Sunday, January 31, 2021

Ritual Magic

Ritual Magic (World of the Lupi, #10)Ritual Magic by Eileen Wilks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm going to put a disclaimer on this book that I would read anything with Lily & Rule in it. I love them, their relationship, this world, and all the characters. As we creep closer to their wedding, I'm like a fan girl waiting for it.

This book throws them another curve ball and takes away Lily's mother's memories for all her years after age 12. This is, of course, a magical mischief scenario, but not one they've encountered before. Since Friar, the big bad, made a getaway at the end of the last book equipped for elven mischief, it's only natural that it would materialize here. Oh, and Drummond is back! Lots of good stuff in here, and while it takes some bad things to gather all my favorites together, we get a ton of characters thrown in.

I really enjoy the way these books address beliefs and the core of a person. This in combination with the methodical way Lily investigates makes these books such a joy to read. I'm not usually one for police procedurals but this world is highly addictive and I'm not sure I could stop if I tried. We get a great happy ending in this story that has me eager to go right back into this world, but I know I will eventually run out of books.

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Wild Hunger

Wild Hunger (Heirs of Chicagoland, #1)Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I gotta say, if I didn't just finish the previous and original book series, I am not sure this book would be anything special. Knowing the history and all the supporting characters gave this an extra push for another star, and because I can't seem to stop any series I start, we will continue on to the rest of the books in this series, too.

Elisa is the only child of 2 vampires. Lots of magic and drama got the job done, but she's been raised in one of the most loving and protective environments. Timing-wise, it seems nice that she had built in friends in the form of the son of the shifter apex and the daughter of two super duper sorcerers. Those relationships are both a little different than I (and their parents) probably expected them to be exactly like them. While we definitely get some similar characters (Theo is Jeff 2.0, right?), this doubles down on the political mystery and intrigue angle and focuses less on the "being a vampire" thing that the original series did. Elisa, luckily, is pretty used to being a vampire.

So, what's the main story here? Elisa is in the vampire equivalent of a student exchange program and that puts her in service of the French delegation to peace talks that, of course, are happening in Chicago. That puts her in the place to face a sexy childhood friend in the form of Connor as well as her "secret monster." Both of these will probably end up going hand-in-hand, what with Connor being used to sharing skin with something "other." The big mystery involves someone trying to sabotage the peace talks and some rumblings both literal and figurative in Chicago. I'm interested enough to get where this series will take me. I'm also interested in the budding relationship and the inevitable reveal of all these secrets.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The Transylvania Twist

The Transylvania TwistThe Transylvania Twist by Angie Fox
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow! I did not expect to go where this book took us on this second book in the series. Right from the start, it took a hard left and didn't stop randomly turning until we, somehow, emerged at the other end.

Petra is still the unstoppable doctor, working in her barely passable accommodations, shacked up with her new boyfriend, enjoying some of the benefits of having lived out and survived the 3 prophecies. There's no real peace yet, but it is looking really good! Until it isn't. Galen gets called back for a mysterious mission and from there, things get weird real fast.

Petra's roommates are still the best, her decision making skills are still super questionable, but her motives are pure. There's a whole new round of prophecies, some people seemingly return from the dead to mess up the HEA from last book, and, oh yeah, she's got to stop the end of the world again. I think you may be able to dive in here as your book 1, but it is really nice to have the groundwork from the last book so you can just focus on the insanity that is Petra's life. Can't wait to see where she ends up next!

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Monday, January 25, 2021

Bjorn Cursed

Bjorn Cursed (Forgotten Brotherhood, #4)Bjorn Cursed by N.J. Walters
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This installment of the Forgotten Brotherhood series can, just like all the others, be read as a standalone, but we get a little more investment if you've been with this crew since the start. There's a slightly larger play going on behind the scenes, so in order to put the pieces together, or guess at motivation, you should start from the beginning (also - the books are great!).

