Thursday, August 31, 2017

Review: The Darkest Promise

The Darkest Promise The Darkest Promise by Gena Showalter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a long time coming. We’ve watched Cameo suffer with her demon, Misery, for a while now. At first I thought that she was going to end up with her fellow warriors, but this story with Lazarus has been building for a little bit.

We join Cameo as she tumbled (literally) into Lazarus’s realm. She knows that they’ve met before, but the demon had previously removed any memory of him from her mind. This world, coupled with her own demon-based suffering, ends up making it a little difficult from her to find Lazarus without any bloodshed. Wounding one of Lazarus’s pets, though, seems to accomplish everything she needed. With a weird cat-thing in tow, she ends up being confronted by the man she most desired (re) meeting.

Lazarus doesn’t actually realize the extent of Cameo’s memory loss, but that doesn’t really slow him down much. These two are absolutely the perfect pair. His sarcasm and wit had me wishing for more Lazarus-centric scenes. Even with some truly terrible and martyr-rific decisions on both sides, I really enjoyed watching the romance between these two.

As usual, there are also a number of side stories, but none were actually distracting. We’ve met the woman in the mirror who will somehow tie to Hades in future installments (probably). We’ve also got more Hera information that will probably come in handy, a new cat-thing friend (maybe), and a huge step forward in the Pandora box situation. All in all, this was a really productive book, with another lord paired off successfully.

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Review: Masked Possession

Masked Possession Masked Possession by Alana Delacroix
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow – this book was something completely unique! After reading boatloads of paranormal romance, it takes a lot to make a book something truly special and unique. This world certainly does that and more.

Caro is a woman who is hiding from her past. She used to be a tenacious reporter, outing the big bads of the world until she got caught (and stabbed). Oh, and to make matters worse, she’s also a paranormal who has some serious issues about using her abilities. Sure, she’s working in a paranormal publicist office in her “new life,” but that keeps her busy and lets her continue to hide out. Her entire world changes when a Masquerada walks into her office, looking to kill off his masks.

Masquerada were definitely a bit of a change from your typical paranormals. They can change their body and face to take on a “mask.” Depending on the level of skill, the person can take on one or many of varying difficulty or changes from their original form. Eric, the leader of this race of paranormals has recently discovered he’s having trouble taking on a mask, as is common for people who maintain too many for too long a time.

When taking on the task of removing his masks from the world, he immediately finds himself distractedly smitten with Caro. He knows that he shouldn’t fall for someone who is not a Masquerada, but he can’t help himself. Luckily for them both, they are perfectly suited. She helps him look outside his world and he helps her embrace his (and hers). There’s a little bit of something for everyone in this book – mystery, action, romance, smutty goodness. It was certainly an excellent introduction to this world and I found myself captivated by the newness of it all.

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Review: Magic Dreams

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

These little books in between the main novels are such fun to read! I like getting a change-up from the POV of Kate and they never cease to give oodles additional details that may or may not be necessary.

This story is told from Dali’s POV and, oh boy, you can kind of anticipate how awesome that was. She’s a vegetarian, half-blind, white tiger shifter who has an insane amount of arcane knowledge in her head. She’s also, obviously, in love with Jim. We’ve watched them dance around each other for a little while now and I have been dying to see that get resolved (in a good way). Dali comes back from a bit of a failed drag race (or something) to discover Jim asleep in her bedroom in a totally not good way. Turns out, there has been a magical attack on one of Jim’s buildings and he needs someone to escort him back because he… doesn’t remember.

Of course, it’s some really obscure bit of magic that has begun attacking the cat shifter base. Without going into too many details, the most important part is that this bit of trauma ends up pushing Dali and Jim to face their attraction! Yay for everyone! This book is definitely an essential companion to the main series. A must read!

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Review: Curran POV Collection

Curran POV Collection Curran POV Collection by Gordon Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This collection of stories was a great companion to the first few books of the series. I tried to read them after each book, or soon after, but often just plowed through a few at one time. Who doesn’t want to know what Curran is thinking along the way?

Some highlights definitely came from the POVs before you know where things are headed. Getting some insight into what he knows and when he knows it was also appreciated. I’m absolutely in love with Curran and Kate and will continue to devour everything that I get from their world. I would read 100 of these companion sets of POVs.

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Review: The Vampire Next Door

The Vampire Next Door The Vampire Next Door by Marilyn Baron
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Full disclosure: I did not read any of the 3 previous books (nor did I realize they existed) before diving in to this book. While rated a 3 stars, it was probably closer to 2.5 using my rating scale. I had trouble finishing this one.

