Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Review: Break the Day

Break the Day Break the Day by Lara Adrian
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't think I can quit this series, no matter how much I am going through the motions with these latest books. I think it has something to do with the audiobook narrator, but like I said - I just can't quit!

At this point, all the books are leading up to some sort of massive Opus Nostrum showdown. This book, however, does not get there. Yes, we get some steps taken to get closer to these bad guys, but in reality, this is a love story. Rafe, who was duped in the previous book by a double agent, is on a secret mission to get into a gang supposedly linked to Opus. It's on this mission that he discovers Devony, a daywalker who has an even bigger reason to hate Opus. They end up teaming up (in more ways than one - get it?) and they fight the good fight together.

This book didn't really distinguish itself from the rest, except that we get a different view of the tragedy that happened. The repercussions are obviously huge, and Devony is just one of what will probably be many people wanting revenge. Not really sure why everyone feels the need to go after the on their own, but we get that again, too. The weapons are firmly in Underworld territory now, so that should ramp up the fighting when we get there.

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Review: Bloodlines and Broomsticks

Bloodlines and Broomsticks Bloodlines and Broomsticks by Robyn Bachar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am so glad I continued on with this series. This book is so much better than book#1 and gave me some more enjoyable characters, while still building in this world. You could probably start here if you really wanted to, but as a series, I'm sure it will all connect in the next book even more than in this one.

This book introduces us to the mysteriously untrained magical family of the previous liaison between the fae and human worlds. In the last book, I didn't really understand why she wouldn't have trained her family in magic, but we don't really get that answer here. Instead, we watch Riley, newly introduced to the magical world, be tasked with trying to train for a fight she is woefully unprepared for. She's got her own baggage from her somewhat recent divorce, trying to make her own way when she gets this extra burden. Oh, and people start trying to kill her.

During the first real attempt on her life, she escapes through a mirror, only to be accidentally struck down by a shifter. There's all sorts of badness and prejudice associated with shifters, so this makes Riley's life even harder (ugh). But, bonus, she gets a shifter bodyguard who used to be a sorcerer assigned to her. So - why did I enjoy this book more than the previous one? The magic just seemed more fun. The love interest was not a horrible person. Riley was way more enjoyable and, well, I am kind of on her team in whatever fight that may ensue. Bring on the next book!

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Monday, December 30, 2019

Review: The Spellslinger

The Spellslinger The Spellslinger by S.M. Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't even know where to start reviewing these books any more. There is so much baggage and world building that happened prior to this installment that you should go way back and start at the beginning in order to appreciate the gravity and importance of everything here.

Lincoln and Sophie are in bad shape at the start of this book and it only gets worse. We pick off where we left off with the whole end of the world business (again). Sophie is still pregnant and Lincoln is still a pretty big jerk. I've never been a real big Lincoln fan, but in this book I turned a page in that book. Everything changes here (maybe even in other timelines and who knows what else? timey wimey and all that...). The ultimate goal of these two is to set things right and head back to their timeline.

Without too many spoilers here - do they do that? Yes? Kind of? Sort of? Only time (ha-ha) can tell if things have been set right or maybe even better than before. Part of me is hoping for changes, part of me is hoping for going back to the old timeline for everyone but Sophie and Lincoln. There's a lot of changes that I cannot wait to see happen between these two, and I wasn't even mad about this wild, messed up universe and all of its graphically awful things.

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Sunday, December 29, 2019

Review: The Enforcer

The Enforcer The Enforcer by Abigail Owen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a continuation of this series of dragon enforcers, but somehow managed to feel totally fresh and new. I really enjoyed the stubborn romance in this one.

Cami is a tough as nails woman who knows how to speak her mind and stand up for herself. This is probably why she was trying to catch the last of her baby goats and load them into the truck when Drake, a dragon shifter fighting the fire that threatened her land, first spotted her. It was pain in the ass at first sight between these two and only got more complicated from there. Drake is his usual glum self, made even more so by his impending death if he doesn't find a mate. Is he looking for one? No, of course not. Well, like it or not, Cami is a possible mate.

Cami does not take the easy path to mate-dom. It takes a visit from the elusive Rune to get her away and safe, only to be reintroduced to Drake. These two were stubborn in the most awesome, reluctant way. I was also reluctant to be on team Cami/Drake, but I got there by the last half. The way they work together is *amazing* by the end, and, of course, we are delivered a solid HEA.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Review: The Goddess Gets Her Guy

The Goddess Gets Her Guy The Goddess Gets Her Guy by Ashlyn Chase
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the last of the wild and crazy installments in this world (I think), so maybe this isn't the place to start the series. Instead, if you've been watching this all play out, it wraps up things nicely for all involved.

Gaia, aka Mother Nature, has played a big role in the previous books set in this world. Some more than others, but she is almost always pretty mean about it, even when she's helpful. I have to admit, I had a really hard time liking her. Sure, I guess everybody deserves to get their HEA, but she's just... so... mean. The book starts with her yelling at all her paranormals about breaking her "one rule" again, but then seems to mellow out a bit with the help of her sisters.

Aaron, the father of a set of witches we met previously, finds himself in a bit of a transition. Due to his failing health, he can no longer be a doctor, but without his job he finds it hard to pass the time. His daughter (the one not mated to a phoenix) ends up getting dumped by her husband while pregnant, leaving them to team up and head to Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is now apparently filled with all our favorite paranormals from previous books and welcomes them with open arms. It's here that Gaia and Aaron end up hooking up.

Again, I had some trouble giving Gaia her HEA, but I supposed everyone deserves one. With all the characters, I also found it a little hard to keep up, so was mostly just along for the ride here. As an ending to this series, it makes sense Gaia would find her match in a human-ish person.

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Review: Boundary Haunted

Boundary Haunted Boundary Haunted by Melissa F. Olson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was near perfect in my mind - filled with mystery, action, paranormal tough chick goodness, and everything that makes Lex awesome. If you're joining this show already in progress, I'd recommend you back it up and start with Book#1. This world has a lot of baggage you'll want to unpack.

Lex is beautifully broken in this book. She's human (kind-of), so she's actually showing the strain of the traumatic events she's recently gone through. Shocker, right? Usually we power through and the tough girls just ignore what's bothering them. Don't get me wrong - Lex tries the ignore option, but supernatural drama puts her in the unique place to face her fears and accept an out of town assignment that will involve lots and lots of ghosts. You know, the thing that traumatized her in her most recent death defying adventure.

Right after she shows up, it's clear that the job was not truthfully explained. Beau, the local crazy head honcho vampire, also sees ghosts, so these two have something in common. They begrudgingly develop a bit of respect for one another, only to have everything get turned on its head and go badly. There's injuries, not Dresden-level ones, but still, these books are filled with wounds, both physically and emotionally. I fell more in love with Lex in this one, though, and now I'm firmly Team Lex.

