Thursday, July 25, 2019

Review: A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses

A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I still wasn’t really sold on the Half-Moon Hollow post-Jane books when I started this one, but by the end, I was hooked all over again! Thanks, Nola Leary, for restoring my faith in Molly Harper!

Nola is a witch who has some unreliable healing abilities, is prone to things exploding, and has somehow become the head of the family and in charge of finding relics that, in the wrong hands, will doom her clan. On her death bed, her grandmother puts her on this quest by also informing her that Jane’s deceased shop-owner friend is Nola’s grandfather! Surprise! The connections to the original series abound in this book, so prepare yourself. Nola ends up renting a house that is shared with a very helpful contractor neighbor, Jed. Jed has his own secrets and, though they work to fight it, there’s attraction on both sides as well.

There are mysteries, backstabbing, magic, and (of course) vampires throughout this wonderful tale. Nola was relatable and fun to watch as she becomes more her own person and even gets some closure on childhood issues. Jed, too, was a great companion for Nola, without having to rescue the damsel in distress. This book was a really great addition to this world and I’m even more excited to keep exploring!

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Review: Priest of Skulls

Priest of Skulls Priest of Skulls by S.M. Reine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not sure it’s possible to start here in the series (or this world as a whole), so if you’re looking for a standalone, this book probably isn’t it. That being said, this book picks up right where the first one left off and might lead to some binge reading for later fans. While it always helps to be familiar with the larger world that the author creates, if this is your first series of hers, welcome!

Allene has been taken at the end of book 1. Sorry if that’s a spoiler for you – see above! She kind of sort of wanted to end up with Macsen anyway, whether to damn him or save him, that’s unclear, but we’re here anyway. Turns out, Macsen is super wounded and actually ends up needing Allene to soothe his broken soul. Allene is her brash self, trying to push through Macsen’s boundaries, trying to undo the brainwashing that so obviously has been taking place. All of that, plus the attraction, makes for some good times while being kidnapped.

Leander, of course, is not just sitting around waiting for the king to act. He and the other familiar faces of book 1 work together to help Allene where they can and leave her to her own devices where they can’t. Things are never a straight path, though, and the most obvious decisions end up having some truly catastrophic consequences. The ending of this book is a big ole cliffhanger, so prepare yourself!

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Review: The Librarian's Vampire Assistant

The Librarian's Vampire Assistant The Librarian's Vampire Assistant by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love this author and I love vampires. Those two things led me to this book. Maybe I should have read the details closer? Maybe I should have ignored my love of libraries and paid more attention? Either way, this book was not what I expected.

Michael is a vampire on the hunt for information about his maker’s killer. In the non-vampire friendly state of Arizona, he somehow gets wrangled into a job interview as a librarian’s assistant (it’s hard to explain). Once there, he ends up even further drawn into this quirky librarian’s world, saving her life and binding himself to her. The librarian, who I really cannot recall the name of, doesn’t have any interest in Michael, and it drives him crazy. Honestly, though, Michael’s friend Lula was so much more likable than him.

The larger story is about some nefarious plot by the local vampires to do horrible, apocalyptic (and evil) things to the rich folks in town. And there’s drug dealers. And mysteries. All of that rolled together in a book that didn’t really have the quirky humor I was looking for in a book from this author. I probably will not continue in the series.

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Review: Taste of Darkness

Taste of Darkness Taste of Darkness by Katie Reus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really really like this new series and the direction it’s going in. There’s a real uniqueness in the mashed up world of wolf shifter, dragon shifters, demons, and other wild paranormals. The matches are new and exciting with me guessing and second guessing myself every step of the way.

Drake was the dragon shifter we met in the previous installment. His instant attraction to Victoria was overwhelming, but he has been trying to “make himself more deserving” of her before revealing his intentions to make her his mate. It doesn’t matter to him that she’s a wolf shifter or that she is wonderfully independent. The match is absolutely perfect. They both balance each other out in great ways, when they least expect it.

This isn’t your typical virgin romance. Victoria is tough as nails and confident in her sexuality. The sexy scenes sizzle right off the page. If you’re looking for a brand new twist on a shifter romance novel, you should definitely check this series out. It’s really shaping up to be a wonderful series.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Review: Driving Mr. Dead

Driving Mr. Dead Driving Mr. Dead by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Since I saw that this book was not a full numbered book in the series, I guess I assumed it would be a short story. It totally is not a short story! This may be a longer book than some I’ve read in a full-fledged series. So, that minutia aside, this definitely did more to get me back into this world than the previous book.

