Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Review: Provoked

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

While I love this world and I am going to keep reading, this one wasn't exactly my favorite. It definitely read a little darker and less romantic than the last few. I guess it was a byproduct of the main character being the self-proclaimed genius.

Kane is the lab geek we have seen as the level-headed brother in previous books. He, of course, has sworn off looking for his mate and is a master at hiding any and all emotions. It generally makes sense, but in practice it was just annoying. As part of their vague strategy to get Jase back (he's been tortured for many years now, yeesh), they are on the hunt for a woman with powers to protect against demons. Kane is sent, for some reason, to collect a suspected such woman, Amber.

Amber knows nothing about his world, much to his surprise. She's never been trained, and her grandmother has protected her from exposure, until her recent injury. Amber and Kane are instant enemies and it only gets harder from there. Luckily (I guess?), she ends up under attack with only Kane to defend her. They are far from a likely pair - she is a vegan pacifist (ugh) and he is a warrior vampire. I found myself more eager to read about what the other characters were up to because Kane was infuriating in his stubborn refusal to even date Amber. Eventually we get there, but this one was a struggle.

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Review: The Mind Thieves

The Mind Thieves The Mind Thieves by Lori Brighton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What would you do if someone told you that your past and everything you believed was a lie?

I read the original book in this series a long time ago and marked this one to read in the future. I guess I didn't realize exactly how far in the future I would be trying to dive right in. Lucky for me, the main character doesn't remember anything either!

We join Cameron after her memory has been erased. She's got lots of magical mind powers, but no recollection of the life she lives as recent as a few months ago. All of that changes abruptly when she is forced to leave her comfortable home and go on the run from some possibly evil but definitely deadly mind readers and their associates. This book was an exercise in betrayal. I felt very much like Cameron, in that I had no clue who to trust and who were my actual allies. I absolutely *hated* some of her relatives and was just rooting for her to kick everyone's butt in the end here.

The end of this book, we need to talk about, even if it is in loose terms. There is a big ole cliffhanger and no real resolution. I was left staring at the last page in shock and disappointment. The rest of the book was interesting and engaging, but I just don't get why I couldn't get *some* sort of answer to... something? I guess the point is to get you hooked on the series, but, as you can see by the time between books for me, that is not really going to work. Sadly, I'll probably say goodbye to Cameron here, and wish her well in her love triangle, amnesia filled, mind power world.

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Friday, March 15, 2019

Review: A Tale of Two Kingdoms

A Tale of Two Kingdoms A Tale of Two Kingdoms by Victoria Danann
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the last book I got in a set of 6 from this world and I'm not sure what I was expecting - maybe some grand ending with a big finale? That is not here. Sure, we've had a lot of build-up to Duff and Aelsong's romance, but it felt almost like a novella when you compare it to the previous stories in this series.

Duff is Fae and, thus, is expected to mate a Fae, especially since he is the heir. Aelsong, while not leader, is part of the royal family of the Elves. Elves and Fae, while descended from the same relatives, hate each other because of some long forgotten drama. Elora (because she's involved in all drama) ends up helping these two eventually make their escape. There's romance in the air, but can they overcome all the years of hatred?

Short answer? Not at first. Their families took varying degrees of convincing and PR to convert to this new way of thinking. As a bit of a side story here, we get to see a slightly deeper look into Rosie and Glen's relationship (spoiler alert: it's not good). I guess we'll see more of that in books to come, but it's just a little hint for now. This book ends up getting wrapped up with the help of an "angel," and some reluctant class project students. Weird, but I would expect no less from this series.

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Review: Blood Bond: 1

Blood Bond: 1 Blood Bond: 1 by Helen Hardt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was a quick, short read that introduces us to the strange, scary world of the Blood Bond Saga.

We join Dante immediately after he makes his escape. He's been held captive and nearly starved of blood. As a vampire, he tries to balance his hunger with his need to not kill innocents. This, of course, leads him to a blood bank, where he's discovered by Erin. She's a nurse and is instantly drawn to him.

These two dance around one another, each jumping a few steps in the dating ritual, creating a more intense relationship than you'd expect having just met each other in very unusual circumstances. Dante's family life was also unexpected. As an intro, it definitely gave just enough info to have you wanting more.

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Review: Enchantress Undercover

Enchantress Undercover Enchantress Undercover by A.C. Spahn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is definitely the most unique world I've encountered in quite some time. I read a lot of paranormal romance and this was so refreshing and interesting that I absolutely could not put it down. As the start of a series, I'm 100% committed and cannot wait until the next book!

