 5 years before reading it.

This is a collection of individual stories that all mesh together into one big (short) book. We start with Page, a barista with some bad luck when it comes to trip and fall hazards. Her luck, however, changes dramatically when a nurse, Nicolas, comes to her rescue. He gets her home safe and ends up asking her out. Page's love life rapidly becomes too crowded, however, when her ex-boyfriend and werewolf shows up trying to stake a claim on her. From there, Page's life starts to spiral further into the paranormal world.

Nicolas, the seemingly normal, nice guy turns out to be a vampire who (luckily) is able to get her a job away from her stalker ex. The only catch? It's also a paranormal coffee shop. These two love birds don't have it easy, and anyone who pairs up with them is destined to encounter some hard to explain phenomena, but Page and Nicolas do eventually get their HEA. While I'm not usually a fan of the shorter stories, this one had me hooked from the beginning. Something about Page and her wild ride through the paranormal world had me rapidly flipping pages. I wish there was more!

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Friday, December 29, 2017

Review: Preternatural: Stealing her Future / A Girl's Best Friend / Calming the Wolf

Preternatural: Stealing her Future / A Girl's Best Friend / Calming the Wolf Preternatural: Stealing her Future / A Girl's Best Friend / Calming the Wolf by Cara B. Connor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a very strange collection of stories. While it is called an erotic collection, sometimes it felt like the smut was very forced and out of place, almost an afterthought. Usually that doesn't bother me, but using phrases like "love juice" or "love stick" made these scenes seem almost like a joke.

The three stories really don't have anything to do with one another, but are grouped together in this collection. The first story is about a horrible man who is transformed into a dog to try to learn his lesson. Spoiler alert - he doesn't, but he still gets to have sex with the girl. Not sure what the takeaway is here but it kind of bothered me that the main character is a girl who is willing to accept whatever scraps he throws her way.

The second story is about a man who suffers with a werewolf curse. Rather than coming clean to his fiancee, he sneaks off to change undiscovered until she tracks him down. They break up and he suffers, then they somehow end up back together, then not, then they talk about becoming swingers? Very strange.

The last story was probably my favorite of the three. A female thief is tasked with stealing a chest from a rich recluse. While trying to steal the chest, she ends up caught up in an ancient love story involving reincarnation. I found that aspect more interesting than any of others.

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Review: Personal Demon

Personal Demon Personal Demon by Jacqueline Czel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This short read has the potential to be a really good paranormal romance. There's one thing that really bothered me all the way through, though - it needs a good run through a grammar and spelling program. I'm not sure if the author's primary language is not english or what really happened here, but there were often words out of order or missing entirely. Sometimes the wrong word was used in place of a similar one. It hurt my overall enjoyment of the book.

That being said, the story itself was not unlike your typical paranormal romance. I joined this series having not read book 1 in this series. I don't think that really impacted my overall enjoyment (see the first paragraph for my real issues). The world itself was interesting and unique, with a bit of a sci fi twist on the average otherworld-type story. Merle is a very serious scientist who also happens to be a demon. His brother's new mate runs a great bbq restaurant and one of the waitresses ends up catching both his and his inner demon's eye.

Turns out, demons don't really do the whole courtship thing. Instead, Merle ends up bonding Cally to him pretty quickly, relatively rescuing her from her life of poverty and protecting her from her potentially abusive ex. There's some smut, some evil trolls, and a HEA. If the author could just edit this book, it would inspire me to continue reading the series.

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Review: Mated To The Werewolf King

Mated To The Werewolf King Mated To The Werewolf King by Alena Des
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book had a lot of ups and downs, but read as some sort of epic paranormal romance with a fated mates twist. It was clearly setting up some side stories because we met *a lot* of characters along the way. I admit to having some trouble getting behind the main characters for the first half of the book, but by the end, I knew I had to find out what happened.