This book sort-of/kind-of branches off of the previous Iris book. Miranda is a bit of a free-spirit, jumping between jobs and leaving a path of destruction in her wake. When Iris decides to take a stab at running the new arm of her company, she needs someone to physically transport the vampires. Miranda was looking for an escape from town after discovering her fiancĂ© has been less than faithful. For some reason, she decides to “think it over” on her job, but I believe we can all agree there should be no coming back from what he did. It only gets worse from there on out.

Collin is an uptight vampire who hasn’t traveled in a really long time. The last thing he probably expects at his door (late) is a walking, talking jinx. She just cannot seem to get through anything without an incident of some sort. Lucky for him, it mutes his annoying ability and leads to some of the most exciting days in his very long life. Of course, there’s romance, although I almost could have done without it. Maybe that’s based on first impressions, but I never got fully onboard with the Collin love interest angle. I think Miranda can do better. We get some familiar faces thrown in here and there to keep it current with the world, but it can probably be read as a standalone story. I’m slightly more eager now to dive into the next of the series.

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Review: Love and Other Wild Things

Love and Other Wild Things Love and Other Wild Things by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am loving this new series, set in the lovely, weird world of Mystic Bayou. Having already read book 2.5 and book 1, I was in the unique situation of knowing where we get but not knowing how we get there. This filled in the gap quite nicely and I wish there were more of these books available already!

This story is about Zed. We met Zed in the last book – he’s the mayor of this unique town, centered on a rift that is acting up. It’s turning humans into magical creatures and is only getting stronger. To this end, the league calls in Dani, an energy witch. Dani has been raised in a family of “normals,” so this town is particularly interesting to her. It’s probably the first place she can freely be herself, and that includes all her relationship issues and baggage from a childhood of being tossed around. Zed, a big, hulking bear shifter is just blunt enough to find Dani a delightful vision (and tell her that).

These two could have made their lives very easy and just had a purely physical relationship (that’s what she certainly was hoping for), but it quickly grows into more, through pie and life threatening situations. There’s a bit of hiding, betrayal, and lots of high strung league employees in this book, which gives the world a much larger feeling. While I knew who survived and where they ended up, it was still a delight to read. I’m happy for Zed and Dani, and really enjoyed the liberal use of my neighborhood (Parsippany, NJ).

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Review: Untamed Delights

Untamed Delights Untamed Delights by Suzanne Wright
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve jumped in and out of this series and the author’s works, but have always enjoyed what I’ve read. I’m sad that this is the “saying goodbye” book for the Phoenix Pack, and hope for many crossover/spinoff opportunities moving forward.

Remember Dominic? Well, if you don’t know him and you’re joining us here (WHAT?!), then all you really need to know is that he has subjected all the women who have come into their pack to some truly horrific and hilarious pickup lines. We knew eventually the time would come when his mate walked into his life and they would all finally be able to get him back. His mate, it turns out, is in the form of Mila. Don’t worry about her, though, because she is tough as nails.

Mila comes from a family of organized crime, Russian murdering wolverines, and other pallas cats, like herself. Unfortunately, her true mate has chosen someone else and she’s still licking her wounds, hiding her horrible secret from him. In a last attempt to get well, she tentatively agrees to an arranged mating all the way in Russia. No one is happy with this, least of all the adorable flirt she meets after performing at a shifter bar. Dominic, unfortunately, has more than just impressing Mila on his plate. What he thought was a simple one night stand turns into a boatload of drama for him when her father teams up with the extremists.

These two are 100% great for one another (of course), and were a nice, solid way to end the series. We get to see Dominic settle and yet learn way more about his inner workings. We watch the score get settled with the rest of the pack for all the flirtation. We also get to see the shifters pull together in a big fight. Oh, and we get to see more pallas cat action, which is always scarring in the best way. This ties up a lot of things, but I’d still take 8 more of these books!

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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Review: The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires

The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I dove into this book right after the wild and crazy ride that was the Jane series. That being said, while I enjoyed being in the familiar world, this was not the same type of happy, quirky feeling book that I was expecting. I’m definitely going to keep going in this spinoff series, hoping to get more hooked than I am right now.