Since this is a road trip type book, we don't get everyone for as much as you'd expect - namely Quinn and Maven. I think this was a nice change and gave us a chance to see Lex as her own person. Maybe that's why I think I liked this book best so far out of the series? It was nice to be pretty surprised by a book that's 5 into this series and several into this world. I can't wait to see what Lex does next!

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Monday, December 23, 2019

Review: How to Run with a Naked Werewolf

How to Run with a Naked Werewolf How to Run with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this third (and last) of the series, I wasn’t exactly sure how we were going to tie this whole world together, but boy oh boy did it ever! I’m sure you can start here and catch up quickly, but as a Molly Harper fan, I’m glad I’m filling in all the blanks.

Remember Anna Moder? She’s the doctor that works on the werewolves, but is not one herself. How does one lure an actual, legit doctor to a werewolf community and swear them to secrecy? Well, they’ve got to be on the run from something. That’s just the background that matches “Anna.” That’s not really her name, but since we use it a lot, let’s stick with that. She was on the run from an abusive husband and hiding out in all sorts of strange places. She eventually got sent to Grundy to act as doctor to this secluded group by her anonymous contact. Said anonymous contact ends up being unmasked by the end (and it’s awesome), so no worries there. So, Anna, she’s back on the run again because she found out her ex had caught up with her trail to werewolf-land. On the run, however, who does she end up getting caught up with? Another werewolf.

Caleb is a werewolf bounty hunter type person who ends up having his life saved by Anna. They pair up in a nice buddy comedy sort of way, except with way more sexual tension. There were just too many secrets between them for it to go smoothly, though, so we get the usual mistrust, deception, reveal, sexy times combo. In the end, we all get a nicely wrapped up ending that doesn’t involve any more violence than you need. As the end of a trilogy, this works nicely. I’m happy I went along for the ride with these werewolves.

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Review: The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf

The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is filled with love and paranormals, just like you’d expect a book by Molly Harper to be.

Book 2 and I am here for it! We met Maggie in the last book as a bit of a brat, but a born alpha. She’s the head of a werewolf pack, the first female leader, and she’s mostly taking it in stride. She may be a little bit bloodthirsty, but that comes with being a wolf, right? She’s tasked with “handling” the outsider who comes snooping around to see if werewolves are real, and she’s told not to maim him. At least not too much. She, however, is begrudgingly drawn to him. Nick is not your typical snooper. He’s a nerd, sure, but he is also genuinely curious and just as drawn to Maggie as she is to him. These two are an unlikely pair, but it somehow works for me.

This book definitely made me like Maggie more. She gets a full character, instead of just Cooper’s sister designation. She’s tough when she needs to be, but also so soft when it comes to her people. I also really enjoyed meeting Nick in this book, and am happy that they find a way to make this weirdo relationship (and bit of a rocky start) work. Little bit of a strange ending, but I would expect no less.

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Friday, December 20, 2019

The Darkest Assassin: Blog Tour!

We are beyond excited to be sharing this release from Gena Showalter with you today by participating in the blog tour! THE DARKEST ASSASSIN is part of her Lords of the Underworld series and it is releasing as part of 1001 Dark Nights. Check out an excerpt and book trailer from the title below. Click here to grab your copy now.


Purchase your copy of THE DARKEST ASSASSIN today!

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From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Gena Showalter comes a new story in her Lords of the Underworld series… Fox is a demon-possessed immortal with many talents. --Ability to open portals—check --Power to kill the most dangerous Sent Ones—check --Scare away any man who might want to date her—mate Now, the keeper of Distrust has been marked for death, a winged assassin with rainbow-colored eyes tracking her every move, determined to avenge the males she accidentally decimated. If only she could control the desire to rip off his clothes… Bjorn is a fierce warrior with many complications. --Tragic, torture-filled past—check --A wife he was forced to wed, who is draining his life force—check --Ever-intensifying desire for the enigmatic Fox—mate Never has he hesitated to exterminate an evil being. Until now. The sharp-tongued female with a shockingly vulnerable heart tempts him in ways no one else ever has, threatening his iron control. But, as Fate itself seems to conspire against the unlikely pair, both old and new enemies emerge. And Fox and Bjorn must fight to survive. And learn to love… **Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you'll enjoy each one as much as we do.**  

Add THE DARKEST ASSASSIN to your Goodreads TBR here!

Purchase your copy of THE DARKEST ASSASSIN today!

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“I love this world…this is Gena Showalter at her best!”—J.R. Ward, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“The Gods of War series is my new obsession.”—Christine Feehan, #1 New York Timesbestselling author

"One of the premier authors of paranormal romance. Gena Showalter delivers an utterly spellbinding story!"-Kresley Cole, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"Gena Showalter never fails to dazzle."-Jeaniene Frost, New York Times bestselling author



Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld series, two young adult series–Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles–and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader’s Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazine, she’s been mentioned in Orange is the New Black–if you ask her about it, she’ll talk for hours–and her books have been translated in multiple languages. She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books at genashowalter.com


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Thursday, December 19, 2019

Review: The Darkest Assassin

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

Another great short set in the Lords of the Underworld universe! I'm always one for completing a series, so I'm eagerly gobbling up all the side stories Gena Showalter gives us.

This story revolves around Fox (aka the darkest assassin) and I was sooooo happy to learn more about this little enigma. Most recently, the previous 1001 Dark Nights installment showed us Galen and Fox's life of destruction, mayhem, and morally questionable behavior. Fox is still adjusting to housing the demon of Distrust, and, like all the other "hosts," she has suffered some "setbacks." One such setback is the slaughter of some Sent Ones. This resulted in a Warrior being tasked with her destruction.

Bjorn is the Warrior that has suffered some horrible things. Killing Fox should have been easy and also shouldn't have taken more than an hour. Things get thrown out of whack pretty much right away - when he barges in on Fox in the shower. He just couldn't do it, though. The attraction is immediate on both sides, and it forces him to kidnap her instead of kill. Somehow, these two supernaturals with pretty busted histories manage to reach a bit of an agreement. Even his rather "by the book" Sent One friends end up on team Fox by the end. All in all, this is a wonderful little tale, showing us more about the life of Fox and giving her a HEA. I am now firmly on Team Fox (and kind of Team Bjorn).

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Friday, December 13, 2019

Review: Tough Shit: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good

Tough Shit: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good Tough Shit: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good by Kevin Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm a big fan of Kevin Smith, but admit to not really knowing a whole lot about how he ended up where he did. I saw him on a variety of shows, in movies, and have some friends who go to his shows. This book was a combination of his history, how he got into the business, who influenced him, and some words of wisdom.