Belle is the daughter of werewolves who suddenly finds out that the demon lord is out to claim her. Oh, and she's adopted. The surprises just keep coming for her as she's abruptly kidnapped by the werewolf king (who is a jerk). Honestly, their relationship leaves a lot to be desired, but I usually find that with fated mates. Keith (the werewolf jerk) is pretty convinced that Belle is somehow bespelling him so they go on a journey to visit the witches. From there, things take some pretty disastrous turns (and dark turns, too - beware, torture ahead).

While Belle goes through her own drama, Keith eventually comes to grips with his being fated mate to Belle. There's prophecies, bad guys, political drama, girl drama, secret family members, people you think are dead who are not dead, and so much betrayal that I started to expect it at every turn. This was no short read - it took us on a full tour of most of the worlds, introduced us to most of the kings, and had some pretty big fight scenes. If you're looking for a deep dive into the world of "the kings," this is definitely for you. Certainly not a light read, you really have to push through to get your HEA reward at the end.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Review: The Wicked Vampire

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

These books just keep getting better and better! Each new installment becomes my new favorite and this was no exception.

This book was the story of yet another mismatched pair. In this case, we follow Sasha's Romeo/Juliet love story as she finds out a berserker is her mate. Ewan, said berserker, is the sworn enemy of vampires (as all berserkers are) but he's more concerned with saving up enough money to abandon his "master" and his go nowhere cause. In order to amass a small, illegal, secret fortune, he's had to put himself in cage matches to the death, using his formidable berserker strength to win. It's during one such match that these two star crossed lovers meet. I guess "meet" is a strong word for the dirty, wicked time they have with one another, but ultimately it's this time spent together that gets them both in trouble.

Sasha has been on a dangerous spiral since abandoning her post as head of security. With no responsibilities, she's been pushing the limits of what she can handle until fate throws her a curveball. At first glance, she knows that Ewan is her mate, but that doesn't mean that this feud between their species magically goes away. What starts as a secret love affair eventually ends up pitting both sides against one another in an even bigger way than before. While navigating all the secrets, people trying to kill them, and their own reluctance to admit their feelings, these two really grew into an awesome couple. If this is what we can expect as the next few vampires pair up, I'm eager for more!

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Review: Vampires in America: The Vignettes - Volume 2

Vampires in America: The Vignettes - Volume 2 Vampires in America: The Vignettes - Volume 2 by D.B. Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I always have a bit of a hard time reviewing short stories. Each story should probably get its own rating, but since I typically read them all in one sitting, it becomes hard to tell them all apart in the end. Overall, this was a nice addition to the Vampires in America books, but is definitely not critical to understanding what's going on with the characters in the main books. It was nice, however, to get to spend some additional time with these familiar characters.

In general, these stories are like little treats for the reader. Sure, you get maybe 10% of some sort of story but the rest is pure smutty goodness. Who doesn't want to go back into the bedroom with some of your favorite couples from the series? Seriously, if this would bother you, what are you doing reading this set of shorts? There's even a warning! That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed them all in their own way. All the down and dirty goodness was a nice departure from reading something more dark and serious. What better to read as a reward during the holidays? Check these out!

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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Review: Endless Chase

Endless Chase Endless Chase by N.J. Walters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This last (?) book in the Dalakis Passion series is definitely my new favorite. Chase is a character that has been at the peripheral for a while and definitely deserved his own love story. I'm really glad that he finally got the mate he deserves. While I've read the rest of the series, since this book occurs some years after the original set, it can probably read as a standalone as well.

We don't start the book with our familiar Chase, instead starting with a mysterious newcomer. Katya is a woman willing to do anything to avenge her murdered parents. We get an inkling that she may be more plugged in to the supernatural world than we know, but one this is for sure - she's trying to endear herself to the leader of some "vampire hunter" group, she's well trained, and she's trying to find a way into the Dalakis castle. All of this spells trouble when she and Chase have a chance encounter in the woods that leaves them both more involved than they'd like.

