Friday, April 26, 2019

Review: I See Me

I See Me I See Me by Meghan Ciana Doidge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow, what an interesting spin on the series I am now completely addicted to! I’m sure you can probably start here, but having enjoyed the Dowser series so much (and being an insane person who has to read things in order and complete everything), I picked this up after book 3.

We meet Rochelle in this book, an orphan who believes herself crazy. It might have something to do with the fact that everyone around her has been telling her she has a mental problem since she first exhibited signs. Those signs? Seeing visions and then sketching them obsessively afterwards, almost uncontrollably. She’s been kicked around the system a bit, but nothing can get her down, especially now that she’s a legally independent person. Things should get easier, but they take a very strange twist, starting with her mother’s strange necklace and only continuing on when she meets Beau at a rest stop diner.

These two were absolutely great for one another. Beau may be exhibiting signs of his own, if you’re familiar with the other types of people in this universe. This book, to differentiate from the other series, gives you all the smutty goodness that poor Jade misses out on. Maybe we’ll get there eventually. For now, this was a nice change. These two young kids are smitten. If only they didn’t have to worry about visions or packs or magic at all, they could be two lovers on the road to wherever. Unfortunately, there is a lot of magic and mayhem to deal with first. They sadly come in the shape of a familiar big bad. There’s a bunch of hurtles to jump, but we get to leave these new characters in better shape than when we met them. I can’t wait to see where this all heads in the next few books.

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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Review: Lachlan: Vampires in Europe

Lachlan: Vampires in Europe Lachlan: Vampires in Europe by D.B. Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So while this was not strictly “in America,” this Vampires in America series continues to deliver solid, sexy stories that will have me committed to this until the bitter end.

This is Lachlan’s story and even manages to cross a little into Cyn’s world, too. Lachlan is a man on a mission of revenge. Sure, it has taken over a hundred years to get there, but he’s just as committed as the day he awoke to find his clan slaughtered. The big bad, in this instance, is the vampire lord of Scotland. So where does his mate come in? Well, Julia is a CIA agent who just so happened to go to school with Cyn. It’s through this connection that she is able to meet up with Lachlan while she’s on her own mission to avenge her friend. Having the same enemy doesn’t exactly make them fast friends, but it does put them in close proximity.

These two are tough, stubborn, and a perfect match. Even if this storyline is relatively expected, they still manage to jam in some surprises along the way. Each mate we meet has different strengths and weaknesses to balance out her vampire and Julia was no exception. Overall, I guess we are leading to Raphael’s total world domination? It’s definitely interesting to see where this larger storyline is headed.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Review: My Fair Millennial 3: Also a Romantic Comedy

My Fair Millennial 3: Also a Romantic Comedy My Fair Millennial 3: Also a Romantic Comedy by Elle Hume
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books are so utterly enjoyable. I’m both happy and sad each time one comes to an end. It seems so strange that this annoying Millennial has still not driven me mad, but I’m completely in love.

Lizette is giving monogamy a go with Tommy and things are headed in exactly the direction that you’d expect for someone normal (not Lizette). Jason is firmly a friend, but everyone around them knows that that will never last. These two crazies are destined for one another, whether they see it or not. After a quick turn of events on vacation and some relapsing, Lizette is on the fast-track to crazy town complete with impending wedding! Lucky for her, the people around her will not let that happen. I really don’t want to give away too many details, but if you’ve come along on the journey, you will not be disappointed here. I was also super pleased to find out that we are not breaking up with these two and get even more insanity in another book!

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Review: Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic

Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gosh, this book was mentally exhausting! Poor Jade just cannot catch a break. She’s still very much mourning the loss of her sister, even though she is still alive (and very evil), she’s still getting used to the fact that she has found her mysterious father, and, as always, she’s got the weight of the world on her shoulders because of some catastrophic vision the dragons shared with her. Throw all this together, and there are just buckets of bad decisions jammed in this one book. Luck for us all, a sexy shifter is still around to be the best person ever.