In reality, I probably shouldn't even be reviewing this. He makes a big deal about putting his foot down and not wanting any reviews or press for his stuff anymore. Also, this book was written a little while ago. Some of the content doesn't exactly age well. He spends a large portion of the book talking about Harvey Weinstein. This, obviously, isn't the best, but at least Kevin Smith eventually "breaks up" with him, and sees who he truly is.

All in all, this was the perfect type of book for a roadtrip, which is exactly how we listened to it. He reads the book (stoned), so you get the true experience. It was a fun trip (in the book and in "real life"), so well worth the price of admission.

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Review: Never Date a Siren

Never Date a Siren Never Date a Siren by Byrd Nash
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very unexpected and unique paranormal read. I'd say paranormal romance, but it's really more focused on some love gone bad and the magical elements involved. As the start to what could/should be a series, I'm hooked.

Brigit is out in the world, at a fae filled college, trying her hardest to just be "one of the students." Sadly, she has a very strong sense of moral right and wrong, and gets drawn into a bit of trouble that centers around Logan. Logan is a wee bit magical himself, but is suffering from the negative effects of falling for a siren. He was hooked by someone he thought was genuinely interested in him, but was just using him to get to bigger and better things. The bad part? If she doesn't release him, he'll probably die.

Brigit ends up taking up the fight against this siren, determined to free her new pal Logan from a genuinely evil ex. There's a bit that Brigit hasn't told Logan, and oodles more we all learn about dryads and the fae world in general, but the big fight is primarily the Logan/siren deal. I admit to assuming that we would end this book with a big fat HEA between Logan and Brigit, but I assume this will be a slow burn.

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Review: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I inadvertently tore through all my other Molly Harper books, was finally caught up in the other series, so decided to dive in here, too. This is, obviously, an earlier set of books, so they may not be quite as polished and perfect in the balance of snarky goodness and serious stuff, but I still found this book an enjoyable start to a 3 book series.

This book starts with Mo, a woman determined to start over in her life. It also helps to push her out of her comfort zone because her parents are overbearing, life micromanaging, hippies. She randomly chooses a place way out there in Alaska, determined to make her life her own at last. She quickly makes friends in the small town and gets a job at the local eatery as a cook. Mo is an interesting blend of independent awesome woman and sometime moon-eyed girl. Maybe the local broody guy has something to do with it.

Of course, there's a broody guy with secrets. Mo pretty much has her choice of guys in town, being that newcomers are so rare, but she has her stubborn sights reluctantly set on Cooper, said brooder. He puts up a pretty good fight, watching her go on dates with the nice guy in town, but don't worry - they eventually combust. This also happens after the whole werewolf things comes to light. Mo's pretty open minded, though, so have no fear!

There's also the obligatory mystery of who is killing random people and attacking others, leaving signs of wolves. Things have a little twist and turn, and also some family drama, but we get to a good place by the end, complete with HEA. We meet Maggie in this one, too, who is the main character in the next book (though I don't think you really need to read these books in any particular order).

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Friday, November 29, 2019

Review: The Ghost of Christmas Past

The Ghost of Christmas Past The Ghost of Christmas Past by Angie Fox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was another good quick read that takes place in the Southern Ghost Hunter world. For the adventurous among us, this may be able to be read as a standalone, but we've got a lot of the world built at this point, so it would be best to start at least 1 book previous.

We join Verity on Christmas Eve. She's still reeling from the wild and crazy ride her last ghost job took her on, some secret revelations, and, of course, some boyfriend mother drama. I'm not saying there shouldn't be drama, because that's pretty much a given when you've traded one son for the other, but this takes it to another level. Verity's southern sensibilities are truly tested by a strain on family and finances at the hand of Virginia.

After some very necessary but jarring words are exchanged, Verity ends up on her own Christmas eve, until the ghosts have their way. There's ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future. Oh, and wild animals - because nothing about Verity is ever normal. Through the magic of mostly ignoring family drama (in the true spirit of Christmas), Verity is able to pull out a successful Christmas gathering.

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Sunday, November 24, 2019

Review: Peace, Blood, and Understanding

Peace, Blood, and Understanding Peace, Blood, and Understanding by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, if you are this far into the series, you should know what to expect. There's going to be sarcastic, witty dialogue, quirky and wonderful characters, and some form of mystery that needs to get solved. This story fits the bill, and goes back to the combination I'm not really fond of: annoying jerk + brand new character. I guess at some point we run out of characters to pull from, but I was slightly less invested in this story than the others, especially since Erik wasn't my favorite.

Meadow is a relatively new joiner to Half-Moon Hollow. She is on probation due to some badness and anger issues right after her rather traumatic turn. She's been taken on by Jane, because she's awesome and still co-runs the council here with Dick. As part of her new start, she's focusing on being a pacifist, working soothing teas that leverages her vampire skill, and avoiding her parents. She went so far as to change her name to avoid discovery from the evil parents that ended up getting her turned. All these stories have parent issues, which are very relatable.

All seems to be going well until an auditor for the council shows up in the form of a big jerk named Erik. I get it, we're supposed to see him change and get redeemed but... I don't think we really ever get there. While there is attraction and romance, I wasn't really sold on his redemption story. Meadow ends up doing all the heavy lifting in the relationship, her personal life, and solving the mystery of incidents happening at the council building (and she's not even mentioned in the book blurb!). Overall, this still is my happy place, where we get to visit with our familiar friends and characters, but it left me feeling a little ... sad? Meadow grows but I almost wish she ended up alone, single, and awesome, rather than strapped to this jerk.

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Review: Wicked Night

Wicked Night Wicked Night by Evi Rhodes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is the start of what is clearly going to be a much larger series. The world that gets created here is unique and compelling, filled with vampires, demons, and other mythical creatures.

Gwen is the central character in this universe. She's had a bit of a shock when her emotionally distant parents inform her that she's actually the product of her mother's affair with the leader of the vampires. As a half-breed, she will soon go through a change, either killing her or making her into a vampire herself. She has also been assigned a mentor, in the form of Wicked (yes, that's his name, they all have new names after transition and they are all similar to that). Their first meeting doesn't really go well, and while they are both attracted to one another, that relationship is frowned upon so Wicked decides to push her away rather harshly.

Wicked is next in line to take over as leader. As such, he's got oodles of pressure on him, including pairing up with a good queen. While Gwen would fit in quite nicely, being the daughter of their current leader, he is way too stubborn to admit it. It takes 100% of the other people in the house falling in love with her (which was a bit... odd) to make him get jealous enough to claim her. There is a lot of build up in their relationship, but things, of course, can't go smoothly for main characters. There's a lot of evil machinations that try to get in there way, and still may succeed in future books.

