Monday, January 28, 2019

Review: Fated

Fated Fated by Rebecca Zanetti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have been reading this series from book 7 onwards and finally swung back around to start from the beginning. I’m loving the later books, so I figured this was a relatively safe bet.

Cara is a solitary scientist and single mother of the most adorable little girl ever, who just so happens to see the future. Cara’s not without her own abilities, of the empath variety, but nowhere near as powerful as her little girl. That same little girl ends up warning her when her house is suddenly under attack from a domineering man. Lucky for him, Cara’s daughter assures her that he is the good guy and they set off to a whole new world.

Talen is immediately struck by the fated feeling indicating he has found his mate. That’s only reaffirmed when the mating mark shows up on his hand. I have to admit, this book was a little heavier on the fated/questionable consent to a degree I don’t usually enjoy. Sure, Cara and Talen eventually end up happy and in love, but the path there involves an awful lot of kidnapping and coercion.

That’s all probably beside the point, though. This book introduces a whole new world filled with good and bad vampires, shifters, and witches. There is also the bigger threat of this virus that changes mates and shifters in horrible ways. I’m sure this will persist for a few books and I am especially eager to see Emma and her mate do the complicated mating dance. Even with her side character role here, she was one of my favorites.

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Review: Moonlight

Moonlight Moonlight by Victoria Danann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This might be my new favorite of the series. This book simply flew by and had me hooked, excited for the new twists and turns. Sure, there are big gaps in the “larger story” from the last books, but I was happy for a change of pace.

This book has a few parallel storylines going on. The first story is about Litha and her highly unusual demon pregnancy. She and Storm are stressed in different ways about this one, so it plays a pretty big role. Since Litha is essentially the Black Swan’s go-to for high speed travel, she’s pretty critical in their operations.

Speaking of that, the second story is about Stalkson and his werewolves. It has been known for a little while that the werewolves are having trouble producing females, thus making it hard to continue their race. The Black Swans are “looking into it” and by that, it means that they have put a crazy demon in charge of finding them a different dimension that might be more hospitable. Along the way, Stalkson finds himself attracted to a human woman. Here’s where the slightly creepy kidnapping happens.

Don’t worry, though, because things work out, as they always do. The last story in this book (because, sure, 3 stories is acceptable for one book) is about the retirement of the Black Swan’s leader and selection of a new one. As could probably be predicted, our familiar friend Glen gets identified for this and a series of tests is set up for him to prove he can handle it. We are at the start of this story, so I’m sure we’ll see more of it in books to come. Like I said at the start, something about this book really had me hooked this time around. The pacing was just right and I actually cared about Stalkson. There was also a startling little from Elora, which was nice.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Review: Demon's Mercy

Demon's Mercy Demon's Mercy by Rebecca Zanetti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books are awesome! Every time I pick one up (sorry, I jumped in late), I remind myself to go back to the beginning and start fresh just so I can enjoy even more of these characters and this writing style I love.

This book follows Logan’s story. We met him before along the way, as he is one of the Kyllwood brothers and a vampire-demon hybrid. He’s tough, hot, and oddly protective of the people in his life, while able to flip a switch to killing machine at a moment’s notice. His current mission was to track down a possible “key” but things quickly flip on their head. Mercy is one of the fae assumed to be simply a fairy tale. She’s lived a sheltered life, following instructions from others mostly, but rebelling her heart out when she gets the chance. One such chance is with Logan, who she has led breadcrumbs to by broadcasting her “key” status. These two come together in a startling and sizzling way from first meeting.

Logan and Mercy desperately try to navigate their attraction while at the same time trying to capture/escape from one another. Oh, and there’s the fact that the fae believe that Logan’s people are destroying the universe and all its dimensions. A little thing, right? There’s people trying to kill them from all sides, lots of dimension hopping, and did I mention the sizzle? This book had everything I enjoy in a good paranormal romance and has me committed to going back and reading all the books I haven’t in this series.

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Review: Broken Blood

Broken Blood Broken Blood by Heather Hildenbrand
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

We have finally reached the end of the series! While this is the end of the series, though, I feel like we are left with a few loose ends and questions still open, but maybe that’s just me.