I originally picked this book up because I thought it sounded like something I’d be in to – a paranormally gifted girl ends up drawn to the vampire boy next door. The boy next door, however, has a whole heck of a lot of baggage with him. He’s not your typical love interest and has, in fact, been involved in the rape and murder of a few members of the girl next door’s family. Somehow, they are able to look beyond all this to find… romance? There’s an arranged wedding fast approaching, some scheming vampires lurking, and a family of psychics who can’t seem to keep their daughter away from a literal murderer.

The book itself reads almost like a historical romance, which may be why I had some issues getting through it all. I tend to prefer contemporary paranormal romance. That aside, I would have probably benefited from having some connection to the rest of Aurora Dawn’s family, who play key roles in this book. If you are interested in this tale, I would recommend you start from the beginning, and hope that you enjoy.

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Review: Alpha's Temptation

Alpha's Temptation Alpha's Temptation by Renee Rose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was sizzling and sexy with lots of alpha goodness thrown in. If you’re interested in some hot paranormal action, this is definitely the book for you.

Kylie is a reformed hacker who has been recruited for her dream job – working for a billionaire genius coder. Through an unfortunate series of events, she ends up trapped in an elevator, talking rather candidly about the owner to… none other than the owner. Despite her sarcasm and wit (or maybe because of it), she finds herself getting offered the job. This job ends up being worse for her health than hacking ever was. She’s bounced between a hot and cold relationship with the boss, a blackmailer who threatens her grandmother, and some pretty creepy coworkers. I give her an A+ for holding it all together as long as she does.

Jackson, the aforementioned owner of the company, is immediately smitten with Kylie, and his inner wolf is, too. Sure, he’s supposed to stay away from humans and is also determined to remain a pack of two. Kylie, however, seems to be his new obsession. No matter how many things indicate he should just stay away, he keeps getting drawn back to her side. These two have some serious sizzle that lights up the pages. We not only get a HEA, but we also get some good romance along the way. I was sad to see this one end.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Review: Convergence

Convergence Convergence by J.R. Rain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow – what an intro to a huge new world! We’ve got paranormals, MIB, giant bird things, and so much I can’t even wrap my head around. This was definitely a deep dive into the world of magic and mayhem.

Solstice is a reporter for a paranormal paper. It would be pretty strange if she hadn’t grown up around magic. In this world, when normal are confronted with magic they easily rationalize it all away. Some people, however, are more open to seeing it. All of that changes when “the convergence” happens, putting a whole mess of magical beings front and center for all the world to see.

There’s a bunch of madness, kidnapping, magic, and maybe even some romance jammed into this introduction to Solstice’s world. The larger story has to do with nothing big, just saving the world (and herself) from some dark forces. I’m sure that this will end up being a much larger story in the books to come, but this was definitely a satisfying start.

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Review: Falling For His Mate

Falling For His Mate Falling For His Mate by Savannah Stuart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This short but sexy/sweet read gave a nice intro to this series without the full commitment of a novel. There was romance, drama, action, and sexy shifters all rolled into a quick read.

Andrew ran away from his mate at some previous point in time. We join him as he is trying to make amends. Sure, he could have probably called, begged, or otherwise warned Charlie that he was coming to win her back. Instead, he jumps at a paranormal exchange program-type opportunity and ends up stationed at her door. Okay, not really stationed, more like tasked with helping out at her salon. You know, the salon that he missed the opening of because he was a coward.

Charlie is still feeling the effects of Andrew’s dismissal and doesn’t exactly welcome him with open arms. She is definitely going to make him work for it, even if they are true mates. Even if you can guess where things end up, it was still a sweet and sexy read to fill a nice afternoon.

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Review: His Command

His Command His Command by Sophie H. Morgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Holy moly – this book was amazing! It had everything I wanted and more! It throws you into a world where genies are real and the sizzle is off-the-charts! I immediately went back and added book 1 to my wish list, sad to have missed it the first time around. Give me more from this world and I’ll be a happy girl!

Hailey is an uptight workaholic who recently got dumped. In an effort to ignore her loneliness, she dives even further into her work. That seems like a solid plan until she gets tasked with planning her ex’s wedding as a way to get a promotion. Along the way, however, she finds herself being rescued by a genie. Through some awkward work meetings, he somehow ends up posing as her boyfriend and that’s just the beginning.

These two are absolutely perfect. There’s not a single thing I would change about their awkward and unique romance. I found it incredibly difficult to put this book down from start to finish and found myself staying up well past bedtime to finish. I would love more from this world and will definitely swing back around to start at book 1!

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Review: Cashing Out: An Urban Fantasy Thriller

Cashing Out: An Urban Fantasy Thriller Cashing Out: An Urban Fantasy Thriller by SM Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books continue to surprise me and somehow I’m rooting for Dana like she’s some big hero. Shocking, right? There’s no real and true heroes in this world, but Dana might be pretty close now.