We spend a lot of time learning about the history of their race, how training works, how much all the other warriors are falling in love with Gwen, and also band practice (?). This book switches POVs a lot, giving us a look inside just about everyone's head, which was a little confusing at first. It took a large part of the book before I got used to these switches and started to get sucked in. The ending resolves the more romantic issues, but leaves me with so many questions! When will we meet her dad? What is happening with Gwen? What will happen with Wicked's second in command? What about the big bads? What about the demons? We almost learned too much in this first installment and I don't even know where to begin hoping for more in the second.

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Review: Chosen Mate

Chosen Mate Chosen Mate by Katie Reus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This series is fantastic and so super quick to read! You can jump in and out of the series as needed, because it's pretty much standalone for each book. While the larger group of characters and world building does grow with each book, I invite you to start wherever you want in the series - as long as you start it!

This book was about Leslie and Malcolm. Leslie has a bit of a darker past, in that she joined the pack after being rescued from an abusive mating. She and her mate had an idyllic courtship, but things went quickly downhill after they became mated. The control and dominance, coupled with threats to her mother and her unborn child, kept her in place for way too long. Now, free of that influence and starting to become her own person, she finds herself hopelessly attracted to Malcolm, the pack alpha.

Malcolm is pretty much the perfect alpha. He's protective, almost to a fault. He doesn't want to have Leslie feel like she has to accept his advances, but he's also not sure how long he can hold off claiming her. Lucky for them both, the pack is pushing them together, whether they like it or not. It definitely helps matters that Leslie's son adores Malcolm. If you're wondering where the tension comes in - this story does have a bad guy. There's a wolf invading their pack lands, but the pack is rallying to get to the bottom of the mystery. Throw in some action, some sexy times, and a much deserved HEA and you've got a wonderful and satisfying read.

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Review: The Cuffing Season

The Cuffing Season The Cuffing Season by Tawdra Kandle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a short, cute, holiday themed romance that, while not YA, is younger than me, so I'll call it youngER adult romance. It can definitely be read as a standalone, even though it takes place in a larger world that's already been built.

Harry is a single guy, still living with his parents, who has yet to find a job in his chosen career field. He's managed to find a solid support system, though, in the form of his 2 close friends. They encourage him to follow his dream and, through some fortuitous timing, he ends up taking over a recurring column that his old mentor has to take a break from writing. His content, however, will revolve around "the cuffing season."

I had no clue what that was (or what a "yee" was, either), but it's explained as essentially the time before the holidays where you want to establish a relationship so you're not alone for them. Harry goes on a journey to find the "yees" and go on dates, but it ends up much as you'd expect. All the while, he continues telling his story to his supportive friends and family, all while missing the obvious.

Was it obvious from the start where we were going with this? Yes. Did I still enjoy the journey? Also yes. Sure, Harry isn't exactly the most likeable guy and I'm still not sure I think he deserves this HEA after all the mucking up he does along the way, but it's the holidays, so people get the benefit of the doubt here. Some highlights were more realistic journeys of his friends and their struggles along the way. Preston in particular was a gem of a side character and balanced Harry's relentless pursuit of "yees" nicely.

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Sunday, November 17, 2019

Review: The Lion, The Leopard and The Wolf

The Lion, The Leopard and The Wolf The Lion, The Leopard and The Wolf by Eliza March
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is off the charts sizzling hot (sometimes literally) and had just enough weird quirkiness to keep me completely interested in the story, too!

Mackenzie is coming out of a relationship where her self-esteem took a hit. In an effort to get her friend to loosen up and try new things, she gets gifted a trip to a "no rules" free love type resort on a ski slope. She's also got baggage around skiing and finds herself getting clumsier by the second due to some weird dizziness, but she packs up a suitcase and heads out. Upon arrival, though, she ends up hurting herself. The owners, a pair of partners (Adam and Trent) offer to take care of her in all the sexiest ways.

There are lots of sexy times, lots of hints at a shared relationship, and then *bam* shifters are involved. And then a mythical being. And... I'm stunned but yet not hating any of this. If you want a super sexy read that will light your kindle on fire - check this one out. It's weird, unique, and guaranteed to be an unexpected ride.

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Review: The Christmas Witch

The Christmas Witch The Christmas Witch by Carla Caruso
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book has a sprinkle of Christmas magic in with some plant witchery to make for an interesting twist on your typical paranormal romance.

Mina is a plant witch and comes from a line of very quirky and strange witches. They blend with their neighbors as much as some very interesting folks could, but they are forever making mistakes and having to cover their powers. A group of evil witches in town, however, are blending in some bad and very wrong ways. Mina, as ever the peacekeeper, is working at a local antique store, planning bridal activities for her sister's upcoming wedding, and trying to hide her attraction to her new temporary boss, Jadon.

This story had some hints of real romance, but was more of a mystery than anything else. Some bad things are happening in Mina's town, and she has somehow become the only person who can stop them. She's got to do this, of course, while still being in her sister's non-magical wedding, keeping her job, and balancing good and evil. No big deal, right? Ultimately, we get a Christmas miracle that saves the town and he relationship.

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Review: An Impish Christmas

An Impish Christmas An Impish Christmas by Angel Leya
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Woops! I joined this series already REALLY in progress. We're talking a lot of stories, world building, and character development! It says this can be read standalone, but I'm sure you would appreciate a lot of what happens more if you knew these characters better.

Kenzie is a selkie shifter who is a bit of an outcast at school. She has a core group of friends and a boyfriend, but appears to feel very alone, especially when nobody wants to join in with her christmas celebration and decorating. One random person who appears suspiciously interested in helping her is a mer-shifter, who also happens to hang around her biggest bullies. Trevor, said mer-person, obviously shows interest in Kenzie, and I was a little torn about rooting for him when she was apparently mated to Wes (previously mentioned boyfriend).

Things go from bad to worse when Kenzie accidentally casts a "helper" spell that causes someone to be compelled to make all sorts of mischief. There's a lot of boyfriend drama, friend drama, misunderstandings, and christmas related destructions. All in all, we find our way to a happy ending, but jeez it takes a lot to get there.

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Review: Diamond Fire

Diamond Fire Diamond Fire by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, I get why people were reviewing book#4 the way they did. Having started at book 4, with Catalina as the narrator, I didn't realize the jarring difference between the two voices of Nevada and her sister. Now that I've gone back to the start, I can understand some of the angst. That being said, if you're looking for the pivot point -this is it.

This short story somehow manages to help me accept Catalina as a grown up, even though she is portrayed as a very young girl in the first trilogy set in this world. Here, we get to start with the familiar Nevada, beginning her new journey into marriage and being the head of the house. Seeing her from the outside is definitely weird, but you easily fall into step with Catalina as she takes on the lead investigator role here.