Chase has grown up a lot since we last saw him. He's now an established artist, traveling and showing his work as needed, visiting family, and hiding the fact that he's been suffering from headaches that are getting progressively worse. In an effort to escape his problems, he has been wandering the woods looking for inspiration. It's there that he meets and falls head over heels for Katya. No, these two do not have it easy - and who would want to explain all these secrets away to a bunch of intimidating and overprotective vampires? Throw in some action, more secrets, more reveals, and even hotter scenes in the bedroom (or as close to the bedroom as these two get) and you've got a really fantastic read. If you've never checked this series out before, here is a great intro. If you've read all the other books, you will be very happy with the way Chase's story gets done.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Review: Bittersweet Christmas

Bittersweet Christmas Bittersweet Christmas by Nina Croft
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an adorable and quirky (and smutty) Christmas short story! I really enjoy the order books, but if you haven’t read the series, you can probably still enjoy this short little gem.

Winter, Father Christmas’s half-pixie daughter, intercepts a letter written to him from a lonely orphan. Said orphan is related to none other than John Ryan, the order’s newest vampire-werewolf hybrid. He’s been in lock down since joining the order, so he hasn’t seen his nephew in years, but he’s somehow convinced himself that it’s for his own protection. Liam (the orphan) doesn’t see it that way, which prompts his letter.

John Ryan is still coming to grips with his newfound freakdom, and with that comes the incessant company in the form of a babysitter. Sure, it protects the innocents from him freaking out and killing everyone, but it is driving him insane. Winter ends up breaking into his room one morning to surprise him as his new self-described babysitter. These two have some serious chemistry and an adorable way about them. I’m always one for the weirdo pairings and this is definitely strange. Who would’ve thought that a werewolf-vampire would meet his match in a pixie-ish goth chick?

Obviously, this wouldn’t be a good holiday story without a happy ending, so we get one of those. We also get a nice cherry on top in the form of a Winter/Ryan romance. What’s not to like?

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Review: Under a Vampire Moon

Under a Vampire Moon Under a Vampire Moon by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This far into the series, I think you’d be hard-pressed to just jump right in. At this point there are just so many characters, their mates, history, and events that all usually point towards the content of the next book. This book, however, was really a road trip-like book, where a subset of the familiar characters are all on vacation together, giving you a new look at everyone and not much to catch up on. There wasn’t even really some big build up to bad guy activities that you needed backstory on. Yes, I know how everyone they mention got together, but I think you’d be able to muddle through without it.

The pacing in this book was a little strange. We spend a lot of time watching Christian, an immortal of the Argeneau family, pine for Carolyn, a lonely soon-to-be-divorced human, while pretending to be gay. That about sums it up, really, with the very small twist thrown in just at the end to give some motivation to a character.

I guess I can’t fault the amount of smut and romantic intentions, it just felt rushed towards the end when we finally got some honesty in the air. I enjoyed Carolyn as a character. I liked Christian building a relationship with his mom at the same time as with Carolyn. I guess it was just a little heavy on the pretending to be gay storyline. I also feel a little bad for Jack.

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Review: Murder on the Sugarland Express

Murder on the Sugarland Express Murder on the Sugarland Express by Angie Fox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was another fun murder mystery! I think that even if you’ve never read a book in the series, you’d enjoy this fun, quick read.

We join Verity as she continues to navigate small town life, while dating her ex-fiancĂ©’s brother. After a particularly stressful stretch of drama, they decide to go on a historical and romantic vacation. Who wouldn’t love a trip on a renovated luxury train? Well, there is also the small matter of Verity’s newly coupled ghost, Frankie, wanting to tag along with his girlfriend. Oh, and the small matter of an ominous warning from a ghostly conductor of the previously destroyed train. Verity just can’t seem to catch a break and go on a real vacation.

Of course, Verity is not one to let things go. She can’t just go on vacation without something horrible happening, and in this case it’s a murder. Much like the game of clue, Verity and her boyfriend are forced to detective out “whodunit” before the ghost train crashes once again. I admit, I didn’t solve the mystery before Verity did, so I guess that means it was truly a challenging mystery. I love these books, all the wonderful characters, and this book was a great addition to the series.