We join her after Nissa’s betrayal, I guess? It’s a little murky where everyone stands on the side of good and evil (as usual), but she definitely made the surprise decision to change the game at the end of the last book. This book definitely makes some big steps towards a conclusion. We get to see some very familiar faces (from another series), there’s some conclusion to Dana’s trip into vamp-ville, and, yes, there’s some really sad things that happen.

Dana’s journey is just as gritty, gruesome, and action-packed as you would expect. There’s really no easy choices for her throughout this book and I have no idea how she muddled through. While she’s suffering with her “life,” Nissa is coming to grips with the revelation that Dana presented. I guess there is a limit to how sorry you can feel for a psycho like Nissa, but she is sort-of the perpetual victim in this tale. It’s pretty hard to summarize and review without giving the game away, but I left this book relatively satisfied, if not sad for some endings. It read very much like a last book in the series, but I’m sure there’s more coming. Where will Dana go from here? I’m dying to know!

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Review: Magic Bleeds

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

OK, consider me completely addicted to these stories now. I definitely recommend starting from the beginning of this series, but no matter how you get here – enjoy!

This book is a little bit of a shakeup for a lot of things. While the previous books have been steadily building to this, I was still a little shocked. We join Kate, still working for the Order, still hiding her link to a big bad, still warring with Curran over their mutual attraction, but somehow making it all work (kind of). All of that gets thrown out of whack when a mysterious big bad rolls into town with plagues and the ability to turn shifters wild. Obviously Kate gets the call (while still moping about Curran) and that puts her firmly as a target for this evil doer.

Yes, Kate once again sustains an insane amount of physical and magical damage during the entirety of the book. It’s becoming a bit predictable in that sense. I know she will inevitably be horribly injured yet push through. In this case, it felt a little more… real. She genuinely has to deal with her human shortcomings (sometimes). While this book primarily focuses on Kate’s past, there is also a lot to do with Kate setting up what her future might look like. Sure, there’s some romantic interests thrown in for good measure (which I always enjoy), but it also has to do with how long she can balance what she wants to do with her life and what the Order wants from her.

All of these things mash together in lots of blood, some kissing, and another really great ending. This author certainly knows how to keep you coming back for more without actually making you stabby with cliffhangers.

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Review: Ride the Storm

Ride the Storm Ride the Storm by Karen Chance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t even know where to begin. First, if this is where you are thinking of beginning your journey with Cassie, STOP! Go back to the beginning, because we just dive right in with the first page and don’t look back.

These books are jam-packed with non-stop-action. Usually when I say that, there are still nice quiet scenes that don’t end in mayhem and destruction but that’s really not true with this book. It goes from one urgent emergency where things go crazy to another exploding mess of a battle scene without letting you decompress at all. I was torn between never wanting to put the book down and drowning in anxiety while reading. Cassie’s life is certainly not easy. While she doesn’t sustain life threatening injury as much as your Dresden or female equivalent, her exhaustion from power exertion is certainly on par. So, ultimately if you can through the mayhem and enjoy watching Cassie stumble through her duties, you will obviously pick this book up.

So, what’s the story? Gah, so much. Cassie and Rosier are still trying to catch and put back Pritkin’s soul with a counter curse which means much insanity of the old world style. It is pretty much exactly what you’d expect when an incredibly magical person and head ruler incubus demon guy team up. Just for good measure, though, Cassie doesn’t just have that to worry about. There’s also her relationship drama with Mircea coming back to bite her (and him). Who is the woman she found? Who’s trying to attack the vampires? How are they going to get into faerie? All of this is still crawling by while Cassie time jumps to other drama-filled worlds.

Some good we get out of this? There’s a conclusion to the counter curse storyline. That’s pretty much the only conclusion we get out of this book, even though it was pretty lengthy. That doesn’t mean we didn’t progress things along. There’s still big bad gods out there, but there’s also people fighting them. There’s still a lot of sizzle between Cassie and Pritkin, but don’t expect this book to be filled with romance. There’s even more revelations about Cassie’s past and Mircea’s secrets, but I’m sure we’ll still get more in future books. So while I love living in this world, the ending left me a little stabby about the lack of wrap up. That won’t give me any ounce of hesitation about reading the next one, though.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Review: The Lost Vampire

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

This book was everything I wanted from a book about the broody and (maybe) crazy Saeed. I started the story unsure of how I felt about that particular character but he ended up being a pretty good guy.

When we last saw Saeed, he was going insane, falling into the Collective, and determined to find the mystery woman he was convinced was his mate. Having only seen her in the visions from the Collective, he obviously had nowhere to start looking. That was remedied by the helpful young seer, and off he went. He abandoned everything he cared about (some with pretty hurt feelings) and began his chase.