The big story is around Nevada's wedding. Catalina becomes the head wedding planner somehow and also gets dragged into a mystery. A stolen wedding tiara is missing and obviously one of the jerks in Rogan's family is a suspect (which leaves lots of suspects). There's the usual misdirection, drama, attempted murder, and everything we've come to expect in this world. There is also some surprise reveals at the end. Oh, and we even get to see what happens to a familiar face, and start to maybe hate certain people slightly less. Overall, this is a necessary read before you begin book 4 (oops for me!).

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Review: Wildfire

Wildfire Wildfire by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

God, I love these books. They come in three's, so I knew that this would be the end of the Nevada/Rogan storyline, but it was still bittersweet. I will miss being with these two!

This book picks up immediately after the previous one. There has been a slow build towards Nevada forming a house and accepting her feelings for Rogan. At the end of the previous book (did I mention you should start from the beginning at this point?), we saw what could be their happily ever after, if her evil grandmother (not the awesome one) didn't spoil her fun. She's tasked with coming back to inform her family that they need to move forward with house formation to protect themselves, only to discover Rogan's ex-fiance in her kitchen. Obviously, a case forms (as one always does for Nevada) and she is tasked with helping Rhynda get her supposedly kidnapped husband back.

As usual, things are not straightforward. There's a lot that comes out during the investigation, lots of relationship-related misunderstandings, but ultimately we resolve almost everything. If you're worried about the transition between this trilogy and the next - have no fear! The resolution of one of the "big bads" happens in the short story immediately following, and we get a transition between narrator voices, too.

So, to sum up this trilogy, I would definitely recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in paranormal romance. It was well written and totally addictive! While there were your typical misunderstandings and false starts, it always delivered. The mysteries were also really interesting and never easily solved. This series was so good - and I'm glad I went back to start it from the beginning.

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Saturday, November 9, 2019

Review: Immortal Born

Immortal Born Immortal Born by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, let me start off by saying that at book #30, you know what you're getting. I'm sure these could each be read as standalone novels, but I applaud the author for trying to loop in longer running storylines for the people who have traveled through all the stories.

This book starts with Allie, a bit of a recluse with a muddled history. She befriends a recovering rogue vampire with a baby and promises to take care of little Liam if anything happens to his mom. Of course, something happens and she begins her life on the run from the rogues who want to take him. Enter Magnus, who, due to magical matchmaking, has been pushed to meet Allie, who is hospitalized for a failed act of theft from the blood bank (long story).

There's a lot of running and trust issues, but these two do end up making it work. I'm not usually one for stories with kids, but this was pretty heartwarming. It was also nice to catch up with some familiar characters as they have grown older. I hope they all get their own stories one day in the near future. As I said, at this point you know what to expect, but this had the added benefit of giving some conclusion to a familiar big bad story.

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Review: Blood, Smoke and Mirrors

Blood, Smoke and Mirrors Blood, Smoke and Mirrors by Robyn Bachar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book ranks somewhere around 3.5 stars for me. As a first book, I'm curious enough to read on, and am especially happy that the next book is not in Cat's head.

We join Cat, magical outcast, waitress, and generally bad witch. She's carved out her own unique spot in the world and surrounded herself with people who will tolerate a "bad witch." One of her closest friends (apparently, we join the show already in progress) is the current liaison between the midwest and the fae. This is, I guess, some sort of high ranking spot, but when we find out that this person has been murdered, Cat is one of very few people who can for some reason take her place. OK.

There's more drama rolled into this, though, because her ex, who happens to be the magic police (there's a better name), is the one to inform her of her friend's death and her need to fill this spot. Oh, and I forgot to mention that he's the reason she's got the "bad witch" designation. Well, stress, the trials, hearing she's lost her other best friend, and all sorts of fae drama ends up pushing her back into his arms (have you no self respect, Cat?!?). Just when I was starting to sway on to team Lex (the ex) and Cat, there's more twists.

One of these twists puts Cat agreeing to stay with a big bad vampire, attending fancy dinner with him, and ultimately falling under his spell. There's soul mates, vampire magic, fae trials, and weddings thrown all in to what was a seemingly quick ending. I have zero understanding of where we could go from here, but apparently there are more books! Sign me up!

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Review: Fever

Fever Fever by Donna Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Admittedly, I've jumped in and out of this world and its related series a bit, so I might not have as much riding on this big showdown as the rest of the readers. But it was still so satisfying! I don't think you should necessarily start here (is that hypocritical?), but boy is it good to get here!

This story is not entirely centered on Rhi's big showdown, but that's what this is all leading up to. The previous few books have been building to a big battle, but have centered around a mated pair (or unmated, or whatever). This book is about Bernadette and Kelton. Kelton, as all good Dragon Kings, does not want a mate. Sigh. Bernadette has had some unfortunate magical nudges to try "outing" the Dragon Kings. Throw them both into the same room and the sparks fly!

Bernadette was a nice surprise in the form of a tough heroine who ends up not needing rescuing as much as most, even though she's stomping around in a world she doesn't quite understand. Kelton was frustratingly blind to his situation until too late. Their love story might still be early on, but it was still good and sizzling.

Now, on to the larger investment - Rhi! Sure, we get some progress from other stories and characters, but we all want to see the battle that will be between Rhi and her previous queen. The Others have lurked in the shadows for a while but this book gives us more information than before, and should, hopefully, send us into a endgame scenario (right?). We get the battle, don't worry, but I feel a little... unsettled after that. You'll see what I mean. All in all, though, it was satisfying.

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Review: Listening skills and Emotional Intelligence Box set

Listening skills and Emotional Intelligence Box set Listening skills and Emotional Intelligence Box set by Michele Gilbert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I grabbed this audiobook box set as a quick addition to my leadership training for work. Overall, if you're looking for a refresher or introductory set to both topics, this would work for you. As someone who is familiar with both, it worked as a refresher but not much else. Also, a little off-putting was a hard sell on signing up for the mailing list for free books at the end of each section. Prepare to skip a bunch, so the total amount of time to listen is significantly less than it looks like.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Review: Sway

Sway Sway by Tawdra Kandle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the 6th book in a series, but can definitely be read as a standalone story. If you enjoy romance, realistically flawed characters, and a nice HEA - this is the book for you!

While the characters are familiar to me from the previous books, meeting them fresh isn't necessarily a bad thing. I have some particularly strong baggage around some of the characters, who I still want to throttle, but I still liked "catching up" with everyone again, from a different perspective. This story is about Gideon and Sarah. Gideon is the QB of the football team we've heard about in previous books. He's a bit of a loner and manages to remove himself from most team activities except where it counts. As a team, they're all good, but are aiming to be great.