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Monday, December 18, 2017

Review: Lure of Oblivion

Lure of Oblivion Lure of Oblivion by Suzanne Wright
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I freely admit to jumping in and out of this and the parallel series from this author. While I’ve enjoyed each one I’ve read, I always spend a little time “catching up” on what I’ve missed. This book was no different. I’m sure they would probably be better enjoyed in order, or by binge reading them all at once, but that’s just not the way I’ve been doing it myself, so my review may reflect that.

Gwen is a tough human being. It was a nice departure to find a human who so readily stands up for the shifters, even if they start out as strangers to her. One such stranger, a woman getting beaten nearly to death, ends up being rescued by Gwen. The person assaulting the shifter woman turned out to be a member of a very “connected” family in town. This doesn’t stop Gwen from reaching out to the shifter council to report the matter, especially when it becomes apparent that the town sheriff doesn’t view the victim as worth his time.

Zander winds up in Gwen’s B&B to attend the reading of his uncle’s will. Through a twist of fate, he’s able to step in and help her stand up for herself (and the wounded shifter woman), though I am not sure she needs him as much as he wanted to be needed. These two are prickly and awesome to watch build a relationship. What starts as a sizzling fling quickly grows to something so much more. With all the drama in town, it’s easy for Zander to make excuses to stick around even longer. From there, things explode in more ways than one.

As always, this made a great addition to the series and brought back many familiar faces. Gwen and Zander are a welcome addition to the mated couples in the group. I’m eager to see a big showdown that gets the group some progress in the larger storyline of the extremists and the movement. Maybe next time? I’m hopeful!

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Friday, December 15, 2017

Review: Deadly Sweet

Deadly Sweet Deadly Sweet by Lola Dodge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was filled with awesomeness – yummy baking, action galore, and a journey of self-discovery for the very awesome Anise.

Anise is a girl who has been barely scraping by. Her life living with her mother is good, but they are both struggling to make ends meet. To make matters worse, they live in a world where being discovered as a witch instantly marks you as “evil.” Sure, there are some bad witches out there, but most aren’t what they’re portrayed to be by the media. Throw all that in with Anise trying to get ahead in the baking industry while battling her teenage hormones and you’ve got a pressure cooker ready to explode (or oven? Is that more relevant here?).

One event ends up outing Anise and sending her running to her only other relative for help. Lucky for her, her great aunt Agatha happens to be a super powerful witch and massively successful baker. While this seems like a great place to make a new start, there are additional dangers lurking for poor Anise. With great power (or baking prowess) comes great… list of people gunning for her. Turns out, by becoming Agatha’s apprentice, she’s inherited the last apprentice’s enemies.

So while Anise is trying to figure out how to please the more experienced bakers in the store, she’s also trying to make friends, avoid getting killed, and figure out why her assigned bodyguard is so surly. This book definitely leaned more heavily towards a paranormal mystery than romance, which is a bit of a departure for me. That being said, I still really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to see where Anise heads next. I also want way more answers about… everything! I’ll definitely keep my eyes open for the next installment.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Review: The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories

The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not usually a short story reader, but I really enjoyed the Sookie Stackhouse universe so was willing to take a risk. I’ve read a few other collections of the short stories from Sookie’s world and wasn’t disappointed. This was a good set that took you back to a familiar world. Obviously, I wouldn’t recommend this as a starter set for this series.

I don’t think I’m going to review each story individually, since you wouldn’t pick this up to just read one or two. Overall, going back to where the series began(-ish) was nice. I admit to not really enjoying the end of the series, but seeing Sookie as an optimist, still working on discovering the details of the supernatural world was a nice reminder of how wonderful it could all be. You can really see the change in her character as time progresses in these stories.

