Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Review: Under Suspicion

Under Suspicion Under Suspicion by Hannah Jayne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, we are heading back into the realm of awesomeness that the first book of the series really captured for me. There’s a definite shift from “crying-all-the-time Sophie” into this “crying-less-but-still-getting-really-hurt Sophie” that I liked a lot. Yes, she still pines over the annoying jerky angel, but with Will in the mix, I forgave her those moments of weakness.

I guess I expected this book to show Sophie being awesome in her new position, tracking fallen angels, but there is maybe one or two sentences around it and nothing more. Instead, this book shows Sophie realizing that a shockingly large percentage of her clients are suddenly missing (or dead, or missing and then found dead). While she’s alarmed by this, it looks like her largely vampire management is not dedicating the necessary resources to finding the killer.

At the same time, Nina is still awesome, but seriously distracted with an obsession about becoming a writer and dating a writer. Normal, right? Except for the fact that said writer makes a living proving that vampires and other supernaturals don’t exist. I guess their differences will make their romance interesting. The murder-mystery aspect of the story wasn’t exactly surprising, but did keep the plot moving along. I was happy to see Sophie start to become more of her own independent character (and have some sexy times), so I will keep my fingers crossed that it continues in the next book. For such a tough woman, she certainly falls apart an awful lot.

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Review: The Love Song Girl

The Love Song Girl The Love Song Girl by Tawdra Kandle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am a sucker for a good, sweet romance. While I typically stick to the paranormal type, this author has convinced me that I can enjoy a solid love story, even without the magical elements thrown in. It says something for the writing style that I don’t even miss the ghouls and goblins!

While these stories can undoubtedly be read as standalone books, you really get a feel for the wonderful world of Burton if you start way back at the beginning. Tori may not have been a standout star in previous books, but she certainly steps up to the plate in this one! Tori is an independent, determined, awesome woman. She’s had a few bumps in the road, but she is fast on her way to making her love of fashion into a sustainable career. There’s a plan, with many steps, that she is fast executing and just waiting on some final push to make the plunge into full independence from her boring job. Thing definitely get shaken up when her younger brother convinces her to accompany him to one of her least favorite activities – live country music.

Hunter is a small town boy at heart and ends up doing a favor for Mason by adding a show to his very popular tour. It doesn’t hurt that he could use an extra dose of inspiration in his future song writing. Change, in that respect, would be very good for Hunter’s future album. At first sight, however, he is smitten by the sassy Tori Westin. Sure, all her walls are up and it is clear that she has no interest in being there, but somehow he convinces her to go out on a sort-of-kind-of date with him later that evening. Nobody said it would be easy, but their budding relationship is 100% worth the struggle.

This romance was not easy and not really a fairy tale, but it was real and fun with all the stuff life usually throws in. It was really great to see Tori and Hunter both work at what becomes a smile-worthy ending. I could read 100 of these stories and never get tired of this town. Bring on some more!

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Friday, February 23, 2018

Review: Guardian Wolf

Guardian Wolf Guardian Wolf by J.K. Harper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a very short introduction to the Black Mesa Wolves that sets up what is clearly the start of many more books. Lily is an estranged Guardian to the Black Mesa wolves who went through a very traumatic event. That trauma has put the pack at a deficit for power, which can be replenished if Lily takes back her place and has some sexy times.

Kieran is a visitor from another pack who saw Lily's true strength in how she dealt with the "incident." Since then, he's been obsessed. He's waited patiently, but tonight he decides to make his intentions towards her clear. The chemistry between these two lights the pages on fire! Unfortunately, they are interrupted by some trespassing rogues. Don't worry, though - we still get to the sexy times!

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Review: Kodiak's Claim

Kodiak's Claim Kodiak's Claim by Eve Langlais
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a really fun, quick read that takes a city girl and dumps her into the middle of nowhere. In this world, shifters are hidden, but able to exist in their remote communities, ruled by one surly bear. Said bear is, unfortunately, being targeted for some unknown reason, his trucks being taken, drivers kidnapped or killed, and basically costing him a lot of headache (and money).

Tammy is the insurance rep tasked with looking into the missing trucks claim and she gets way more than she bargained for. On the trip to her hotel she finds her truck ambushed, getting a dart to the neck, and waking up in a stranger's house. Reid, the head bear in charge, finds himself inexplicably drawn to Tammy but fights it like a fool.

