Sunday, December 30, 2018

Review: The Darkest Captive

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

This book has been a long time coming and I can't believe they didn't even get their own book! That being said, I'm glad we got to spend time exclusively with Galen so I could get over my instant hatred for him (just like the Lords). He's just so... arrogant. This book helped us peel away the layers of Galen to find the gooey center, where Legion/Honey gets her HEA.

Legion/Honey was in lockdown until Galen comes crashing in. Highlight? Robo-pigeons. You'll learn all about them when you read the book. After that, Galen has a bit of an uphill battle, trying to get through her very high and very venomous walls. The sizzle is there between them (like always), but there are boatloads of drama to contend with.

Of course, there wouldn't be a Lords story without a big bad, and this one is everyone's favorite clone (really?). While we nudge this larger storyline towards completion, you shouldn't hold your breath. As a short story/novella goes, this gave a lot without getting too bogged down in the very rich history of all the lords and ladies.

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Review: Shades of Wicked

Shades of Wicked Shades of Wicked by Jeaniene Frost
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Holy crap this was a really good book! After a little consideration (sure, it's not a standalone, but dayahm!) I have it my very rarely given 5 stars, saying I'd re-read this sucker. After the rollercoaster that was the last series in this world, I am happy to report that this book is just... the best!

Remember Ian? If you don't, I guess maybe you should try to get to know him before this book. He has a varied and dark past, having started out in this world as a "bad guy." Things have changed and now he's counting down his time left on this earth before a demon comes to claim his soul. Sounds bad, but Ian reacts in a very Ian way - attending a circus themed orgy. It's here that Veritas, a law guardian finds him.

Veritas also has a lot of secrets in her past, as well as her own secrets pertaining to the Cat/Bones/daughter drama. She's hunted Ian down for mysterious reasons, but they quickly find themselves falling into a comfortable rhythm of law-breaking and magic using. It was just so... fun! Ian's banter is everything you'd expect it to be and I was shocked to discover that Veritas was a good companion to him all along the way.

Admittedly, I spent much of the book waiting for whatever horrible twist to happen. I mean, this is just book 1 of the series so they can't end up all happy and wonderful, right? Was someone going to die? Was a massive miscommunication or sacrifice going to mess up all their relationship work? I'm not going to spoil anything, but the "twist" I was expecting ended up being not has horrible as I braced myself for, leaving me pleasantly surprised and eager for more books! Where are they? Give them to me now!

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Review: Tommaso

Tommaso Tommaso by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After meeting Tommaso in the previous books I was eager to see him get his happily ever after. In the wonderful and wild world of Mimi, nothing is ever simple, though. There's Cimil to contend with, remember? If this is your first foray into this world, I would probably suggest you slow your roll and start at the beginning of at least this series, but probably the previous one. There are oodles of characters with lots of ugly baggage. If you can't wait, this will get very confusing.

Tommaso is turning evil (again), but at least he may have found his mate. Unfortunately, she doesn't remember him and appears to not even find him attractive at all, after he ends up tracking her down again. There are a whole mess of evil and confusing traps to avoid on their way to happiness (including a lot of golf). Oh, and there's a messload of open questions at the end of the book. Oh, and! there is a huge side story in Zac and Tula (with no resolution yet). I would say this book was split about 50/50 Tommaso/Zac which was maybe a good thing?

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Review: Echoes of Fire

Echoes of Fire Echoes of Fire by Suzanne Wright
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've read a few of the Phoenix Pack books and all of the spin-off Mercury Pack ones, but I'm pretty sure you can join this story at any point in the series (either one). Each of these books is a littles self-contained love story, mixing unique pairings with predestined mates.

Bracken is a bit of a broken shifter. He's still serving his pack as an enforcer but his heart just hasn't been in it since his entire family was murdered, leaving him as the lone survivor. He's about to leave for some time on his own, but the sudden task of picking up an injured Madisyn snaps everything into place.

Madisyn is awesome. She's tough as nails, can take on any opponent (verbally or physically with her insanely vicious shifter side) but she is dumbstruck by the sudden identification of her mate. He's upfront with her and is just... perfect. All of their verbal sparring was like foreplay leading up to this moment. Oh, and there's bad guys out to get her, leaving everyone on edge. Don't worry, though, we get a nice self contained HEA where these two work out the kinks (or work on the kinks...). I always like the slightly broken romance pairings, so this was a nice read for me.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Review: Tiger's Claim

Tiger's Claim Tiger's Claim by Celia Kyle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This second installment in the series gives us Cole's love story. Don't worry, he doesn't get matched with some timid woman who bends to his will. Instead, he discovers someone who hates the same evil doers as he does, and she's willing to blow herself up if it means taking all of them out.