Overall, some of my favorites were the ones where Sookie gets to use her powers for good. Two Blondes was fun – but Pam is always fun to go on adventures with. Dracula Night also showed Sookie flexing her human muscles. Lastly, Playing Possum gives you a really nice look into the dynamic Sookie and her only other telepathic relative have. That one was particularly fun to read as you almost never get to see them on their own. There was a lot of dark thrown into the story, but it was all worth it for a happy ending. If you enjoyed the series at all, you’ll like these little stories, too. Definitely a nice addition to the world.

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Review: Magic Binds

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

I’m so sad to have finally caught up to the most recently released book in this series. I could easily read another 10 of these books and never get tired of the Kate and Curran show.

This book was pretty much all the build up to the showdown we’ve been waiting for since the start of the series. No, this isn’t where it ends. No, you don’t get everything tied up in a neat bow. But, yes, there is a lot of life and death danger thrown into one book. Just about everyone gets thrown into this mess, with the exception of the dog. We finally get the much needed Saiman in good Saiman fashion. I’m not really even sure where to begin except with the looming danger. Sure, it’s always there, but in this case the witch oracle has predicted almost certain death for Kate, her future imaginary kid, and/or Curran. Everyone could die, but what else is new?

In an effort to change the future (i.e. Back to the Future style), Kate tries to make some pretty terrifying choices to go outside what’s expected. This leads us back to some pretty terrible places, tests Curran and Kate’s relationship, and leads to some pretty surreal family discussions. Kate is still really powerful (scarily so) and after her dad kidnaps Saiman, it’s pretty clear that war is on the horizon. This book managed to make me almost… sympathetic to Kate’s dad. Yes, he’s really evil. Yes, I know I shouldn’t like him, but somehow the author tricked me into it!

The book ends pretty much how you would expect it to end (you know, since this isn’t the last book in the series), but I spent a lot of time waiting for some really horrible things to happen. With that in mind, it was almost… disappointing (?) that not that many people died. Is that horrible? This book series has messed with my expectations.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Review: Dangerously Dark

Dangerously Dark Dangerously Dark by C.J. Burright
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just dove right into this series at book 3 and was blown away! Immediately upon finishing this book, I added the rest of the books in the series to me “to-read” list. This world was just filled with so much quirky goodness – how could I not? I want to know each and every story leading up to this one!

So, this story was Quinn’s tale. She’s always known she was different, plagued with nightmares and infatuated with a boy who once protected her in her dreams. That might sound strange to anyone but Quinn, but it’s her world and her life that is shaped around these beliefs. On one of her “alone time” vacations in a secluded cabin, she gets the strangest visitor – a grown-up version of the boy from her dreams. Yes, he tries to kill her. Yes, he’s covered in blood. No, that doesn’t stop her at all from cleaning him up and giving him shelter. She’s not completely an idiot so there are restraints involved, but Quinn trusts her very strange gut and it doesn’t lead her astray.

Zaire is a member of a divided race. There’s the good-ish guys and the bad guys and while he seems like the type of guy who should be wearing a white-ish hat, the kidnapping of his only living relative has had him working for the baddies for a little while now. Some decisions he made when he was spending time with his young nephew are coming back to bite him now, though. It seems that creatures who survive off other people’s nightmares shouldn’t starve themselves. The consequences essentially give him a death sentence unless there is a miracle out there. Said miracle exists in the form of Quinn, his matched dreamcaster.

These two lit up the pages with their stubborn, frustrating, sexual chemistry. While Quinn appears more than willing to take the plunge, Zaire is very busy playing the martyr. There is a lot of action and some truly strange visitors that end up changing their minds in the end. We get a really great HEA that just made me love this book even more. As I said, I’m going to quickly dive back into the previous books to see what wonderful tales I missed along the way.

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Review: Enchant

Enchant Enchant by Micalea Smeltzer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Usually I don’t give 5 stars (especially not more than once a month) but this book absolutely had me hooked. From page 1, I was in love. This just goes to show you – you never know what to expect when you open a new book.