There were definitely some stand out side characters in this story that sets up a nice, solid series. After a twisty, turny path towards a HEA for Tammy and Reid, I would eagerly gobble up the rest of the books in this world. I love the feisty/stubborn combination in these paranormal romances!

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Review: About a Vampire

About a Vampire About a Vampire by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to say that I am completely surprised by Bricker's book. We've seen him slowly become more and more annoying and irritated as everyone around him finds their life mates. I had some predictions about who he would end up with but I guess I was completely and totally wrong. I guess I expected a flash forward in time to get him together with the little girl that really won my heart. Sadly (I guess?) he doesn't end up with her and instead ends up with some unknown. Don't get me wrong, Holly is great and all, but I think that it took me a while to get over the flip.

So, Bricker. If you don't know him and are joining the series at book 22, you should think twice. Sure, they can read as a standalone book, but knowing Bricker's past helps me be less judgemental when just about everyone tricks him in one way or another. It was pretty funny and unique a meeting between life mates. Once I got over the whole "Bricker ends up with an unknown" thing, the story was pretty fun.

This story throws in a new twist - what if your identified life mate is already in a relationship (and married!)? Of course Bricker doesn't do anything easy, so I wouldn't expect a very simple HEA story, but don't worry - we still get there. The worst part of this story? I fell in love with Gia and then found out she doesn't even get her own story! Out of all the new characters we have met along the way, I always assumed that she would get her own story at some point, not mashed into another person's tale. I'm very disappointed by that, but at least she got a bit of story. She was probably the highlight of this book.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Review: Under Attack

Under Attack Under Attack by Hannah Jayne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I gotta say, I'm a little disappointed. After the first book and having enjoyed the last few of the series, I guess I just expected to really tear through these books without wanting to stop. This book was good, don't get me wrong, but after the first book, I didn't enjoy this one nearly as much.

Sophie is still exactly who she started out as. She loves her job, surrounds herself with paranormals, and yet yearns to just be a normal girl. Oh, there's also the on-again/off-again relationship with fallen angel Alex Grace. While I didn't exactly love him in book 1, I found myself almost actively hating him in this one. The cocky attitude coupled with his inability to protect Sophie (she gets super beat up in this book!) made me wish Sophie could just quit him. The larger story, while very much leading into a bigger storyline, involved Sophie crying about 90% of the time while getting her butt kicked.

The story of the vessel hunt and the big bad here in the form of Ophelia made for a story where we learned what may or may not be true for Sophie's family tree. I completely don't remember how this series ends, so I'm in for the full ride, eager to start the next book. I'll hope for Sophie hooking up with the new character and dump Alex Grace (which probably won't happen) and will hope for more Nina, who is sadly becoming my preferred female character in this series.

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Review: Dragon's Guard

Dragon's Guard Dragon's Guard by Eva Chase
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is clearly the first book of what is meant to be a continuous story series. It does a really good job of introducing us to a world that couples old-world type paranormal tribes with modern concerns. There is definitely not resolution to the story by the end and I would warn against expecting some sort of solid ending going in to this book.

Ren is a woman who has learned not to trust just about anyone. The people she does let into her life have definitely earned their place. She was homeschooled and raised exclusively by her mother who suddenly disappears. Leaving her to fend for herself, Ren is forced to skirt the law to make money. She's especially geared towards being a thief, though, because she has strange sneaking abilities. Couple that with her love of getting air jumping off ledges and she's a unique type of girl. While celebrating her birthday she suddenly finds herself kidnapped and thrown into a world where shifters are real and Ren is attracted to a bunch of men she just met.

She's not only exposed to shifters, but apparently she is a dragon shifter herself. Nobody's sure why she can't shift, but she is the only person left alive who can unit the shifter races. So - what else can get thrown on her shoulders? Well there's this sudden polyamorous coupling, finding her mom, juggling a "normal" friendship she's determined to hang on to, and running from killer vampires. Oh, and the fated mate drama just keeps climbing. I almost feel like this book ends suddenly, having only learned a little bit about Ren's history, eagerly on the way to find out what happened to her mom.

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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Review: Shadow Hunt

Shadow Hunt Shadow Hunt by Melissa F. Olson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow! This might be my new favorite book in this world. Things that I think helped it make the top of that list? Shadow is essentially the main character in this book, we got to visit with some of my other favorite characters, and there were *significantly* less bad decisions. Don't get me wrong, there are still some bad decisions, but they aren't as "slap your head" as some previous ones have been. Is Scarlett finally growing up? Or learning? I hope so. Overall, I think everyone is just... where they should be.