This book handles Bjorn's unresolved guilt and deceased family. As the father of werewolves, cursed by the gods to go on a killing rampage to avenge his family's murder, he's got some baggage. Unlike all the other books, we don't go through the attraction building, misunderstanding phases that seem to be required for these types of books. Instead, Bjorn's dead wife somehow ends up back in the real world unchanged. They dive right into being together again, so we get a double dose of smutty goodness, but no real buildup there.

The mystery here is who is playing against who, why everyone is out to get them, and how they will manage to wrestle some happiness out of a pretty crummy situation. While we don't get all the answers here, we do get the expected familiar faces, some surprises, and a nice ending.

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Friday, January 22, 2021

Mortal Ties

Mortal Ties (World of the Lupi, #9)Mortal Ties by Eileen Wilks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love this world, these books, and all the characters contained in them. We even got some new characters along with the usual ones and I think I love them, too.

The big mystery in this book revolves around a theft of a magical device. It's stolen right under their noses and leads to all sorts of twists and turns. We discover some secrets, Rule has to face some assumptions about his past, Lily has to accept her new and improved abilities, and there are, of course, lots of bad guys to choose from.

The highlight here is always the relationships. Lily and Rule are wonderfully flawed but perfect in their own way together. The pack dynamic and multiple mantle issues we address in this book were really interesting, too. It sets up a lot of challenges that they will need to face moving forward, along with the lingering bad guys. I will eagerly read any and all stories set in this world and can't wait to keep going!

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

New Year, New Boo

New Year, New BooNew Year, New Boo by Tawdra Kandle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Trying to start the new year with exposure to new authors? Look no further! I went into this book with very little experience with most of the authors contained and was pleasantly surprised with a new list of authors to try!

Overall, the collection has a general theme around starting over, transition, or just a zany new life. The pacing of the stories was something I could appreciate, too. The first story in the collection is more of a jumping off point for a larger series or set of stories - there's gotta be more to a story about randomly turning into animals, right? The last story in the collection has a wonderfully finished ending where you can close the book and feel very satisfied.

In between there are some highs and lows, some stories being less uplifting and more focused on the journey, some giving you a glimpse into other worlds, and anything in between. A standout personally was the chance to revisit some familiar characters that Tawdra Kandle provided. While you don't need to have exposure to any of these books to enjoy the shorts here, I think they add a little wink and nudge to the previous fans. While I'm not usually one for short story anthologies, this was a nice way to go outside your comfort zone and give new things a chance - much like the theme of this set!

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Blog Tour: Dragon Revealed by Donna Grant

Dragon Revealed an all new not-to-be-missed Dragon Kings Novella from New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant is available now!

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant comes a new story in her Dragon Kings series…

The capture of a Dragon King is cause for celebration. Jeyra never dreamed she would actually face one of the creatures who destroyed her home. But the longer she’s around him, the more she finds herself gravitating to him. All it takes is one reckless kiss that unleashes desires and the truth that has been hidden from her to set them both on a course that could be the end of them.

Varek, King of Lichens, has known nothing but a life with magic. Until he finds himself on a different realm unable to call up his powers. Worse, he’s in shackles with no memory of how it happened. When he sees an enthralling woman who leaves him speechless, he believes he can charm her to free him. The more she rebuffs him, the more he craves her, igniting a dangerous passion between them. Can he protect the woman he’s fallen for while uncovering the truth – or will peril that neither see coming tear them apart?

**Every 1,001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you'll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

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She came to a sudden halt when her gaze landed on him. Varek had his back to her, and despite what little light was available from the torches, she saw he was naked from the waist up. There was a large bruise on his left side that extended onto his back. Her thoughts quieted when he dumped water over his head, and the sound of the chains rang loudly. She watched droplets run down his back and into the waist of his pants while more fell onto the packed ground and beaded there.

Even as she told herself not to look, her eyes moved to his head. His blond hair fell onto his forehead and cheeks as he bent at the waist. He splashed water on his face before dumping more over his head. Her eyes followed his right hand as it scrubbed at the back of his neck, then down his left arm. His left hand repeated the movements on the right side. He then tossed his head back, spraying her with water.