Stella is out for revenge and has been working at it all her life. The men who killed her sister are going to pay, one way of the other, and sexy Cole isn't about to stop her. Sure, he can kidnap her, get her to join their mission, but she will make the most ridiculous decisions along the way if she thinks it will get her closer to her goal. Cole, who has been working at playing rich womanizer for a while to get into the inner fold of an evil organization, has to work twice as hard now to make sure the woman his lion wants to protect doesn't get herself killed.

There is a lot of back and forth drama, some secrets, lots of stupidly dangerous decisions, and possible betrayal. In the end, we don't really get everything tied up nicely, but I assume we'll revisit this in future books. These two definitely deserve each other, though, if for no other reason than to keep their lives interesting.

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Review: Keeping His Siren

Keeping His Siren Keeping His Siren by Kiersten Fay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book blew me away, and I don't typically even read anything remotely "post-apocalyptic" in nature! The paranormal romance and smutty elements had me completely obsessed with finishing this book, even though I lost some sleep to finish it in one sitting.

Naia is a girl who loves to sing and has the paranormal powers to really make it work to her advantage. She's in a bit of bind for cash and cannot turn down an offer from her boss to go spy on another vampire club owner. Said club owner, Cortez, is immediately smitten with the mystery girl who seems to be the answer to his dreams. There's a bit of cat and mouse game but, damn, the chemistry! So much smutty goodness follows!

There's, of course, lots of secrets that get in the way of these two, and some bad stuff ends up happening, but this vampire/paranormal/romance storyline was really great. It made me worry that I was diving into this series at book number 4, but it looks like we start fresh here and I was able to catch on without problem. If you're looking for some steamy paranormal read, look no further!

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Review: Masked Longing

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

These books are so interesting and unique that I never know where they will take me next. While you can probably start here, it's best to begin with the introduction to these races of supernaturals so you can get the full story.

Estelle is a very controlled vampire who has done just about everything in her power to avoid fully embracing her new role as a sort of vampire leader. Having stepped into this role after the predecessor's death, it makes for a difficult situation all around, made more so by her distracting attraction to Stephan.

Stephan is suffering from guilt over the loss of his friend and fighting the rising tide of voices he's inherited. He is also in denial about his draw to Estelle. His friend and leader, however, forces the issue by getting him to work in close quarters with her as a liason of sorts. When Estelle appears to be on the edge of running off, he runs right after her, determined to protect her in any way he can. These two are off-the-charts sizzling, but their trust leaves much to be desired. He's paranoid and she's less than confident in their budding relationship, but life and death situations have a way of putting everything in perspective. Another great story in this series wraps up nicely.

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Review: Demons Lie

Demons Lie Demons Lie by Sherry D. Ficklin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a fun blend of YA, paranormal, and action/adventure that I couldn't put down! As the start to a series it gives you just enough to have you hooked, without feeling cliffhanger-y.

Aria is a tough as nails teenage girl who spends her days searching for magical doorways to close and hunting demons who prey on the innocent. A small town is not her usual haunt, but it seems like this particular location is a hot spot for demon activity. As if fated, she ends up meeting another gifted person, just like her, who can aid in the fight against darkness (and high school finals). To make matters a bit tougher, though, Aria's #1 suspect for being a demon hiding in plain sight is a boy who also happens to make her get all nervous and fluttery.

Aria's world is and moral decision making is shaken when people who she may have previously deemed killable are suddenly... likable. These characters were so wonderfully young and lovable that I easily got sucked into every bit of YA drama they encountered. Sure, there's still big bads and tough choices, but the romance, action, and magic was perfectly blended together to make an irresistible story. I'm glad there are more of these coming!

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Review: Drakon’s Tear

Drakon’s Tear Drakon’s Tear by N.J. Walters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books are all unique and interesting in their own way and this one is no different. Rather than spending time with all the drakons we already know, we get to take a trip into Russia with Abigail, who we previously met. If you haven't read any of the previous books in this series, I would recommend starting from the beginning, but you can probably muddle through if you must.

Abigail is on a bit of a vacation. She's taking photos, exploring the world, and generally trying to get over her horrible kidnapping by the Knights. While wandering the streets, her gift for sensing gemstones calls her to a store where her life turns upside-down (again). Poor Abigail, she just wants some peace, but is immediately under attack when it's found out that she was able to identify the hidden "treasure" in that store. A trap, for sure, but it leads to even more complicated matters when she becomes the companion of a certain mysterious Russian man who saves her life.