Sarah is a women in transition. She's reassessing her path in life when she meets up with some of the Keeping Score gang. They hook her up with some contacts on the west coast and she ends up relocating. Not before the event that tips her life slightly out of balance, though. At an engagement party for mutual friends, she meets Gideon, the silent hottie. One thing leads to another and, much to both their surprise, they end up in a "no-strings" hookup situation. They are both clear about not wanting more but... you know what ends up happening.

Does it take a while? Of course! These two fight against this natural relationship they slowly creep towards, no matter how much everyone around them can see the changes. I love that it isn't just one or the other in this case, though, and they almost team up to sabotage their collective happiness. In the end, however, we get some really good HEA (even for the tree!) and I put the book down with a smile on my face. These books are such a joy to read that I will read them all until there are no more left!

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Monday, October 28, 2019

Review: White Hot

White Hot White Hot by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love these books. I'm so sad that I waited so long to read them, because they are just so fun and amazingly addictive. Give me more please!

We re-join Nevada, still trying to act like her and Rogan aren't meant to be together (sigh). Her grandmother and sisters are clearly on the reader's side, so that was a nice touch. She and Augustine still have a tenuous relationship, where her mother might still shoot him, but it appears to be gaining some professional trust. This leads to Cornelius showing up as a client referral. He is a bright spot in this story, along with his daughter. I genuinely laughed out loud like a crazy person while listening to the audiobook portion where his powers are spectacularly used for the first time. True genius.

So, the larger story (and why it's called "white hot" I guess) is about tracked down some mysterious murderers who are using ice to assassinate (sometimes). Nevada ends up roped in by way of Cornelius, but Rogan shows up all on his own. There is the typical insane action sequences, lots of familiar faces from the previous book, and (YESSSS) some resolution. Are all the bad guys caught and locked up by the end? No, silly. But we do get some good, solid, Nevada/Rogan awesomeness. I love this entire magical world and would read just about anything that is set in it.

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Review: The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help - Or Hurt - How You Lead

The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help - Or Hurt - How You Lead The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help - Or Hurt - How You Lead by Carol Kinsey Goman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Continuing with my trend of alternating with "fun" books and "work" books, I grabbed this one on the recommendation of a course instructor a few months back to work on some leadership skills.

In general, this book blends a scientific approach with cultural norms to give you a playbook for interacting in global corporate companies without overwhelming you. I found it pretty fascinating, since my background is in science and I'm definitely interested in excelling at my global company. Sure, some of the things she says may seem like common sense, but it is still a learning experience to hear it spelled out so clearly.

As someone who likes to travel a lot of pleasure, too, these types of interactive norms discussed can be applied to more than just your professional life. I will definitely be applying some of the principles she discussed in my day-to-day life to see if there is a change in perception and behavior. I would recommend this book to someone in the corporate world - specifically interacting globally also.

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Review: A Wicked Hunger

A Wicked Hunger A Wicked Hunger by Kiersten Fay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book threw you head first into a world where vampires are a separately governed race that everyone knows about, and most are terrified of (or want to be and/or be with).

We join Cora on what may be the worst day of her life. She used to be homeless, having been orphaned at a young age, before meeting her husband. What she thought may be (or become) a marriage of love ended up being more one of some strange convenience. She can't really see what value she is adding to his life, but wants more, which is what leads her to surprise him on a business trip. Things quickly go out of control, leading to him being killed and her being taken into protective custody. Turns out - her husband had a lot of secrets. She's got some, too.

Mason is the vampire cop-type-person assigned to watch Cora to see if she is in on her husband's illegal business. He, naturally, falls in love with her, so jumps at the chance to safeguard her from the bad guys. While on the run, there is a lot of sexual tension, some sexy times, a lot of emotional baggage, and that's even before they get to the safe house! Once there, even more gets revealed, and then there's oodles of drama brought in by Knox, a vampire sibling of Mason's.

I'm struggling to review this one because the book ends very abruptly. Just when I thought I might be rooting for the always in trouble Cora, we had reached the end. Nothing was actually resolved and I feel... a little lost. Overall, I like the idea the world presented to me, but the characters were getting on my last nerve. Hopefully things resolve quickly at the start of book two, because I feel like there is a lot still to come for Cora and her boys.

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Friday, October 25, 2019

Review: Embrace Your Weird: Face Your Fears and Unleash Creativity

Embrace Your Weird: Face Your Fears and Unleash Creativity Embrace Your Weird: Face Your Fears and Unleash Creativity by Felicia Day
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book really shook up my stagnant mind and helped me to re-accept my inner creative wild child. It was filled with the quirky humor I’ve come to associate with Felicia Day, while still having some really solid advice and guidance.

First, I probably wouldn’t recommend this via kindle. I’m a kindle lover and audiobooker, but I think that paper is probably the way to go here. There’s lots of drawing and writing involved, so it will just slow you down if you’re digital. It starts simply enough, with some creative exercises, but gets really deep fast. It’s amazing how opening one door can lead to so many others. My primary field is not super creative, but my husband is photographer, so I immediately bought the book for him to check out, too! It applies to everyone, so there’s no real age group or demographic I could see this targeting (unless it’s just me – is it me?).

If you’re looking for something to truly shake you up – this is the book! It’s fun, weird, and super creative. I’m tired of the boring helpful books and am happy to have discovered this one!

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Monday, October 21, 2019

Review: Reaper

Reaper Reaper by Larissa Ione
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow, I was unprepared for this book. I started it, just assuming that I’d be in for your typical short read in this rather developed universe. This was not your typical read.

So much happens and I’m not willing to spoil you to discuss it, but just be prepared for *a lot* of shocking developments, changes to the world, changes to people we care about, and some super dark surprises. I’m… happy, I guess? There’s resolution to a lot of things that get initiated in the first few chapters of this book, but this has set my head spinning.

We join Azagoth, still living with his pregnant mate, still trapped in his realm, but determined to be a better person for her. Then… all the things happen. So much badness, so much change, all orchestrated by the “big bad” that was created previously. As usual, heaven isn’t really much help to him, but it was still nice to get visits from *all* the familiar faces from just about every book previous. This was like the greatest hits of the series, which would be great and fun, if some major things didn’t happen that shook me up.

Ultimately, there are a lot of battles (some super “epic”) with so much damage and destruction that I was cringing but eagerly flipping pages. As with most books that have so very many changes, it was difficult at times to continue. Azagoth has been through so much, and he heads in a bit of a different direction I this book, that I was simultaneously rooting for him and rooting for people to stop him. I think this is a necessary book, but tough to finish.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Release Blitz: Reaper by Larissa Ione

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"Reaper is . . . Epic. Thrilling. Amazing. No one can suck me into a story like Larissa Ione." -- Donna Grant, New York Times bestselling author”

For love, he’ll watch the world burn.