If you are not familiar with this series, I suggest you start at the beginning. There is just so much going on that I don’t think you will fully appreciate this series unless you go through this rollercoaster of a couple months with them all. Jade has been training with her father and the rest of the big “goods” to be a weapon against her sister. This sister drama is seriously going to kill me. Lucky for us all, it gets resolved in this one. Jade, who disappeared and was not baking for a few months, has a lot to explain to her friends when they meet up again. That drama aside, she’s also got to track her evil sister down and destroy her. Oh, and save her necromancer friend. Not too tall an order, right?

Well, when I got to almost the halfway point and we were deep in battle, I knew things would not go according to plan. There is a lot of learning involved, but I eventually ran out of patience with Jade. Thankfully, she is surrounded by awesomeness that can make up for her shortcomings. I am still completed sold on this series and will rapidly devour it (and the spinoff that I guess is next?). I wish we got more shapeshifter goodness, but I’m optimistic for some dramatic return.

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Review: Darkness Returns

Darkness Returns Darkness Returns by Alexandra Ivy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve admittedly not been the best at keeping up with this series. I jump in and out, but they are usually easy enough to “catch up” on that it doesn’t really matter. If this is your introduction to this world, then I don’t think you’ll struggle at all. This feels like the beginning of a larger story anyway.

We meet up with Chiron, a vampire who is the owner of some successful casinos. All his undead life, he has been struggling with his master’s death only to come to learn that he was actually imprisoned all this time. Already late to the game, he goes on a journey to try to find him that (for some reason) means that he has to take a weird little gargoyle character who can sense magic. Their path is slowly leading them towards a mysterious “key” to unlocking his master’s prison. On the way, however, they end up at a magical resort for demons.

It’s at this resort that Chiron meets Lilah, who is a mystery all her own. Her overbearing ex-nanny has been helping her take care of the resort for as long as Lilah can remember, which actually isn’t very long. Chiron and Lilah’s relationship really moves quickly, all while Chiron’s partners end up uncovering a larger secret. There’s twists and turns, but we ultimately get to some sort of happy ending for these two lovebirds. Not everything is wrapped up here, though, and if you were trying, you could make an argument that this ends in a cliffhanger.

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Friday, April 19, 2019

Review: Tamed

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

Wow, I can’t believe that this story hasn’t been told in the background of the other books. I guess when you’re immortal, you can kind of take your time with your relationships? Either way, this story finally gets to the Caleb/Lily love story.

We know that Caleb and Lily have a past, where she chose duty over love, leaving him alone for quite a bit of time. Since the big showdown that made Caleb a prophet (much to his dismay and denial), they have been avoiding one another. Sure, she’s mated (even though her mate is dead), but the mating mark has been suffering the same fate as Cara’s, and now she’s finally ready to get back out there. Re-enter Caleb! These two are obviously destined to be together, so the rest is just icing on the cake.

The larger story revolves around the peace talks that everyone assumes is a trap. There’s a lot of buildup to this meeting, which ends in kidnapping and lots of action. Don’t worry, though, because we get a nice pivot into the upcoming Janie story (which I might re-read, just so I get the full impact). This short story is required reading if you’re looking for a complete picture of this series.

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Review: The Mint Julep Murders

The Mint Julep Murders The Mint Julep Murders by Angie Fox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books are always so enjoyable. There’s a bit of mystery, a bit of scariness, and a lot of heart.

Verity is still getting established as a local ghost hunter, but is also trying to solve the mystery behind her ghostly companion’s afterlife. Frankie, a deceased, morally questionable type of guy, won’t get free until he addresses whatever unfinished business he has. It’s a little unclear what his unfinished business might be, but that doesn’t stop Verity from jumping all in. While she ultimately gets things done, her methods are a little bit flawed. In this case, they end up at a haunted house (complete with marketing materials) to visit a ghost world prison. The prison is also coupled with a mental institution so we get all the creep factor of both types of ghostly worlds.

What starts out relatively straightforward – visit the mobster to get more information about Frankie’s death – ends up becoming a scene out of a horror movie. There’s haunted torture rooms, killer ghosts, and even some scientific ghost hunters that crop up along the way. Verity’s boyfriend is put to the test both physically and mentally along the way on this one. I am so invested in their relationship, Verity’s friendship with Frankie, and the well-being of all the ghosts in the house, that I had a hard time putting this book down.

These mysteries always throw me and this was no different. I couldn’t solve it until the end, right along with Verity. If you like a little scare in your mystery, this installment will be perfect for you. Warning: This book contains very little adorable skunk time. Maybe next book!