So - we join Scarlett immediately after the revelation at the end of the previous book. If you haven't read any of the other books - what are you doing here?!? Don't start here. I guess I can avoid that shocker of a spoiler, but it pretty much drives all the decisions from the start of the book to the end. This "thing" makes Scarlett abruptly leave town, leaving Jesse to make the one bad decision I talked about. We get to see our favorite familiar faces, learn about some history (there's a bit of that in this book), and then rush back to save the day (as always).

So what other things made me love this book? Scarlett really... steps up. She's less along for the ride and more the leader of the team. She doesn't take any crap from anyone in this book, even if they are at a severe advantage. I *loved* that! Also, the romance was a neat surprise, but not all that much of the story. I mentioned Shadow, right? Shadow is also *amazing*! I can't say enough good things about Shadow. There was also a phenomenal action sequence towards the end of the book that had me smiling from ear to ear. Go team Scarlett (or Team Shadow?)!

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Review: Under Wraps

Under Wraps Under Wraps by Hannah Jayne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an adorable and quirky start to a series! I admit to having finished this series with the last two books without having read the first few. A bunch of time has passed, so I completely don't remember how the series ends, so it's almost like starting fresh.

Sophie is in a very strange position of being a mostly human person who can see through magic. She has some magic in her family line, but currently displays none. Her job puts her into a unique spot, locking her werewolf boss up at night, navigating the complex cultures of the other supernaturals, and then being tasked with working with a relatively normal police detective to hunt down a supernatural killer.

Parker, said detective, straddles the annoying and attractive line, but that doesn't stop Sophie from pining for him. Her vampire roommate, and her very gothy vampire nephew, however, are a little more hesitant. As the mystery progresses, nobody is safe from suspicion, and much danger ensues. I found I couldn't put the book down once I started and was able to tear through it in about a day. If all the books keep this up, I'll happily finish this series in record time.

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Review: The Immortal Who Loved Me

The Immortal Who Loved Me The Immortal Who Loved Me by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another neat twist on the same old story - this time with a tough and independent woman with some questionably vampire-related beginnings.

If we met Basil before now, I totally don't remember it. He seems like a lighter version of Lucien, also having lost a previous life mate in his history. Unlike Lucien, he's also got a bunch of kids from another woman who was also losing hope in life. While not a true couple, it certainly adds a new dimension to the story. So, how does he meet Sherry? We finally get another visit from Stephanie. She turns up, bursting in the office of Sherry's store while trying to escape the big bad. Sherry is unable to be controlled at first attempt, which leads them to forge a bit of an alliance in their escape.

So how do they end up together? Stephanie has a version of the matchmaker ability that we've seen push people together for many books previous. Sherry, as most women would, fights a little bit against having her life determined for her (oh, if she only knew). Throw in lots of fun new friends, undeniable attraction, and life threatening situations and you've got a recipe for a solid HEA, though. I was happy to also have some resolution of the larger storyline here. Bring on the next couple! Oh, and as a side note, I think Bricker is becoming more and more of a jerk as time goes on. I really hope he gets his life mate (who has to be Livvy, right?).

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Review: The X-Files: Cold Cases

The X-Files: Cold Cases The X-Files: Cold Cases by Joe Harris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I give this three nostalgic stars. I mostly picked this audiobook up because I was curious how we ended up at the start of the miniseries and was intrigued by the fact that all the original voices were going to be included on the audiobook. I was not prepared for the... play-esque feel to the whole thing. I'm used to your typical audiobook which is to say that it is just a book read aloud. This was definitely a full out script reading.

So as I said, this fills in the gap between I want to believe and the first round of miniseries. It also... rewrites some things? It's just a little bit bothersome when you start seeing all the people you know are dead suddenly popping up. I'm still confused about how we left things and how it ultimately hooks up to the miniseries. I know who is and isn't dead in the miniseries... don't I? Should I be expecting more familiar faces?

Overall, if you want some warm and fuzzy moments when you exclaim familiar story names and whatnot, this is definitely worth the short listen. Otherwise, you definitely don't need to pick this up in order to enjoy (eh?) the new episodes.

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Review: Vampire Most Wanted

Vampire Most Wanted Vampire Most Wanted by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Who knew that what this series was missing was a trip to the carnival? Carnies, vampires, and evil, lying bad guys make for an interesting (if a bit dark) installment in this series.

