Monday, August 26, 2019

Review: Dark Alpha's Redemption

Dark Alpha's Redemption Dark Alpha's Redemption by Donna Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was bound to happen - we are working our way through the Reaper ranks to pair them off with unlikely matches. This particular Reaper I didn't really remember, but that doesn't make much difference. Being such a cagey bunch, we don't know much until their stories anyway.

Bradach is a Reaper who has a huge issue with dark fae. He is, obviously, tasked with working with a dark fae for Death, in one of her infinitely wise decisions. Maeve is anything but your typical dark fae, so when these two are thrown into dangerous situations, sparks fly between them. Two loners plus battle equals sexy times. Simple math! The overall storyline, hunting Usaeil, is nudged along with the actions here. If you aren't familiar with all the players, the story, the dragon kings, etc., you should roll back to the beginning (or at least a few books).

There are a lot of loose ends still out there at the conclusion of this book. No, we don't hurt for a HEA - that's definitely delivered. Instead, a lot of key players are still MIA. I'm hoping a resolution shows up quickly, because it hurts watching the bad guys escape all the time. Sure, I could read a bunch of these Reaper tales, watching them pair off, but I want to see some bad guys get wiped out!

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Review: Fangs for the Memories

Fangs for the Memories Fangs for the Memories by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Usually you can skip over the short stories and still get the full picture, but how could you pass up a story on how Andrea and Dick Cheney end up together? I know we see them as a couple and I kind of get it after the fact, but how did he win her over?

This story fills in all the gaps - from the night of Dick's great-great-great(?) grandson's death, to after the Titanic themed wedding of legend. At this point in the series, you've probably already fallen for Dick's lovable shady ways, but this will guarantee it. Andrea is still acting as a blood surrogate at the start of this story, and is probably only alive because of the mushy adorable man who is now her husband. While a short story, it brought back all the lovey dovey feelings that existed before this series got a little clogged with extra characters.

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Review: Enchantress Underground

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

First - don't start here. We've come a long way and it's only fair to go through all of this with this merry band of misfits. We join the story already in progress. The gang is in hiding from Geralt's evil cult and all of his allies that are out to kidnap or kill Adrienne. For her part, Adrienne manages to pull up her big girl panties and become a legit leader of the resistance. The girl that was hiding from the cult all her life is gone now and in her place is a superhero-like enchantress. So what about the rest of her crew? Well they are all doing their part in their own way.

So aside from fighting the cult, Adrienne has also been working on curing an incurable illness, bridging allies that have never worked together before, and trying to be a good girlfriend and friend. There are a lot of familiar faces in this book, and we learn so much more about each and every one of them. The story culminates with *a lot* of battle, so be prepared! Not everyone makes it out alive. All of this, however, makes the story super addictive and engaging. I went from being somewhat confident in Adrienne's abilities, to believing her unstoppable like her allies. I absolutely cannot wait to see how the next (last) book goes. After an epilogue like that, how am I supposed to wait???

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Review: The Single Undead Moms Club

The Single Undead Moms Club The Single Undead Moms Club by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, I gotta admit - I had my doubts about this one. I'm not a big fan of mommy/son books, especially when it is smack dab in the middle of a series filled with paranormal romance. How does romance fit in with kids and vampirism? Well, quite well, actually.

Once I let go of the romance angle, I was much happier with this book. Libby is a single mom, raising a kid while managing her overbearing in-laws and a terminal illness. The obvious solution - become a vampire! Sure, there were some mistakes made, but Libby is a pretty darn good vampire after all of this. Of course, Dick and Jane are tasked with foster-siring her since her sire accepted an ad on craig's list (not the safest, best role model). Libby and Danny rapidly grew on me - and then we met Wade.

Wade and Libby are the typical angry frenemies that grow into way more. Their relationship is angsty, then awesome on the turn of a dime. This book is definitely not the typical, formulaic installment, and instead goes into a bit of murder-mystery (like the Jane books), peppered in some romance, and then topped it off with family stuff. There are a bunch of familiar faces at PTA meetings, bake sales, and all sorts of oher places that the series has never taken us before. While Libby's sire and friend were not my favorite, this book was still shockingly one of my new favorites.

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Saturday, August 17, 2019

Review: Scent of Betrayal

Scent of Betrayal Scent of Betrayal by Denise Carbo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a wonderful new series! I admit, I stumbled upon this series already in progress, starting with Book 2. While not optimal under any circumstance, I was able to walk into this already built world and enjoy the story without any issue.