For revenge, he’ll light the match.

New York Times bestselling author Larissa Ione returns to her fan favorite Demonica Series with REAPER, available now!

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He is the Keeper of Souls. Judge, jury, and executioner. He is death personified.

He is the Grim Reaper.

A fallen angel who commands the respect of both Heaven and Hell, Azagoth has presided over his own underworld realm for thousands of years. As the overlord of evil souls, he maintains balance crucial to the existence of life on Earth and beyond. But as all the realms gear up for the prophesied End of Days, the ties that bind him to Sheoul-gra have begun to chafe.

Now, with his beloved mate and unborn child the target of an ancient enemy, Azagoth will stop at nothing to save them, even if it means breaking blood oaths and shattering age-old alliances.

Even if it means destroying himself and setting the world on fire…

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Lilliana woke to someone tap dancing on her bladder. Groaning, she rolled over and bumped into Azagoth. Pleasantly surprised that he was still in bed, she ignored her need to pee and curled up against him. She’d missed this so much while she was gone. “Good morning,” he murmured, his husky voice even more gravelly than usual. “Morning.” She snuggled into his shoulder. “I’m surprised you’re not working.” He yawned. “You wore me out last night.” Smiling against his skin, she trailed her fingers along the hard ridges and deep valleys of his abs. “I wanted to show you how grateful I was that you threw me a baby shower.” And she’d done it without getting too active. Eidolon couldn’t begrudge her one orgasm, right? “Mmm.” He pressed a kiss into her hair. “You must have been very grateful.” She slid her hand under the sheet and meandered her way to the curve of his hip. She might be a million months into her pregnancy, but her sex drive didn’t care in the least. “I’m still grateful.” He hissed as her knuckles brushed his shaft. “Not complaining.” It truly had been sweet of him to gather together the denizens of Sheoul-gra for a big celebration of food, drink, and games in the traditions of people from the human, demon, and angelic cultures. She’d suffered two more bouts of intense nausea and some cramps, but they’d passed quickly. What hadn’t passed was Azagoth’s concern. Which was probably why he was still in bed with her. It was cute the way he hovered. Annoying at times, but cute. “I just want you to know that you’re my life,” he said. “Without you, I’m a monster.” “And what are you with me?” He gave her a rare, boyish grin, made even more playful by his mop of bedhead. “A happy monster.” “I’m very happy about the happy.” She rubbed her eyes and yawned. “Things are good, Lil,” he said. “I never thought much about being a partner, let alone a parent, but I want to do these things with you.” He settled his hand on her belly and smiled with wonder. “This will be my first child born without a predetermined future. He or she can be anything. Do anything.” “Incredible, isn’t it?” She pushed up on one elbow and leaned in to kiss his chest. She’d kissed every inch of him last night. Maybe she’d lick every inch of him this morning. “And our baby will be born to parents who love each other.” Determined to show him how much she loved him, she kissed her way lower. Her lips whispered over his nipple, but before she could taste him, a cramp wrenched her insides. She sucked in a harsh breath, her hand going to her belly. “What is it?” Azagoth jackknifed up, his expression dark with worry. “Is it the baby?” Fierce heat swelled beneath the surface of her skin as her abdomen tightened. “I think it might be Braxton Hicks,” she said between panting breaths. “What?” “Cara had them.” Closing her eyes to stop the room from spinning, she eased back onto her pillow. “They’re like practice contractions.” She didn’t remember Cara complaining about being hot and sweating buckets, though. Another cramp streaked through her, and she moaned. Cara had said they were painful, as if someone were squeezing her intestines. This was more like someone was driving a red-hot blade through them. “You’re white as a ghost, Lilli.” Something’s wrong. No, nothing was wrong. She was being paranoid. Azagoth rested his palm on her forehead, testing her temperature. “Are these Hicks things supposed to be like this?” She heard the panic in his voice but not the words. Her ears were buzzing. Her head was pounding. And, suddenly, a wave of agony wrapped around her and squeezed so hard she screamed. Vaguely, she heard Azagoth call out her name as a warm gush spread between her thighs. “Lilliana? Lilliana!” His voice droned in and out as the room began to tilt. There was shouting. More pain. Her thoughts fragmented. And then, finally…nothing.

About Larissa Ione

Air Force veteran Larissa Ione traded in a career in meteorology to pursue her passion of writing. She has since published dozens of books, hit several bestseller lists, including the New York Times and USA Today, and has been nominated for a RITA award. She now spends her days in pajamas with her computer, strong coffee, and supernatural worlds. She believes in celebrating everything, and would never be caught without a bottle of Champagne chilling in the fridge…just in case. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her retired U.S. Coast Guard husband, her son, a rescue cat named Vegas, and her very own hellhounds, a King Shepherd named Hexe and a Belgian Malinois named Duvel.

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Website: http://www.larissaione.com/

Monday, October 14, 2019

Review: Junkyard Dog

Junkyard Dog Junkyard Dog by Katja Desjarlais
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book feels like a later installment in the series where I skipped the first few books – that’s how developed the world is. We join what feels like a story already in progress, which only grabbed me even more.

Alex is part of a group of mythological beings. You gotta get over that real quick, because there is so much more to this story. Charlotte is a park ranger with a super tough chick background. She’s more than capable, but still has a soft spot for lost animals. After another sighting of a huge black dog pops up, she sets up camp to “lure” this dog to safety. She’s certainly fearless, because it’s Alex in his shifted form that she ends up “catching.” The sizzle between these two (as humans, not human/dog pairing) is off the charts hot and awesome.

What should have been a simple hunt for Alex ends up being complicated by the murderous intentions of his target and his attraction to Charlotte. Did I mention that the side characters in this story are also great? They totally are, and left me wanting even more. Charlotte’s partner in particular was a highlight of this tale. I hope this isn’t the last we see from him. So while this story starts and ends Charlotte and Alex’s tale, I’m optimistic that we’ll get some closure from the other brothers at some point in the near future.

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Review: The Weaver

The Weaver The Weaver by Heather Kindt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was definitely a unique tale, and managed to weave (ha!) together a contemporary YA romance, historical fiction, and even some elements of horror/fantasy. As the start of a series, this does not disappoint!

Laney is a bit of a recluse. She keeps to herself, writing her secret novel and studying, but makes an exception for her childhood friend and longtime crush. Things take a bit of a turn when a character from her book ends up attacking her. Her college life, which seemed relatively normal, only gets weirder and weirder as some more familiar faces begin to pop up. A simple crush turns into a love triangle, which then turns into a race against a murderous fictional character. The face is quick and this book was completely addictive.