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Review: Shadowed

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

I have been hoping for Jase’s story for a while now and was happy when it finally arrived. Sure, we all knew he was pretty broken after his captivity and torture, but it was truly frustrating how broken he believed he was.

This book might have been the first one where we already knew both characters. Jase was the sunny, friendly jokester of the family who was protected…until he wasn’t. Brenna is the youngest of the witch family that we’ve encountered before in the series. She’s serving as part of the coven nine, but is still recovering (or dying from) her time being kidnapped. Notice the similarities here? Well add in a layer of dirty, dark attraction (morphed from the younger crushes) and we’ve got a recipe for a good installment of this series.

So what made Jase even consider mating? Well, for one, it was Brenna, and he found out she was dying and could possibly be saved by a mating. Even though he plays all dark and damaged, his soul is still good, and he couldn’t let the sexy witch die on his watch. Brenna, who has been hiding a whole mess of drama in her life, only added dying to the list of crap she’s got on her plate. Of course, mating a guy she’s been half in love with all her life doesn’t really hurt. These two played the typical game involving sacrifice, miscommunication, and peril, but we get there in the end. Part of me wants to continue on and re-read the next few books I’ve already been through, but I think I need a break from the drama here. I’ll probably swing back around to satisfy my mind.

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Review: John's Yearning

John's Yearning John's Yearning by Tina Folsom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books always deliver a solid story, good characters, and a HEA ending to make you smile. This book was no exception.

We met John in a previous book and he’s got oodles of baggage. He lost his previous mate in a pretty horrible way and now he’s justifiably reluctant to get into any real relationships. He’s become a workaholic to hide from his demons, but this only ends up pushing them back to the surface when he gets assigned review of a kidnapping case involving kids. Savannah is desperate to get her little girl back and John might be the only person who can do that. Even after being told not to pursue this non-supernatural case, John is drawn to protect this poor little girl with the unfortunate name of Buffy.

Savannah and John were a little bit of a strange couple. Their relationship grew out of this very high stress situation, but became a real thing, even at the end. That and the mystery of the kidnapping were the highlights of the book. Man, I still hate Grayson. Some of that younger generation is super annoying, so I hope we don’t have to spend much more time with them. There were also parts of this book that made it clear I should probably have read the spinoff series. That being said, I was still able to enjoy it all. I’m glad I picked this book up, because now we have some closure for poor John.

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Review: Trinkets, Treasures, and Other Bloody Magic

Trinkets, Treasures, and Other Bloody Magic Trinkets, Treasures, and Other Bloody Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I admittedly took a really long time to get from book 1 to book 2, but was somehow able to dive right into this magical, wild world of Jade’s. Warning: Do not read this book while hungry because there is a lot of cupcake and chocolate talk throughout. Yum!

We join Jade, the cupcake maker, 3 months after her world was essentially shattered. Her foster sister, Sienna, went all darkside with blood magic. There were some casualties along the way, and Jade is still working to recover. Between baking for a living, navigating her relationship with her mother, and grieving, she’s finally getting a crash course in all things magical and other that had been withheld from her growing up. The magic in this book was so interesting that it really sucked me in. I love when a book can surprise me with a twist on typical paranormal.

Given the opportunity to make some sort of amends, she dives right in with very little information (which is not really her fault). Throughout the book, we get to watch her magical abilities grow and develop – and we even get to the end of this book with some *serious* answers to open questions. I am completely hooked on this world and the characters within – even the growly ones! If this is how this series continues, I will eagerly binge through them all.

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Saturday, April 6, 2019

Review: Hour of Darkness

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

I'm not sure if these books are something I'll continue with, but the world is familiar and they are easy to read, so I bought this on on audible to listen to while I walk.

We met Cain in the previous installment. He made some questionable decisions but ultimately redeemed himself. Now he's on the road, trying to run from his past. A stay at a swanky hotel, however, ends up putting him right in the middle of trouble. His gift of seeing briefly into the future helps him save the niece of a Russian mobster (essentially). Marina, who believes she is just out for a pleasant swim, ends up being saved from a bullet by Cain. From there, things just continue to spiral out of control.