Adrienne is an enchantress - someone who constantly attracts and channels magic. Sounds cool, but she must always be alert to the amount of magic she accumulates, because too much is dangerous. She had a pretty traumatic childhood, and that has led her to avoid sharing all of herself with others. Things are relatively "normal" for her, working in her craft space with her BFF and her possible love interest/landlord. One fateful day, however, thing get all turned upside-down. Now there's Voids, people who police her kind (and are immune to magic), after her, assuming that she is the nasty enchantress using magic for evil deeds.

Lucky for Adrienne, she has somehow surrounded herself with the best allies a girl could want. The mystery and action is filled with wonderful magics and interesting spells. I don't think I can stress how interesting and unique the magic in the book was. Channeling magic in this world is so intricate, it's like a work of art. Adrienne ends up figuring out how to survive this madness with her mind intact, but she's forced to make some tough decisions. I eagerly anticipate the next installment in this series to see what other surprises this world holds.

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Review: My Fair Millennial 2: Still A Romantic Comedy

My Fair Millennial 2: Still A Romantic Comedy My Fair Millennial 2: Still A Romantic Comedy by Elle Hume
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book 2 and I'm still in love! Lizette Clary is everything that should be annoying and horrible, but somehow has forced me to fall madly in love with her. It's magic of the most awesome kind!

We join Lizette after making some big progress on the "Jason Moon Diet" - she can now essentially function as a working adult. She's still wild and crazy, but without the insanity that was getting in the way of her producing stellar work. Jason Moon is still hovering right at the edge of being in a real relationship with her, but they are so maddeningly in denial that it seems it will never happen. They are working hard to balance the muse/photographer relationship, the co-editor relationship, and whatever their dom/sub relationship ends up being. Sure - what could go wrong?

Well, for one thing, Jason's ex-muse resurfaces in the worst way. Also, Lizette's current/ex/whatevers end up being in the same place at the same time. Pop all of that in the blender with some organic kale, and you have a snippet of the lives of these two unlikely companions. There's a bunch of drama that happens (obviously), some dark and horrible turns, but in the end, I put the book down with a smile on my face. Did I mention I pretty much read this in one sitting? These books are seriously addictive. Give me more!

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Review: The Witch of the Prophecy

The Witch of the Prophecy The Witch of the Prophecy by Victoria Jayne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a relatively short, start-up story to kick off this series. As the title indicates, we get to meet the “witch of the prophecy” but we also learn about all the drama surrounding said prophecy.

Divina is a fortune teller who shared a brief, romantic time learning about her magical gifts with her then boyfriend. This boyfriend also just happened to be a vampire, and the person she believed was the love of her life. Turns out, however, that he was more interested in jump-starting some epic prophecy, and was not so interested in Divina’s heart. The witches dragged the vampire, Rori, back into their drama by informing him he needs to mess with Divina’s life some more.

In parallel to this, yet another witch and vampire are living out their own prophecy. Which one is correct? Well, we certainly don’t find that out in this book. What we do see is a poor shifter guy who is tugged this way and that by all these witches and vampires. Poor guy even thinks he found his mate, but nothing is certain at the end of this book. All the machinations that the witches put into motion end up getting thrown up in the air by one determined newbie witch. I give Divina props for setting her own future, but I guess we’ll see where everything ends up at the end of this series.

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Review: Pie Hard

Pie Hard Pie Hard by Kirsten Weiss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, admittedly I am joining this series late in the game. I saw this book pop up and who could refuse the title “Pie Hard” (especially when you’re an avid Die Hard and pie fan)? I don’t think it was too hard to catch up and join the series already in progress. It could easily be a standalone story.

So what is “Pie Hard”? It’s apparently a reality TV show that goes into failing pastry shops and uses an expert pastry chef and TV personality to make things all better. Val, an owner of one such shop, is surprised to learn that not only did her employee lie to the production company about them being co-owners, but she also signed them up for this! The camera crew surprises Val on an early morning, which just so happens to be the same morning that a crew of goddess worshippers show up on her property for a retreat (involving a yurt).

Val’s life is obviously crazy, but is made even crazier when people involved in “Pie Hard” end up getting murdered. As the resident, un-licensed detective, she feels compelled to help solve this mystery. I was completely sucked in and absolutely did not guess the correct murderer. Maybe I’m a crappy detective, but this made me feel even more involved and gave this story extra credit for stumping me. I really enjoyed the story, the characters, and the overall mystery and would definitely check out other books in the series.