Mara is a small town girl, raised by a single parent, and plagued by nightmares. Her mother died early in her life, so she’s pretty much just relied on herself and her father to get along. On the day of her graduation, some seemingly innocent decisions end up sending her into a fugitive scenario. She’s on the run from the magical baddies, but it could be worse. At least she’s matched up with her hottie protector who vacillates between super annoying and super flirtatious (or are they the same thing?).

Theodore (said hottie) is a guy who is sworn to protect Mara, the chosen, with his dying breath. Things get infinitely more complicated when it appears that everyone might be out to get them and they are trying really hard not to act on the forbidden feelings they have for one another. While trying to navigate the high school-like environment, there are dangers and drama hidden around every corner.

This book was jam packed with world building that had me absolutely absorbed. There’s magic, love triangles, BFFs, dances, and such a wonderful wealth of characters. Starting with Dani, Mara’s small town friend, and moving all the way to Winston, a fellow chosen, there are just so many side stories I want to know more about. While this book didn’t exactly end on the worst cliffhanger ever, I am still dying to know what happens next. Where will the next book pick up? Who will we meet then? Will old characters resurface? So many questions! I’m in love with this book (and hopefully a long and wonderful series) and cannot wait to continue reading.

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Review: Animal Instincts

Animal InstinctsAnimal Instincts by Patricia Rosemoor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book was a really unique paranormal read. It felt like we dove into the second or third installment in a series because of the rather developed characters and story. We hit the ground running, meeting Skye and Shade, a pair of twins with interesting telepathic abilities. Shade, a cop, has a skill more geared towards police work, while Skye is able to communicate with animals. After breaking up some illegal animal fighting, Skye bumps into Luc, a stranger who has an inexplicable control over some wild animals.

Luc is a conflicted half breed who is straddling the human and "kindred" world. In this book, the word kindred refers to a group of demon-like creatures who can shapeshift. This book was filled with a really unique mythology and a mystery that had me guessing until the very end. The romance was nicely paced, as opposed to your typical love at first sight stories. It was heavier on the romance and mystery and light on the smut (although there was some). This was a great stand alone book to introduce yourself to this author.

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Review: Hunter Moon

Hunter Moon Hunter Moon by Joanne Mallory
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story is one of romance, action, and oodles of magic. I admit to not really remembering the first book in this series until the author refreshed my memory a bit. For that reason alone, I think this book can be read as a standalone without starting with book 1 of this trilogy. That being said, I really enjoyed the first book in the series, so I will always recommend starting from the beginning.

Jessica is the sister of our friend from the first book. We join her in a somewhat parallel timeline to that of Book 1, with bits of insight along the way. She’s busy at work, attending fundraisers and setting up museum showings (a task her magic makes her uniquely qualified for) when she meets Sebastian. Sebastian is a new hire in her department who is not “in the know” about their magic world. He is also sinfully attracted to Jess. They hit it off exceedingly well but that’s about when Jess’s brother calls her away on family duties.

After taking a brief break in their courtship, they resume with even bigger sparks when she returns. Oh, and there’s also vampires and demons out to get them. That makes it a little hard to hide things from Seb and Jess is forced into some sticky situations. Overall, this book was a really fantastic and quick read (things that don’t often go together) that gave me enough of this world to have me clamoring for the next book. I can’t wait until the grumpy brother meets his match!

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Review: Magic Stars

Magic Stars Magic Stars by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This short story stars one of my favorite side characters, Derek, in his new role as essentially the enforcer of Kate’s city. Julie, who has named herself Kate’s herald, joins Derek as he hunts for some awful child murderers.

Derek is far from the optimistic, smiling young man we met in the beginning of the series. He’s got battle scars, both internal and external, and we all know that Julie is in love with him. I think he knows it too, but he feels she is too young to act upon it. For that reason, he keeps a firm wall in place (at least on the outside) when they interact or get too friendly. This story, however, throws them at one another in a battle situation that casts a little light on his feelings (and her feelings, too).