Cain, luckily, has a safe place nearby which puts him back with his estranged "family." Cain and Marina really seemed like an unlikely pair, but they grew on me as the story continued. Poor Marina ends up pretty wounded in her own family life, so this new extended family helps offer some consolation. Overall, if you want an easy vampire read with a bit of an edge to it, these books are definitely for you. They can probably be read even if you are unfamiliar with the larger world these stories take place in.

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Review: Boundary Broken

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

I'm addicted to these books. Something about Lex is just so compelling. She takes on so much responsibility, is a constant soldier, and yet remains really likable to me. I also enjoy that she messes up in ways I'm not mad at her for, if that makes sense.

Lex is still working as daytime security for the local big bad vampire and trying to juggle a relationship with a vampire, being a great aunt to a null, and fulfill all her other obligations (rescue pets included). A while ago she promised to repay a debt to a somewhat local werewolf. One night he comes calling and it just goes downhill from there. Lots of people die in horrible ways. Evil horrible people return. So much badness goes on and Lex is seemingly helpless to stop it, no matter how amazing her powers are.

Ultimately, a sort of happy compromise is reached and most people get out alive. These books are not kind to characters, but watching them evolve is really wonderful. Even Lex, the perfect soldier, ends up stuck in lots of no win situations here. The witches play pretty prominently in her drama, but she still tries to please them. I feel for her, and am looking forward to what waits for her in the future.

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Review: Twisted

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

Admittedly, I was a little mad that after all the buildup to Maggie's backstory and love story, she only got a spinoff short. She has played such a vital role in all the other books, I felt like she really should have gotten the full length treatment. Either way, there was *a lot* of unexpected happening in here. It probably could have used many more pages, but still gave a good HEA.

Maggie, we know, lots her memory prior to her kidnapping and experimentation on by the Kurjans. She's mostly recovered, and can even shift, but she never really got her memory back. After a lot of demanding and stomping of feet, she finally decides to multitask and actually visit Terrent and some wolf shifters. They've suffered some vaccine tampering and she's going to be sneaky and investigate.

Terrent knows all about her sneaking and he also knows way more about her than he has let on in the past. These guys and their secrets! All of it ends of coming out in this story and we finally get some answers. Also, we get a lot more than a steamy kiss shared between these two. Of course, there's some bad guys (more than a few) and some adorable cheerleaders, but they push through all of those obstacles to get to a nice happy ending for all.

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Review: A Phoenix Is Forever

A Phoenix Is Forever A Phoenix Is Forever by Ashlyn Chase
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh no - is this the last book of this series?! I'm sad if it is, because I loved these (mostly) firefighter, shapeshifter, family-oriented guys!

This story deals with the last of the single Fierro's - Luca. Being the youngest, and the only one who was interested in becoming something other than a firefighter (for a girl?!), he was sure to be the last to pair off. He may have been dating a horrible woman in secret, but that has recently ended, and his cop career has just started. After a rough shift, he runs into Dawn, who just so happens to be a bit of a paranormal as well. These two have an odd meeting that rapidly grows into something more.

Of course, all the characters were lovely. I especially enjoyed Dawn and her grandmother. This let us see more of Gabriella, which is always fun! Nothing is truly straightforward in this universe, so we get a good kidnapping, mystery, and HEA all rolled into this paranormal package. I'm happy to see that the entire family (extended and otherwise) gets a real nice wrap-up at the end, but I am so sad to say goodbye to all their quirks. Please, more?

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Review: Playing with Demons

Playing with Demons Playing with Demons by Cally Edwards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a pretty amazing start to a whole new world. This world really pushed the good/evil paradigm and left you questioning your own biases.

Grace has been raised to fight and kill demons. Sounds light a legit calling, right? She is half demon herself, from what "the Organization" tells her, it's because her mother was raped by one. Things all start to get a little muddy when people she trusts end up throwing her literally into hell. Once there, all of her previous understanding is thrown out the window. Oh, and did I mention the hottie? There's ways a hottie, right?

In between fighting for her life, coming to grips with being used, and making unexpected friends, Grace is also navigating the world of dating in the underworld. Not too complicated, right? She is just starting to truly find her own independent voice when we have to end this tale. I eagerly anticipate more from this author and this world. Grace is rapidly shaping herself into a warrior for true good.

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