As is typical for this series, there are a bunch of questionable decisions made along the way that confused and angered me, but if you push that aside, this was at least a solid conclusion to the CHAS storyline. We start the book in a very bad place. Tara is still confined by Gordon and being tortured/experimented on/imprisoned. There’s some old familiar faces that pop up all over the place in this story, so be on the lookout. Just when Tara thinks she may be making steps forward, layers of betrayal and loss send her back into a spiral.

Yes, after some doing, she finally gets out and is able to flip flop on her leadership position like your typical teenage girl. At least there is a little less of the love triangle to contend with, as that decision has long since been made and remade. There’s also a lot of blood bond talk that ends up coming and going with just as much ease as in previous installments. What things are thought to be huge deals end up being “meh” and then the things we thought would be easy end up being the showstoppers. Without giving away too much about where we end up, it’s clear at the end of the book that there’s still work to do (and romantic connections to follow-up on), but everyone is finally on a more definitive path in life. I’m happy Tara got here, but am also just as happy to no longer be in her head.

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Friday, January 18, 2019

Review: Midnight with the Devil

Midnight with the Devil Midnight with the Devil by Emma Castle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a quick sexy (more romantic) read with way less smut than one would expect in a book about spending nights with the devil. I guess that’s the point here, though.

Diana is willing to risk anything to get her dad better. He’s got no hope of survival, so when the devil offers her his health in exchange for spending a few nights with him, she gladly accepts. The devil, Lucien, has to collect some decent souls to sure up the boundaries of hell, but he’s less than enthusiastic about doing it. Something about Diana draws him in and these two end up spending less time in bed than one would expect from a dirty devil.

After a few twists and turns, we end up with the budding romance between these two strangers. The devil is more of a romantic than expected and Diana is a little dirtier than she expects. They really balance each other out, which is what ultimately gives them their happy ending.

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Review: Blood Rule

Blood Rule Blood Rule by Heather Hildenbrand
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After taking a really long break between book 3 and book 4, I dove back in, determined to finish this series via audiobook. Man, this is tough.

We spend the entire book in Tara’s head, and she is going through a lot. I get it. She’s got a lot of voices in her head from her dysfunctional pack of hybrids. She’s also got a love triangle plaguing her. Oh, and let’s not forget – SHE MAKES THE WORST DECISIONS EVER. Really. Maybe I should have accepted it as typical teenager behavior but it was infuriating most of the time. I definitely need to recalibrate my tolerance for nonsense if I want to continue with this series.

So, back to where we are in the larger plot: Gordon Steppe is the leader of the Hunter Council and he’s moving all the pieces around like a chess game. Unfortunately nobody really sees the larger picture and is only trying to stay out of his way. All of that changes when he forces their hands, running away with everything she had. The end of this book is a cliffhanger, too, so you should be warned going in. Tara is clearly on a larger journey that is not wrapped up here. I’m hoping for some good resolution (especially of the love triangle variety) by the end of the series.

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Review: Real Men Howl

Real Men Howl Real Men Howl by Celia Kyle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love these authors and their work. This book is no exception. If you like the weird quirky world of sexy paranormal romance, look no further!

Mason is aware that he is rapidly heading to crazytown. If he doesn’t find his fated mate soon, he’ll lose what’s left of himself and never be able to continue to lead. It’s just his luck that Lucy ends up having some back luck of her own. She returns to town to put her mind at ease but finds herself bitten after rescuing a young boy from traffic. The bite ends up being more trouble than she imagines, especially because it comes complete with an overbearing alpha named Mason.

After Lucy is bitten, Mason immediately recognizes her as his mate. She, however, takes a bit of convincing. Oh, and there’s trauma to deal with, too, so that slows down the sexy time. Don’t worry, though – we eventually get there! There’s a lot of really entertaining characters that made me happy that Lucy may have found her unique place in this world. It also made me look forward to future installments in this series.

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Review: Selenium Night

Selenium Night Selenium Night by Kharma Kelley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Having enjoyed another book by this author, I figured it would be good to start from book 1 for once and picked this one up. This book throws you right into a complex world of shifter factions, fated mates, war and betrayal from page 1. Prepare yourself!

Aidan is the adopted son of the “good” werewolves. They’ve tried to stay out of the way of human and enjoy nature. Guided by a council to aid in the transition, Aidan has been leading this pack without incident until a gruesome fight leaves them severely wounded, both mentally and physically. Aidan’s own mother was murdered, most of the home burned down, and the most likely suspect is his adopted brother. The council allows him leave to hunt him down and come back with him. Should be easy enough, right?

