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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