Iris is a familiar character, if you’ve been through the Jane series. She planned her wedding and was somehow able to wrangle the crazy characters into a more manageable bunch. With that on her resume, I think I had something in my head that ended up completely different in this book. Iris is essentially a single mother to her younger sister. As the sole bread winner in the house, she’s forced to collect as many clients as possible so she can make ends meet. The council, luckily, keeps throwing vampire clients her way. One such client, though, ends up more trouble than she wants. Instead of following her rules and avoiding vampires in their homes, she literally falls for this new guy – Cal.

Cal is… pretty much a jerk when they first meet. He’s analytical, and a puzzle solver, so he quickly puts her in the harmless and useless bucket. Iris couldn’t be further from that. Sure, she manages to get herself in a ridiculous amount of trouble (not even counting Cal), but she does survive. The larger story here is about someone trying to poison vampires (Cal included). There’s secrets, backstabbing, betrayal, and teenagers all rolled into this intro novel. Cal and Iris are your typical opposites attract couple. Yes, he’s a vampire and she avoids being near alive/awake vampires, but they make it work. The only thing that got me more firmly on Team Cal was how he treated Iris’s sister. As a dysfunctional family, I’m on board.

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Review: How to Date Your Dragon

How to Date Your Dragon How to Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I dove into this series through the short story after book 2. This may have not been the best place to join, but since I really started my new addiction to Molly Harper, I guess it all worked out.

This book introduces us to the wonderful, wacky world of Mystic Bayou. The town that has drawn magical beings towards it with its mysterious rift has, no shock, attracted the attention of the shadowy organization – The League. Jillian, however, was not the person supposed to be studying the Mystic Bayou. Her boss’s sudden injury led them to tap the newbie on the team, throwing her into her first assignment. Just about everything ends up blowing Jillian’s mind on this new journey. There’s magic around every corner, and one such source of that magic is a hunky shifter named Bael.

Bael is a dragon shifter who has no desire to allow the League into his town. As the sheriff here, he’s tasked with maintaining order, and Jillian is messing with his careful order. He’s drawn to her, even though his dragon relatives will disown him if they end up mates. Jillian is just as drawn to Bael, and is very conflicted about it, too. It doesn’t really seem appropriate to sleep with her “subject” on her first field assignment.

These two dance around the issue quite a bit, but, don’t worry, all of this ends up working out in the wild and crazy Mystic Bayou fashion. This introduction to the town and all of its crazy characters was just perfect. As an audiobook, it was totally engaging and had me sad when I had to hit pause. I’ll dive right in to the next book during my next outing!

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Monday, July 8, 2019

Review: Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors

Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors Nice Girls Don't Bite Their Neighbors by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was everything I wanted from a last in the series. It gave me massive amounts of closure without making me weepy. I’m happy leaving Jane where she is, and where she can be happy.

So, as guessed, this book involves a neighborhood person getting bitten. Unfortunately for Jane, it’s her doing the biting, or turning as the case may be. While doing her best to stay under the Council’s radar, she somehow gets in the position where she either needs to turn her neighborhood babysitting charge, or watch him bleed out right in front of her store. When he asks her to, the choice is made, and she becomes a sire. A teenage boy, however, is not the easiest to control or turn into a respectable vampire.

Along with her newfound “mom” status, she’s also planning a wedding. Oh, and I forgot to mention last time that she made up with her sister. With most of her family mostly talking to her, this wedding planning gets a bit more crowded than it would have been in, say, book 1. Surrounded by her amazing friends and quirky family, Jane is, once again, inundated with death threats. Things are flying through the air, there’s poison involved, and even the council can’t control the situation. Sometimes you gotta go back to basics and just wing it (as Jane usually does).

There were some really great moments in this book that delivered all the highs and lows I needed to say a fond farewell to Jane and her friends. I’m hoping spin-offs will keep me full of small updates, but overall I’m supremely happy with the journey this set of books took me on. I can’t believe I waited so long to check these books out and look forward to reading everything I can get my hands on by this author.

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Review: Nice Girls Don’t Sign a Lease Without a Wedding Ring

Nice Girls Don’t Sign a Lease Without a Wedding Ring Nice Girls Don’t Sign a Lease Without a Wedding Ring by Molly Harper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a teeny tiny little short story set in Jane’s world that is supposed to bridge the time when she is living separate from Gabriel, to when she convinces her friends to stage a midnight move-in to avoid her mom. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned for Jane and her friends. What may have seemed like overkill (taking a huge detour to avoid town) ended up getting them all in trouble with mama.

All of this is essentially repeated in the next book, so you can probably skip this one.