Overall, as a story, it had a little bit too much dark and rough action thrown together and not enough of the lighter character interactions. Maybe that’s how Derek’s story needs to be told, but I found myself spacing out a little bit while reading it. There also wasn’t a real reason to read this story, other than confirming some of Kate’s suspicions with Julie. Having already started the next book in the series, you can pretty much skip this one, unless you want to see what goes on in Derek’s head.

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Review: Hard Breaker

Hard Breaker Hard Breaker by Christine Warren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This last book (?) in the gargoyle series certainly ties up all the loose ends nicely. If you’re joining this story at its conclusion (maybe), you should really dive back in where it all began.

This book joins the guild in a rather unique way. Rather than starting with all the knowledge afforded to other participants, Ivy was thrust into the role of rescuer after her family was murdered. Her gift gave her a front row seat to the horrors that the bad guys can inflict, and that drove her to train to become a sort of witness protection program to wardens who want to be saved. It’s during one of these operations that things go wildly wrong. While under attack and getting ready to put up one hell of a fight, a Guardian suddenly awakes to save her.

Ivy might not know what’s going on, but Baen has the benefit of the shared memories of his brothers (and sister). She doesn’t even know the story of the maidens, which plays such a vital role in the subsequent events. Baen, however, is quick to realize that the woman who woke him is his mate. Sure, she might resist him, but fate certainly has other plans. The sizzling chemistry between them is no different from the other couples we’ve met along the way. Ivy is hesitant, however, to let down her guard where it counts. She can’t seem to wrap her brain around the fact that she might be in a relationship with a Guardian.

While the series has been building up this battle against the bad guys (which I guess they seem to be losing), the big battle scene really sneaks up on you. We were in the last little bit of the book before the battle even started, making it feel a little rushed to resolution. I hope there are more books set in this world, but they definitely did a good job in making sure everyone is in a good place for an ending.

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Review: Magic Shifts

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

I admit, I was a little worried what would happen when Kate and Curran settle down. I obviously shouldn’t have been worried because, if anything, I like them even more. What seems like a “retirement” of sorts is actually just the turning of another page in the Kate Daniels saga.

Sure, they don’t live with the pack any more, but that doesn’t stop the pack from coming to them. In the time of their split, all the pack members were given a choice about who they choose (like a divorce). While this is still settling down, there is another mystery afoot – where did Eduardo go? He has been missing and the obvious choice of follow-up would be the leader of clan heavy, however, it seems that George and Eduardo having a secret relationship might have stirred the pot a bit too much.

Some highlights of this book involved Roland (I know, I’m falling for his games). There are some truly surreal moments in Kate’s life, but her trying to find her footing with her father is certainly the top of the list. We spent a lot of time in her head (due to some of her catastrophic choices) and it has led me to love her even more. Her power, also, seems to be evolving in new and interesting ways that can lead to even more surprises moving forward.

As usual, Kate’s life is never very straightforward. What starts as a missing person case ends up leading to a whole mess of supernatural drama that somehow draws Kate and Curran to consider taking over the Guild as payment for Curran’s tied up pack holdings. With that looming after the close of this book (along with other prediction-related cliffhangers) I cannot wait for more. It looks like there is a short story put between this book and the next, but I’m terrified because that means I’ll have to wait for more Kate! Please give me more of this world!

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Review: Not Broken Anymore

Not Broken Anymore Not Broken Anymore by Tawdra Kandle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love these perfectly imperfect love stories! Each one has their own unique spin on a very real-life romance. This author has a fantastic ability to build a world that immediately sucks me in, no matter that I’m a marching band kid who doesn’t know much about football.

We met Tate a while ago as a side character in the Leo/Quinn drama. While that was playing out, there was a silent romance starting between Tate and Gia. Who knew that these two would wind up in a story of their own? Tate is the most honest, well mannered, wonderfully perfect love interest we’ve met in this world. He is patient, caring, and a really good listener. That served him well, helping along the more tragically broken relationships, and is serving him even better as he waits patiently for Gia to be ready for him.