She barely noticed as her eyes ran over the thick sinew of his shoulders and arms. Varek twisted toward her and raked a hand through his wet locks before wiping a hand down his face to dispel the water.

“Good mornin’,” he said and sat back on a stool.

She frowned at the stool and the bucket of water. Neither had been there the day before. “I see you’ve already had company.”

“Aye,” he replied, not giving her any more.

Jeyra looked around, wondering if someone was in the shadows, watching.

“There isna anyone else here, lass.”

She snapped her head back to him. The retort she had died on her lips when she saw his chiseled abs. He didn’t have an ounce of fat anywhere on him. All the moisture left her mouth, making it impossible to swallow. Then her eyes saw something on his left arm. 

Jeyra wanted a closer look. She moved forward before she realized what she was doing and found herself close enough to touch the bars of Varek’s prison. But she didn’t move away as she took in the artwork that covered his arm.

“Is this what has your attention?” he asked with a chuckle and turned so that she could see his arm. 

“What is it?”

His brows snapped together. “Do your people no’ have tattoos?”

“Tattoos?” she repeated, testing out the word on her tongue. “No one decorates their body in such a way. Why do you have it?”

He shrugged and glanced down at the dragon. “When we shifted for the first time into this form, each Dragon King found one somewhere on his body. We might have always had them, but we didna see them in our true form. We honestly doona know.”

About Donna Grant

Donna is the New York Times and USA Todaybestselling author of over a hundred novels. Her most popular series is the breathtaking Dark King (aka Dragon King) series featuring dragons, immortal Highlanders, and the Fae.
In addition to her novels, Donna has written short stories, novellas, and novelettes for digital-first and print release. She has been dubbed as giving the “paranormal genre a burst of fresh air” by the San Francisco Book Review. Her work has been hailed as having “deft plotting and expert characterization” by Publisher’s Weekly and “sizzling” by RT Book Reviews.
She has been recognized with awards from both bookseller and reader contests including the National Reader’s Choice Award, Booksellers Best Award, as well as the coveted K.I.S.S. Award from RT Book Reviews.
Donna travels often for various speaking engagements, conferences, and book signings. She is also a frequent workshop presenter at national conferences such as RT Book Lovers Convention and Thrillerfest, as well as local chapters.
Born and raised in Texas, she also has ties across the border in Louisiana. Growing up with two such vibrant cultures, her Cajun side of the family taught her the “spicy” side of life while her Texas roots gave her two-steppin’ and bareback riding. She is never far from her faithful 80 pound dog, Sisko, or her cats. She can often be found at the movies or bookstore. Or buying makeup. And shoes.

Connect with Donna

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Monday, January 11, 2021

Review: Dragon Revealed

Dragon Revealed (Dragon Kings #1)Dragon Revealed by Donna Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These stories in the 1001 Dark Nights sets can always be read as standalone shorts, but are also enhanced by some previous knowledge of the world, set in an established series. I am familiar with the Dragon Kings world, though, admittedly, not caught up. That being said, I was slightly spoiled in the book immediately previous to this one, so if you are looking to avoid spoilers, make sure you catch up before diving in here.

Varek was just going about his holiday with a friend and fellow Dragon King when he found himself a captive. There's some missing time, but the shackles and cell are a dead giveaway. The fact that he can't use any of his typically easily reached powers also indicates some bad things. Jeyra is the one who captured him by breaking some rules, going outside her territory and into the areas of her world where magic works, and dragging Varek through to her realm. Motivated, of course, by revenge for the loss of her family by a dragon, Jeyra starts out very proud of her accomplishments, but things rapidly change.

Varek and Jeyra are clearly drawn to one another, even in these crazy circumstances. This world is not so different from the realm where Varek lived through betrayal by humans once before. Using some lessons learned from history, these two navigate the twists and turns of a world full of secrets and lies. There's a lot of sizzle between them, too, which doesn't hurt! It was nice to see some familiar faces and learn more about the yet another realm. I'm interested to see where this new branch of stories goes in the future.

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