While I guess you could read this book and stop here, this is clearly not meant as a standalone. This book sets up the characters (both fictional and “real”), the world, the magic, and starts the story. I can’t wait to see where this world takes me in future installments. I’m desperate to know more about what goes on here, what other powers are roaming around in this universe, and ultimately where Laney will end up.

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Review: Burn for Me

Burn for Me Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I know, I’m doing this in a weird order. I dove in at book 4, but now I’m swinging back around to start at the beginning (even though I kind of know where things end up). That being said, I still really enjoyed this book.

Nevada is the eldest kid of very… interesting family. They live in this universe where magic powers are relatively commonplace and everyone is dealing with their challenges/skills in different ways. A sort of class system has set up with primes (the heaviest magical hitters) are at the top and everyone else falls in line. Nevada’s family has become beholden to one such family, due to some debts they collected when her father fought against cancer. She’s carrying the weight of this and all their other burdens when she accepts an un-winnable case – find a fire-magic prime and bring him to his family before the police catch him.

As if that wasn’t tough enough, she ends up butting heads with a notoriously crazy “mad Rogan.” Oh, and he’s super-hot, super powerful, and super arrogant. These two, obviously, have some amazing sexual attraction that will take us through this 3 book story arc. Fair warning – this is not a book that resolves everything all in one book. In fact, there’s a pretty good cliffhanger which guarantees you will read the next one (which I will). It was neat to see all these characters must younger than I saw them in book 4, so I think whatever order you join is still OK.

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Saturday, October 5, 2019

Review: Stockings and Spells

Stockings and Spells Stockings and Spells by Nancy Warren
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I blindly picked up this audiobook while between series based solely on the cover and title. I'm new to this "Vampire Knitting Club," but was also intrigued by that. I guess vampires can do anything, also knitting.

I met Lucy at the start of this book, so I'm not really sure of all she's gone through up to this point. She now owns a knitting store, inherited from her grandmother who is now a vampire. I'm sure there's a story there. Her grandmother is around (though hidden) with her group of vampires, including one possible love interest for Lucy in the form of an older vampire book appraiser (he's a vampire, who is also a book appraiser, I should say). Another love interest for Lucy is in the form of a cop, who she encounters several times before ultimately needing him for the mystery part of the book.

This book is not my typical read, because there really isn't any romance. Instead, we get a mystery in the form of an attempted murder, possible book authorship theft, and some other related crimes. I liked the characters, the mystery, and was even motivated to think about trying knitting (I won't). this book was quick, entertaining, but probably won't get me to continue with the series in lieu of others. For a book series with "Vampire" in the name, there was pretty much no supernatural elements, other than fast knitting.

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Review: Enchantress Under Fire

Enchantress Under Fire Enchantress Under Fire by A.C. Spahn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am so sad to see this series come to an end! More, please? I'm not ready to say goodbye to this world, all the characters, and the unique magical quirkiness! That being said, this was a fabulous ending to a wonderful story. If you are reading this and have not yet read book 1 - go back and do that! You would be doing yourself a disservice by starting at the end of this fantastic journey.

We join Adrienne as she embarks on what will undoubtedly be her most dangerous mission. At the end of the previous book, we learned she was going off on her own to infiltrate Geralt's cult and rescue her boyfriend. Seems silly, but she's desperate for enchanters, and Geralt holds all those cards. This story starts quickly and just doesn't let up on the terror and anxiety. Sure, it takes some time for her to gain some trust and allies, but there is a constant worry that she will be found out and sacrificed, killing way too many people in the process.

Don't worry - we get lots of familiar faces, even though Adrienne was insistent she do this on her own. I wouldn't mind some spin off books, though, to get even more of our friendly PU members (hint-hint). There are so many twists and turns to get to the big showdown that I wouldn't know where to start with a spoiler-free review. Things I can promise? Magic - more awesome magic. Big showdown - the one you want. Happy endings? Of course! These endings, however, come in the most unexpected way (that I was shocked and happily surprised by). This world is still one of my favorites, and I'm so happy I got to see it all play out.

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Review: Good Leaders Ask Great Questions: Your Foundation for Successful Leadership

Good Leaders Ask Great Questions: Your Foundation for Successful Leadership Good Leaders Ask Great Questions: Your Foundation for Successful Leadership by John C. Maxwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up this book as part of a leadership program I was undertaking. It was a suggestion from one of the program organizers and it sounded like something that could help me develop better question skills. I've been trying to work on coaching, so I made sure to listen to this pretty regularly as an audiobook.

I knew nothing about John Maxwell when I started. By the end, now, I know a lot more. He's the narrator of the audiobook, which I enjoyed, and he seems genuine in his mission to help leaders develop. Some of his stories revolve around religion, but it never seemed to be preachy or judgement filled for those who do not pray or follow any religious affiliation. The narrative flow of the book largely follows a list of questions people ask (him, his staff, his team, his fans, etc.). I found it very motivation, uplifting, and engaging. I'm not one for reading tons of self-help books, but this one definitely helped me.

There was a lot of focus on self leadership, and that also grabbed my attention strongly. I'm a leader with nobody directly reporting to me, so I was happy to see that you can still continue on your leadership path with or without employees. Influence is key in a lot of these messages, too, which may be my next focus in learning development. All in all, this book got my wheels turning, which was my ultimate goal.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Review: Sapphire Flames

Sapphire Flames Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I joined this series, already in progress, based on the description of this book. It sounded like everything I wanted and more! I wasn't disappointed in the storyline, or the writing. I'm going to warn you, though, I had a really hard time with the ending. Are all of these books like this? If so, I may rethink my plan to go back and start at book 1.

We join this book, with Catalina stepping into the role as head of the house. It’s kind of like Harry Potter, except with way more murder, betrayal, and sexy chemistry. Catalina has siren powers, which is good when she gets the chance to save a young boy from a ledge, but bad in that she can’t exactly have normal relationships. Her family is filled to the brim with quirky characters, all of which were a wonderful joy to meet. As a PI firm (kind of?), she ends up being tasked with tracking down an evil doer that conspired to murder a young woman’s mother and sister in a supposed house fire. Things get much worse and more confusing from there.

There’s also the other bright spot in the story – Alessandro. He’s someone that Catalina has a serious crush on, who also happens to have crazy super powers. Their paths cross and there’s oodles of sparks. I mentioned the cliffhanger, right? Well this falls under that heading, too. Sigh. Overall, the story sort of wraps up, but I still wanted to chuck my Kindle at the wall to vent my frustrations. I’m angry, but not angry enough not to read the next book.

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