Maddie is a veterinarian in a town with a mostly deserted night life. One night, however, she decides to take a risk and go into a local bar. This bar, however, happens to be populated by the “bad” werewolves. The only thing that gets her out alive is Aidan, who just so happens to be in the right place while hunting his brother. His hunting plans soon take a backseat as these two lovebirds flirts and tease each other. Nothing in town is what it seems and things only get more twisted and complicated as time goes on. While we eventually get to a good place, you should be prepared for a bumpy ride.

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Review: One Hour

One Hour One Hour by Heather Hildenbrand
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I may have even read this short story as part of a collection at some point, but the crazy person in me has to read books in order. So when I reached the end of book 4, I slid into this book. It’s really not a book and instead a very, very short story. It gives a little blink of a look into what may or may not have happened in Tara’s head while she was imprisoned. There are sexy times.

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Friday, January 11, 2019

Review: Loveable Christmas Angel

Loveable Christmas Angel Loveable Christmas Angel by Mimi Barbour
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was by far the best of this series. I was hesitant at the start of the series but you could probably even start here as your first book since they don’t actually connect any characters along the way.

Leilani has had a tough time of it. She’s taken gave of her resentful mother for some time and now that she’s passed away, she’s taken her ashes to be spread over her homeland – Hawaii. The timing couldn’t be better since it is Christmas and she’s alone. A mysterious letter from a long lost relative only gives her more inspiration to travel back “home.” Through some sort of divine intervention, she ends up winning an upgraded stay, getting a wonderfully entertaining and energetic tour guide, and getting trapped in an elevator with a sexy guy. OK, so maybe she didn’t’ want to get trapped in an elevator, but it certainly doesn’t end up hurting.

For Kale, getting trapped in that elevator is just what his newly single, overworked soul needs. Leilani has a spirit that warms all those around her. He finds himself sucked into her world and easily accepts his new role. She quickly finds her old family, new family, and a lot of drama, too! There’s a bit of action, some bad people, but this story had me smiling and laughing, enjoying the true “spirit of Christmas.” If you’re looking for a good story to read around the holidays, this is it!

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Review: His Devious Angel

His Devious Angel His Devious Angel by Mimi Barbour
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books are definitely getting better as they go along. I found myself smiling a lot more during this book than the last. The angel, also, was a little less pronounced here.

Liam is suffering from a case of indecision and anxiety, but a nearly fatal car accident with a woman and a child turns his life upside down. Sadie is determined to live her life in almost the exact opposite way her family lives theirs. They are all overweight? Well, she’s going to be skinny. They all spend a lot of time together? She’s going to move out on her own. It’s during one such rebellious run that she saves a child from Liam’s car. She ends up injured herself, which gives Liam the perfect excuse to spend more time with her.

These two, while initially abrasive and awkward, ended up grown on me. Sadie gets over her man hate and Liam ends up facing the majority of his demons. Oh, and there’s dogs! They really help smooth over some rough edges in this story. I’m eager to see where the next book goes, since they keep getting more and more interesting.

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Review: My Cheeky Angel

My Cheeky Angel My Cheeky Angel by Mimi Barbour
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I gotta say, I was a little let down by this book. There is a lot of negativity thrown in here for a book on angels, but I guess that’s where the “cheeky” part comes from.

Annie is an independent woman who really enjoys spending her time with children but, for some reason, cannot stand her life. When an angel whispers (or shouts) in her ear that she should change things she dives right in. She gets a makeover, buys new clothes, and becomes a crazy workaholic. On the way down the rabbit hole, she develops anxiety, loses all shred of humanity, and cannot even keep up with her one friendship.

Maybe I would have enjoyed this book if I found Annie a little more likeable but there is just something about this dark tale that put me off. Even her friend/love interest/protector doesn’t show interest in her until she decides to change things up, which was just frustrating on so many levels. I read this book as part of a 3 book set and was able to continue on, so it wasn’t give up worth, but was close.

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Review: The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America

The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America by Matt Kracht
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OK, I love birds and I love sarcasm and this book perfectly blended the two. It had me laughing out loud for most of it and smiling for the rest. Seriously, this is for both bird lovers and bird haters and anyone in between.