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Review: Wishes in a Bottle

Wishes in a Bottle Wishes in a Bottle by Allie McCormack
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book had a lot of heart jammed into a paranormal story with djinn and magic.

Julian started his life as a magically gifted man who only wanted to help people. When his magical wish went wrong, he ended up as a mage/Djinn hybrid, stuck tied to a bottle and granting people’s wishes until a predetermined endpoint. He’s unable to inform his “master” what would free him and is pretty sure his torture will never end.

After a particularly nasty master refuses to save a child and instead wishes for jewelry, he feels like life cannot get any worse. Enter Alessandra – the most selfless woman alive. She splits her time between hospice care and working at a women’s shelter. She catches Julian’s eye, even when he is determined to avoid most human attachments.

These two had a really beautiful start of a romance when he is suddenly sucked back into his bottle, only to reappear as slave to Julian’s wishes. Not nearly as hot as it sounds, they work through it, and they even get a HEA! Alessandra was, by far, the best part of this book. She was a wonderfully beautiful soul and was obviously destined to break his curse. You know what was the worst? Julian’s family! Once you move beyond the horrible people in their family, the story was pretty enjoyable.

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Review: Consumed

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

Jeez, this book has been a long time coming. We’ve known Katie since almost the start of this series and she has finally got her own book! Admittedly, this isn’t really how I expected her story to play out, but it was still very satisfying to get a HEA here.

Katie, as you may or may not know, has been a side character in this series for a while. She’s a shifter who was raised in Jordan’s pack since she was younger, but is 100% in love with him. We’re all pretty sure that he is also 100% in love with her, but in complete denial about it. At first, maybe he thought she was too young, but since her infection with the virus and subsequent loss of her shifting ability, he’s now trying to protect her from a mating that would put her in danger. To make matters worse, he now has a death sentence hanging over his head. Only a few more moons and he’s toast.

As we join these two after a little fast-forward between books, Katie has made a life for herself hunting weres. She’s tough enough, but is willing to throw her whole life up in the air to go with Jordan. With a constant war raging in the background, the progression of the virus looming, and now a brother having been kidnapped (oh, and Katie’s stalker), now is probably the worst time to see a Katie/Jordan romance. Fated mates, however, can’t be denied, and after all this waiting I was so happy to see these two find their muddled way to each other. I’m a little sad that this book ends with more fast forwarding, but I am happy to see where we’re heading!

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Review: Bare Knuckle Bear

Bare Knuckle Bear Bare Knuckle Bear by Kim Fox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a sexy and sweet short paranormal read. It’s a little bit romantic, a little bit smutty, and a little bit punchy action.

Absolutely a standalone story, this begins in a small town in the middle of nowhere. It’s built around a logging community, which is run by a corrupt and controlling shifter. He hires only shifters, which makes the town essentially shifters only. Grayson was looking for a job and a change of pace, so he took a logger job. Upon his arrival in town, however, he makes everyone either angry or happy. The bar he enters is centered on cage fighting and when he knocks out a generally horrible person (who just so happens to be the logging boss’s son), all hell breaks loose.

Dakota, another shifter transplant, can’t just let Grayson die in the parking lot after paying for winning a fight. Upon touching him, however, she discovers that they’re fated mates. These two are an unlikely pair, and it makes it especially hard to deal with when the boss decides they can’t be together. How does that get resolved? Why, with cage fighting, of course! This was a fun, quick read in a world I would read again.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Review: My Fair Millennial: A Romantic Comedy

My Fair Millennial: A Romantic Comedy My Fair Millennial: A Romantic Comedy by Elle Hume
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, I went into this book completely blind. I know the author’s other work and love that, so I figured I’d give this a go. At first glance, this description looks like something I would not enjoy – a millennial girl who has to work with some uptight guy? Wow, was I wrong!

At first glance, Lizette is everything that will annoy you. It looks like she’s a party girl that magically gets through life on her social media skills and fashion sense. If you look deeper, though, there is some true genius to this girl. Jason Moon, a famous photojournalist who has been tasked with being Lizette’s partner in the company’s new endeavor, has the same knee jerk reaction I did to Lizette. She really grows on you, though, and Jason is no exception to her magic. These two were great fun to watch bounce around each other, each trying to stay to their “brand.”

Aside from all the craziness, Lizette was a true force to be reckoned with. She definitely became a bit of an inspiration for not caring what people think and just being who you are. Does she have tough moments? Is she heavily reliant on attention? Sure, but there is a deeper layer to her that is tough as steel. I absolutely cannot wait to see where this series takes me if this is only the beginning!

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