These two might have met and been attracted to each other years ago, but Gia had a long road to take before she could be somewhat ready for a true Tate/Gia relationship. Whereas Tate seems to have a real plan for his life, Gia has been bouncing around from one place to another, always carrying around the tragedy that is Matt Lambert. If anyone can force her to face her demons, though, it is definitely Tate. Their romance is so natural and realistic that I found myself recalling fondly my own times spent hanging out and watching TV with friends growing up. I was just as sucked in by Tate as Gia was by the time they finally acted on their attraction.

Of course, this story is not all flowers and puppies. There is a definitely darker edge to Gia’s time with Matt that is always lurking. Tate, however, is not one to give up when the going gets tough. I think you’ll be happy with this tale of romance and patience, and even if you’ve never read another book in the series, it is worth checking out.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Review: Cloaked in Sorcery

Cloaked in Sorcery Cloaked in Sorcery by T.F. Walsh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I haven’t really read any other books in this world, so this was my first introduction to all of these characters. That being said, this novella was a good intro to the magical world of witches and shifters.

Kalin, a member of the local shifter pack, is doing her duty, trying to earn some money to support the pack by playing fortune teller at a local party. Seems innocent enough, but the party ends up going horribly wrong. Axe, a double-agent of sorts in the Russian pack, ends up at the party with a witch to follow his alpha’s plan. He’s supposed to have the witch lower everyone’s inhibitions and get the owner to sell his land to them. This would give them the foothold they need to start taking over Kalin’s pack’s territory.

Axe, of course, is straddling a very dangerous line. He wants to not allow his alpha’s reign to continue, but also wants to show loyalty enough to continue gathering information. His life gets a lot more complicated when his wolf recognizes his mate in the form of a rival clan wolf, Kalin.

These two had some very sexy times even before realizing they are fated mates. The romance may have been a little rushed, but what can you expect from a magically drunk party? There’s action, mystery, and even some death thrown in to keep the plot going. While we don’t get a very complex story, you get a really great introduction to this world. I’d like to see more.

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Review: Eternal Brothers

Eternal Brothers Eternal Brothers by N.J. Walters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having read the other books in this series, I really wasn’t sure where the series would go after we matched up the last brother to his mate. I shouldn’t have worried, because this naturally progresses the world and kept me completely engaged.

This book was like two in one – the first story revolving around Zane York and the second around Cassidy (one of the few remaining humans in their world). Zane was bit of a mystery in the beginning. I wasn’t sure how he really fit into their world, but I was sure how he fit into Sophia’s. Sophia was a new introduction by way of her stumbling upon a crime scene while following a reporter tip. She and Zane smash into each other, trying to fight this instant attraction while also let go of some walls they’ve both built up. Oh, and there’s the whole vampire thing. Aside from their romantic storyline, there’s also a murder mystery to solve that includes the Dalakis brothers.

Cassidy enters the story as an investigator into threats against the Dalakis brother, his well-paying clients. While looking into leads, he ends up meeting his own match in the form of a stubborn and tough as nails woman who fell in with the wrong crowd. She fights and pushes against him but he is a patient man and used his non-vampire charm to try to win her over. The two relationships ended up playing off of one another nicely and I was happy to see the humans get a story to match the vampires. All in all, this was a good shift in this series and I look forward to even more.

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Review: Revelation

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

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

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

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

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Review: Master of Magic

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

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

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

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

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Review: Alpha's Prize

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

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

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

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

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Review: Magic Breaks

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Review: Magic Steals

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

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

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

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

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Review: An Ill-Advised Rescue

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

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

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Review: The Road to Helltown

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Review: Magic Rises

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

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

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

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

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

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Review: Enthrall Me

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

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

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

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

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

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Review: Relentless

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

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

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

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Review: Wolf in her Soul

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

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

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

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

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Review: Levi

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

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

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

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

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Review: Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas

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

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

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

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

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Review: Drop Dead Gorgeous

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

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

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

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

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