This world is unique in that it blends a bit of alien backstory with shifters as most people know them. Called Shifters of Rishard, they are born with their powers and abilities to shift into different animals (some more than one). It doesn't appear to have anything to do with what their other family members can shift into, and clans are formed more by geography than type of shifter they are. Bethany, the lead here, has had a bit of drama in her life. While out trying to meet up with shifters outside her clan, she ended up being betrayed by her brother.

All that appears to have wrapped up and we join Bethany as she is making the journey back to her clan. Davis, a member of a different clan, can't seem to let her go, so essentially makes himself her bodyguard and escort back home. Bethany is so wrapped up in all of the fallout back home that it takes her far too long to recognize the attraction between them. There's an element of fated mates thrown in here, but what Bethany should be most concerned about is even more betrayal and threats to her life at home! This poor girl just could not get a break. Don't worry about her, though, because this book gives a nice HEA. There was a lot of introduction to some pretty entertaining characters along the way, so there'd better be more coming from this series so we can visit them, too!

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Friday, August 16, 2019

Review: Brave the Tempest

Brave the Tempest Brave the Tempest by Karen Chance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books leave me with a serious hangover! I'm not even sure what I went through, but I have a vague recollection of it being rough.

At this point, there is no way to play catch up in these books. You start at page one, and things are already chaotic. Start from the beginning and prepare yourself! These are not fun, happy, flowers and rainbows books. These are some serious magical mayhem books, where Cassie is almost always on the verge of death, taking more damage than Harry Dresden and still coming out on top (somehow). So, what's this book about? I have no idea. As a larger story, I know we are nudging things in the right direction, but other than just haphazardly fighting off enemies and scheming "allies," I don't know that there is a single identifying theme throughout. Things we do get? Pritkin and Cassie (yay?), our favorite vampire bodyguards, some pretty satisfying deaths, and a slightly surprising new direction for the next book.

I'm not even sure how to summarize this book because... damn. So much is just happening at all times. Lots of magic is thrown around, there's lots of time jumping and timeline damage that she's got to clean up, and there's a looming war between vampires and fae (maybe?). And Cassie still doesn't have an assistant! It's mind boggling and exhausting to read these books, but I simply cannot quit them. At this point you know what you're getting into when you pick one of these up, so no surprise there. Cassie does appear to be growing and adapting, so watching her character is probably the highlight of this series. All in all, I will keep reading this series until its over, but I definitely need a break in between.

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Review: The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire

The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As is my tradition, I have been reading all the books between the main books, and it is kind of critical that you read Gigi and Nik's intro before diving in here. We got to watch Gigi transition from a kid to an adult, and you need that in order to get on board with all the sexy times here. I don't know how you could make the leap without the ick factor otherwise.

So, as I was saying, we already knew that Gigi had some mystery man kissing her during the Christmas holiday, and that she was making some big life changes at the same time. She ended up taking the job working for the council, no matter how many complaints or arguments came along with it. Oh, and she's also working for her arch-nemesis. Downsides. I'm still not 100% on board with adult Gigi's life plan here, but I'm all for her standing up to the "adults" around her and making her own decisions. That includes getting involved with a vampire who doesn't remember meeting her.

Nik is having some trouble. There are large blind spots in his memory that he can't explain and while forgetful Nik and evil Nik seem to having liking Gigi in common, that's kind of where it ends. When Nik is all zombied out, he seems to want her dead. Couple that with navigating a vampire workplace and geeky coworkers, and Gigi gets a huge dose of adulthood all jammed in one summer. This book, again, gives us most of our favorite characters in one form of another, but is still definitely a Gigi book. I'm happy where we ended, even if the mystery was a little less tricky this time.

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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Review: The Rogue King

The Rogue King The Rogue King by Abigail Owen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book begins a new series set in the previously set up world of dragons and their fated mates. You can definitely start fresh here, but coming to this series with some groundwork definitely had me hooked from page 1!

The story that begins here starts with a phoenix. Turns out, if you have a phoenix mated to you, it automatically makes you high king of the dragons. Unfortunately for power hungry dragons, the phoenix must actually choose you, so there should be some wooing involved. That didn’t stop the evil melty current king of the dragons from trying to force himself on a phoenix. When that failed, and she found her own mate, he was determined to just suck her powers from her and kill any offspring. Said phoenix ended up having 3 daughters who had been trained their entire life for a dragon attack. Sent to various hidden places around the world, Kasia is the first one we meet up with. She is also the first one to be found by a rogue dragon for hire – Brand.