Basha (aka Divine, the carnival fortune teller) has been on the run from her family for longer than she was with them. Carnivals lend themselves to her nomadic nature, and things are looking good until one of Lucien’s spies winds up working as a laborer. Marcus is suffering from empty nest syndrome. After essentially help to raise a bunch of different immortals during his long life, they’ve all gone on to find their life mates, leaving him without a true purpose anymore. When Lucien (of course, with some matchmaker meddling) sends him off to check for his possible long-lost niece, he practically jumps at the idea.

These two very reluctant life mates have a lot of drama to navigate. There are so many years of lies and deception, such really evil bad guys who has spun Basha’s mind, and then there’s the typical martyrdom that happens in just about every story. The betrayal was pretty tough in this one. Basha suffers maybe more than any other main character we’ve seen before in this series. The suffering continues into this tale, and is really hard to handle. Yes, we eventually get our beloved HEA, but it is hard getting there. The ending, while happy, is not exactly fully resolved. I assume that we will revisit the bad guys in future books, and that they’ll get what’s coming to them.

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Review: Howl For It

Howl For It Howl For It by Shelly Laurenston
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a two book set with each having wolf-shifter elements to tie them together. While I probably preferred one over the other, they were both easy paranormal reads.

Like a Wolf is apparently a part of the pride series. I’m not really that well versed in that world, but I don’t think it stopped me from enjoying the characters. That’s really the highlight of this book – the characters. Darla Lewis is the quietest and most easy going of the wild sisters. Matched up with the most feared Smith boys, these two were wonderful to watch dance around one another. This was a true romance with all the awkward and awesome bits thrown in. And pie!

Wed or Dead is from Cynthia Eden and I’m honestly not sure if this ties in to any of the author’s other universes. This story is about a hunter and a werewolf who, like Romeo and Juliet, end up falling in love. Along the way, there’s a lot of lies and betrayal and fighting, but we get a really nice little happy ending (or at least closer to happy than the beginning).

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Review: Thanks Fur Last Night

Thanks Fur Last Night Thanks Fur Last Night by Eve Langlais
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I freely admit that I’m usually not a huge fan of anthologies. The benefit I see to them is that they get me outside my author comfort zone and expose me to authors I might never get a chance to read. This book really gave me a great set of 3 books, each with their own quirky and wonderful world. I definitely enjoyed them all, which was kind of a shock. Usually in sets there is at least one weak player, but these were all just… so… good!

Bearing his sin sounds like the title of something serious and sad. Luckily, this was completely not the case. From the first few paragraphs I knew that I love this author. The sarcastic wit, the wonderful banter, and the dark humor all wrapped up into a delicious burrito of awesomeness. I immediately added this author to my “to-read” pile. This book involves a hit man bear shifter, a Russian tough chick, and tons of interesting characters. I loved every second.

Bought by the Bear was slightly less silly and more serious, but still filled with great characters. This story involves Josilyn, a single mom trying to make ends meet when she’s approached with a job pretending to be someone’s mate. Obviously, there is a wonderful romance element but also tons of smutty goodness. There’s even a mystery at work!

The last book, The Alpha and I, takes place in the middle of nowhere, during a bunch of snow storms, where a lone woman rescues the big bad alpha werewolf. These two have some hot, quick, mating and are forced into some battles where they have to fight for their lives. While probably the least quirky of the bunch, it was still fun to read.

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Review: That Killer Smile

That Killer Smile That Killer Smile by Juliet Lyons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was such a fun and addictive read! After books leading up to the explosive realization of the relationship between Cat and Ronin, this definitely delivered.

While we weren’t in the room with Cat and Ronin when they had their elicit one-night-stand, we definitely watched the repercussions. Cat tried her best to hide behind her snarky demeanor, determined to avoid falling for the womanizing bastard. Ronin, on the other hand, is just trying to keep his head above water. He was irrevocably changed by his time with Cat and has found he no longer enjoys the things that used to occupy every waking moment. Now, it seems, Cat is the only thing that gives him any sort of excitement or joy.

Cat has been surrounding herself with work in an effort to get Ronin out of her head. A blatant cry for attention, however, ends up propelling them together. The sexual chemistry is out of control from the start, as we should have expected. They go from yelling to moaning in a few pages and it was glorious! These two are now my favorite couple of the series, especially because you can watch them develop and grow into something almost unrecognizable from the beginning. I really hope we get more from the characters in this world because each book is better than the last.

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