Vasili is a mystery and a loner, which makes his drive to protect Abigail even stranger. Don't worry, though, because everything is revealed and we even get a nice HEA at the end of all this. There are new friends (or at least tentative friends) and a bit of resolution to all of this. Overall, this is a very satisfying paranormal read, whether you enjoy dragon stories or not.

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Review: Born of Darkness

Born of Darkness Born of Darkness by Lara Adrian
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So, woops, I kind of missed this spinoff series starting and instead went along with the main Midnight Breed series unaware. That was until I read a short story that pointed me back towards these forgotten Hunters and this Hunter Legacy series.

This Hunter book is about Asher, a previously enslaved Breed male who was tasked with hunting down his own brethren and punishing them. On his own, he eventually fell into a solitary life on a farm, carving furniture and generally keeping away from civilization. One night, however, he can't seem to help himself from intervening. Some thugs were beating on a defenseless human and he's drawn to protecting who he believes is a young guy. After everything settles (with more dead bodies than before), he realizes that it was actually a woman in disguise that he saved. That complicates things, but the fact that she's a breedmate is even more interesting.

Naomi is a woman who could care less about the breed. She's focused on very few things: getting revenge on the man who killed her mother and taking care of the forgotten children in town. That town happens to be Vegas, so it makes sense that the guy she's going after runs a casino. Using her magical ability to mess with mechanistic things, she's working on funneling money away from her mother's murderer. Unfortunately for her, they are on to her and it seems like Asher is the only one who can properly protect her. Don't worry, she fights him at every turn, making his life infinitely harder. There's lots of twists and turns, not everyone makes it out of the book alive, but in the end we get a good HEA and a good start to this series.

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Review: Shadow and Ice

Shadow and Ice Shadow and Ice by Gena Showalter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A new series from one of my favorite authors? Sign me up! I barely read the description before downloading this audiobook for my quick consumption. So - what's this new series about? We are not alone in the universe and instead of having really friendly or probing alien types, we've got massive warriors tasked (or enslaved) to fight each other to dominate any newly discovered worlds. There can be only one and all that (which means lots of people have to die)! It's called the All War, and Knox of Iviland is one such combattant.

Things are going pretty well for Knox when he and all the other participants find themselves frozen for a whole bunch of years. The fortuitous finding of these frozen warriors by two would-be bakery owner sisters starts a whole new page in this war. Combine them stumbling in with global warming and you've got crazy fighters busting out all over the place! Vale, one of the unlucky sisters, ends up begrudgingly teaming up with Knox because his warrior instinct tells him she's important. If he only knew how important, maybe he would have hesitated.

These two lovebirds fight the attraction a whole lot, but end up eventually acknowledging their status as mates. This would have probably been easier if they weren't in a fight to the death. Lucky for us (or maybe the readers in general), there are way more combattants than we originally thought, meaning many more installments in this world and series before we reach any sort of conclusion. While this book is a good start, it certainly leaves a lot of follow-up to happen in future books. I'm especially looking forward to her sister's story.

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Review: Secret Lives

Secret Lives Secret Lives by Sierra Dean
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gosh, it feels good to visit with old friends! It has been a pretty long time since I've spent some time with Secret. Yes, there's a spinoff series that I should have probably been reading but I tend to commit to the "end" of a series. I guess that shows me! Now this series has been resurrected (haha) and I'm sucked right back in. It's almost been long enough that I had forgotten how many questionable decisions Secret makes.

We join Secret some time after her becoming a real human. After all her drama surrounding the werewolf side and the vampire side of her nature, I guess she assumed being human might slow that down. Nope! Her husband still wants her firmly on Team Werewolf, her vampire ex-boyfriend manages to lure her into Tribunal work, oh, and she is just content to stay away from all these crazies and lay in the sun on the other coast. Laying in the sun does come with the nasty side-effect of working for the government, fighting evil doers, and stopping the apocalypse all the damn time. This time in particular there are really huge demons involved.

I guess that's important? The most awesome part of this book, though, was visiting with these familiar friends. God, I could listen to Secret's witty quips forever! Her and her new BFF demon had me smiling from page 1. The banter is top notch here and so is the adorable quirky world that we get to visit. Yes, lots of death defying acts, usually due to Secret's inability to plan anything properly, and yes, there is a big vampire thing going on, but I would absolutely read anything about Secret as long as we get tons of dialogue (inner and outer) to keep me smiling.

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