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Review: Nice Girls Don't Live Forever

Nice Girls Don't Live Forever Nice Girls Don't Live Forever by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ugh, this is the transition book I’ve been dreading! I’ve been hoping that Gabriel and Jane can just push everything under the rug. Sure, he’s been hiding a lot from her, but having read my fair share of paranormal romance, I know it is in some stupid martyr fashion in one way or another. Jane, unfortunately, does not know that, and she makes a huge issue out of some woman writing him love letters in the present tense. Sigh.

On top of that (because Jane never gets a break), she’s got a frantic BFF who is about to become a dad for the first time (with a werewolf bride), and she’s also become the focus of the crazy stalker lady previously mentioned. This book may have been the insane and wild ride that the band of misfits needed to firmly cement them all together. Andrea might argue against that, though.

This group of friends/family has been so wonderful to watch grow and develop that I was blissfully happy when we end up with some changes but not enough to throw the train off the tracks. As I’ve said for all the previous ones, the high points in all of these is the wonderful dialogue and relationship development. I’d read 100 of these books!

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Review: Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men

Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am bingeing the crap out of these books, one after another without pause. I’m complete addicted and probably need some sort of intervention. Lucky for me, I’m also behind in reviews so the joke’s on you – I’m already done!

We join Jane doing her crazy Jane antics. I am in love with her, so she can really do no wrong, but… well, she does a lot of wrong. After getting on the Team “Zeb’s Getting Married” train, finally, she finds herself sucked into an even more dramatic family situation than her own. Jolene’s family of shifters may seem like the most probable cause for any drama, but no – it is Zeb’s insane mama who won’t let go of Zeb and Jane being together forever. While all of this madness is going on, Jane still has to deal with her family’s less than friendly reception to her change in living status.

As the blood favored Hershey syrup on top of the blood filled sundae that is Jane’s life, is her boyfriend/sire relationship drama. Sure, it’s just starting, but that’s never too early to have miscommunications and misunderstandings. As I’ve now come to expect, the witty dialogue is spot on, the action and mystery is sprinkled liberally throughout, and the southern charm is wonderful. These books are like little treats and I will continue to gobble them up until they are all gone!

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Thursday, July 4, 2019

Review: Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs

Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, I'm hooked. The witty banter, the sarcastic humor, the vampires, and the sizzling chemistry? I'm in love with quirky Jane and her merry band of misfits.

Jane is an ordinary hometown girl. She went to school, went to work at her local library, and skated by with the bare minimum of interaction with her rather dysfunctional family. That should have guaranteed a rather boring life, but that all changed after a bit of a bender at the local pub after getting fired from her job for suspicious reasons. A car mishap, a drunken tumble, and now she's a vampire. It doesn't hurt that her vampire maker is sex on a stick. Oh, and who knew that there was a vampire welcoming committee?

While Jane finds her way, she is forced to navigate family, prejudice, ghosts, dirty old vampire men, and murder plots. All this, and she still manages to have me laughing out loud through the entire book. I'm absolutely obsessed and can't wait to binge this entire series! If you enjoy the wit and banter from the Dresden Files, this will definitely suite your tastes (like mine).

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Review: The Trouble With Vampires

The Trouble With Vampires The Trouble With Vampires by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have an Argeneau addition and nothing can cure it. No matter how many formulaic stories I read, I just keep coming back for more! The overall storyline is still continuing (trying to track down the mad scientist) but I can't even blame that for me being an Argeneau addict. Maybe there's something comfortable in this very predictable world, but either way, I will continue reading these until the series ends, which is probably never.

Santo is one of the few immortals we know who hasn't found his mate yet. He's the bald, broody one that we've met before, but really didn't get much backstory on. This book (obviously) is where we get all of the gory details. Santo ends up starring in this story because he is one of the immortals following up on a vampire related lead, which will hopefully end up leading the troops to the big bad vampire scientist. That's not the main story, though, because there's a human woman involved. I know, you're shocked.

Petronella (I know, I couldn't stop thinking of mosquito repellant either) is taking care of her nephew when some strange happenings occur. First, there's the introduction to the inhuman next door neighbors (the Notte's), then there's the almost home invasion, and it all gets truly crazy from there. There's lots of life mate stuff, both Pet and Santo have oodles of baggage, and then there's the traditional martyr behavior that muddies everything up. It all ends in a HEA for these two, but no resolution in the bigger story. On to more books! Who is even left to pair up here?

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