The book is a super quick read with some really snazzy illustrations that keep the pages flipping. I’m sure you could actually use this for some form of identification but it is primarily for entertainment. I will say, however, that this seriously motivated me to start keeping a similarly hilarious journal on my bird sighting and what nefarious things they might be up to. I mean, why is that robin just staring at me for hours on end? He’s got to be up to no good…

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Review: The Thief

The Thief The Thief by J.R. Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed most of this book. After the huge bummer that the previous short story was, I didn’t exactly have high hopes for this full length book. That being said, the Sola/Assail storyline was a long time coming, so I’m glad it got almost an entire book to focus on delivering.

Assail is where we’ve seen/heard him in the past few stories. He’s losing his mind going through cocaine withdrawals. Sola is hiding from the bad guys all the way down in Florida with her grandmother. When it seems like Assail might actually be dying and not coming back, his cousins end up getting her to come visit him in the hospital. Obviously, these two are destined to be with each other, but the gigantic secret between them is a bit of a hurtle to overcome. Can I mention, as a side note, that Sola’s grandmother is one of my favorite characters of the series? She’s right up there with Fritz. Without those characters I would probably get bored with the broody warriors.

So, what does the author spend the rest of the book on? Well, for one, Sola is right to be “on the run” because the big bad’s sister comes swinging back into town looking into where her brothers have gone to. Second, and more depressingly, V and Jane’s relationship is imploding. I think we saw signs of that along the way, but this was just… bad. Really really bad, and it starts right out that way, so brace yourself for bad times.

Again, I said that after the last short story I might be done with this world, but this was a nice refresher to the series. I like seeing a non-brother get matched up, even if we have to go through a lot of buildup in previous books to get there. And, did I mention Sola’s grandmother? That alone is worth the read.

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Friday, January 4, 2019

Review: Once Upon a Snowy Moon

Once Upon a Snowy Moon Once Upon a Snowy Moon by Cheyenne Meadows
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was a blend of action, fated mates, and werewolf politics. Poor Tara really had a tough time in this book.

Tara’s been through the wringer, with the final straw being ditched on her blind date. On her way home in the snow, she happens to hit a “dog” which is actually, Max, the werewolf in his animal form. She, being the responsible kindhearted person that she is, takes him home, cleans him up, and feeds him. Max, now stuck in this situation but still hiding from some evil werewolves, easily develops feelings for his rescuer.

These two end up finally addressing the elephant (or werewolf) in the room, which opens a whole new can of worms. Can Tara give up her dream business and family home? Can Max overcome his hesitation in finding a mate? This may be the start of a whole new world of characters, but I’m not sure where they go next. The pack is still in a state of rebuilding, recovering from the evil dictatorship that Max was running from. This story wraps up nicely for Tara and Max, though, so you don’t need to worry about any pesky cliffhangers.

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Review: Don't Cheat Me

Don't Cheat Me Don't Cheat Me by Jackie May
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After absolutely loving the first book in this series, I was shocked to discover that another book had come out and I had yet to pick it up! I remedied this by making it my very last book read in 2018. This book didn’t disappoint and left me smiling and eager for more.

Nora is newly introduced to the paranormal world and has been accepted or hated in pretty much equal parts. She’s a bit of a mystery in the powers department, so even her allies don’t know what to expect from her as she develops. One thing is for sure, though, she’s drawing men to her with some form of her magic. After yet another attack, this time of the vampire variety, it’s decided that maybe she should learn to defend herself. Her werewolf bartender coworker ends up taking her to his old werewolf pack’s gym for some lessons, only to introduce and promptly dump her on his brother.

This new character, Rook, was a nice addition to the already growing number of paranormal characters. Since he lives on pack territory, the majority of the action this time revolves around werewolf drama. The alpha of the pack engages Nora’s abilities to help with a few things, all of which get her in hot water. Even by hanging around the pack’s most eligible bachelor gets her in trouble. She is certainly living up to her troll-given nickname in this one.

I said the last one was lacking a little bit in the romance department but this book was all about the gigantic love mess going on with Nora. She’s just adding to her list of potential boyfriends with each turn of the page and I know it will eventually come to blows or possibly some big (or bigger than before) murder plot to take out some competition. This book does give you some resolution, however, about what exactly Nora is and I was dumbfounded that I hadn’t put it together on my own. While this was not necessarily the same feel as the first book, I still love all these yummy characters and am eager to get the next book in the series.

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