Cerys is an enslaved fae who has the deadly power to steal someone’s soul. The power isn’t infinite, and she convinced that any time now might be her last. The mage that owns her has little regard for her safety and keeps her on a short leash. It is through this connection that the two soul mates finally meet. It isn’t really with sparks and fireworks, since they are both missing their souls, but instead tests both their faith in the tether.

The other larger story revolves around the hunt for a dhampir who began the berserker’s downward spiral. All of our favorite side characters make an appearance, slowly progressing things to their inevitable conclusion (hopefully soon in the upcoming books). I’m completely addicted to this story and each of the unique love stories contained therein. I will devour each one until there are no more left to read!

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Review: Magic Mourns

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

This was a really quick short story that takes place exactly where you want one – with Andrea and Raphael. It was not a straightforward romance, as I was expecting, but is its own little mystery. Yes, you get a bunch of romantic elements along the way, and you ultimately get some big changes, but it all revolves around a death in the family and a really big dog. It was nice to see Andrea in her element and get a little look at her internal workings.

I’m not sure how much else I can get in to without giving away too much, but this story is certainly wrapped up neatly in one book, although the ending is a bit of a mystery. I can’t wait to read more in this world, and really enjoyed this little “bonus.”

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Review: Stefan's Salvation

Stefan's Salvation Stefan's Salvation by N.J. Walters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This third book in the series picks up with the broody one – Stefan. He’s the holdout of the brothers and was due for a nice HEA.

Stefan is prowling around the US trying to follow where his instincts lead him, which is hopefully to his one true mate. While grabbing a drink in some nowhere bar he ends up drawn to the sound of a woman’s name – Laurel Rose. The ones speaking it, however, have some foul intentions. Laurel Rose is the town’s oddity. She’s got a slight deformity and she has some mental powers that she’s probably not hiding well enough, so that’s enough to make her a little feared in town. Some locals are particularly stirred up because she won’t give up her land to a local developer who could bring in a big resort (and jobs, and money, etc. etc.).

On this night, Laurel ends up being saved by Stefan in wolf form, which begins their paranormal courtship. At least she has the benefit of being exposed to these types of things before, but that doesn’t mean she just jumps right into his arms. I was glad she made him work for it, because he could use a little blow to the ego. The larger story in town ends up interrupting their romance, but it also gives Stefan a chance to prove exactly how much he cares for Laurel. These two were a fun couple to read and it was particularly satisfying to see the brooding guy shake off his funk.

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Review: Never Dare a Dragon

Never Dare a Dragon Never Dare a Dragon by Ashlyn Chase
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These stories have officially moved from dragon-centric to phoenix-centric and I am totally enjoying them. They have a mix of smut, action, and romance that give you a good intro to this world, even if you’re picking up from this point in the series.

Jayce is the latest Fierro to get the focus of their own story. We met them all in the previous book, but we get to see it all happen from his (and Kristine’s) perspective. Who knew that meeting a girl at your brother’s fake funeral could start off an epic romance? Kristine is a dragon shifter who happened to be attending said funeral without any understanding of the paranormal undercurrents. Sure, she was appalled by the fact that Jayce wanted to flirt at his brother’s funeral, but she ended up writing it off as his own way of processing grief. She is, however, very happy to see him walk into her firehouse without warning.

These two have some sizzling chemistry (haha, fire paranormals, haha) but that part of the story can kind of be predicted. I liked the general lightheartedness you can practically feel jumping off the page when Jayce and Kristine interact. Yes, there are some darker stories at play, where Kristine is forced to do some not-really-good things, but the overall story is their budding romance. Can two paranormals from firehouses in different states make it work? Well, yeah, this is a solid HEA, but well worth the trouble it takes to get there. I especially liked watching them try to cross their paranormal divide.

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Review: Blood Gamble

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

I have a really hard time deciding whether I love or hate Scarlett. She’s definitely made herself difficult to love, but that might be what draws me to her.

In this latest installment, we join back up with Scarlett, still trying to find her footing in a world that treats her as something between a freak and a monster. They either love or hate what she can do and there really is no in between. Through a really weird set of events, Scarlett is somehow forced to take a girl’s weekend in Vegas to see a vampire-run vampire show on the strip. Coming off the heels of the origins of a Dracula tale, it looks like we’re going to see this thing out to its conclusion. Now we get to meet up with the real Arthur and Lucy from the story? Weird.

Of course, nothing ever goes smoothly for Scarlett and here we see her confronted with familiar faces and making all sorts of tough choices. While ultimately, we end up with a doozy of a cliffhanger and some new characters thrown into the mix, the way we get there never stops being baffling. Scarlett is starting to accumulate Dresden-levels of injuries and, jeez, just let her take a normal vacation for once! There was a very minimal amount of the usual players, so this was almost exclusively a Scarlett tale. We could really use a visit with her support system, especially after the trauma she endured in this one.

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