Brand has his own secrets to keep, so these two are evenly matched in hiding. They are also, surprisingly, evenly matched in running and fighting (or hot wiring cars, as the case may be). There is also, of course, some simmering interest between them. While on the run, things run hot (literally, sometimes), they are both finding their place in this world. Things they took for granted, the black and white imagined lines they drew, are all changed by the end of this book. As the intro to a series, this was a great start. This can certainly be read standalone, but with a start like this, how could you not want to read the rest?

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Saturday, August 3, 2019

Review: I'm Dreaming of an Undead Christmas

I'm Dreaming of an Undead Christmas I'm Dreaming of an Undead Christmas by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This short story was a pleasant surprise. I had always wondered if we would circle back around to Gigi so that we can see more of what happened after the Iris/Cal romance. While we don't get a complete and resolved story here with HEA, we do get to bridge the long gap of what happened in Gigi's life between the Iris book and the next one.

Gigi went to college, still dating her life-saving boyfriend, Ben. Remember when we knew her as the young and innocent girl? This story (which is somewhere between short and almost full-length) takes us out of that world and into the world of her becoming a true adult. When we left her, she was going to become a nurse or a doctor or something else that was inspired by Iris's brush with death. Well, that changed, because she showed aptitude for computer science. It's this that ends up pushing her towards vampires, much to Iris's dismay. Iris, however, has made some changes of her own. We knew she would eventually go vamp for Cal, but this book picks up some time afterwards, for Gigi's first Christmas home since then.

Iris, in typical Iris fashion, is determined to make it a nice, normal Christmas for Gigi, but there is nothing she can do to stop the chaos that is Half-Moon hollow. There's a lot of chaos, drama, and, well, what anyone would probably consider a "normal" dose of Christmas. We got to see all of our favorite characters in one form of another. We also got some confusing hints about hopefully where Gigi's future will be headed. As a bridging story, this does the trick. We get to turn the page on Gigi's story and I'm ready to see her life take shape.

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Review: The Undead In My Bed

The Undead In My Bed The Undead In My Bed by Katie MacAlister
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book for the Molly Harper story. I think saying that upfront is important, because that's the only series I actually have experience and knowledge of. The other 2 stories, while good, definitely were not as interesting to me, probably because I was playing catch up from the start.

The first story is Shades of Gray. This story introduced me to the world of guardians, demons, and vampires. Oh, there's ghosts, too! Noelle is super quirky and plucky, and is probably the best balance to the brooding vampire she is apparently destined to be with (a little muddy on the details of how their world works, to be honest). The vampire in this story is doing some silly martyr act, trying to avoid entanglements because he is somehow beholden to a demon due to some shady family dealings. There is a happy ending to this story, but I'm not sure I'd dive back into this world. It may have suffered from the narrator of this particular story, but I just wasn't as engaged in this one as the others.

The second story was Undead Sublet - my favorite of the bunch (obviously). Tess is a chef who had a little nervous breakdown. In an effort to reset her brain, she heads to the middle of nowhere, where she is rented a house that is (surprise!) already occupied by a vampire. There's some kitchen implement throwing, a prank war, sizzling chemistry, and ultimately a challenge that neither can turn down. By working together to win a "bake-off" (is cooking with blood in that category?), they are forced to handle their attraction and I'm happy to see this couple still present in the future installments. This was a joy to read and I was sad when it ended.

The last story was Out with a Fang - a shifter/vampire romance, told from a previously broken up couple reacquainting themselves with one another. Ruby had to catastrophically dump Michael after her father threatened to kill the poor human. As a shifter, she's only allowed to date paranormals. Lucky for her, she gets a horribly timed and chaos filled second chance. While lots of blood and fighting is involved, they still get to try again.

Overall, as a set of stories, I was happier with this one than most. Short stories are tricky, but this one had a good theme and generally good narration.

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Review: Special Valentine's Day Half-Moon Hollow Story

Special Valentine's Day Half-Moon Hollow Story Special Valentine's Day Half-Moon Hollow Story by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an adorable little short read set it he Half-Moon Hollow world. As probably the first time we get to watch all the guys of this world interact on their own, it was fun to watch. I was able to read this one for free online in the author's blog which a few people have linked to. As a serious completionist, it felt good to check off all the short stories between books. In the real world, if you don't want to read this one, you aren't missing anything critical, but you are missing some silly fun.

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