Saturday, June 26, 2021

Pride and Paranormal

Pride and Paranormal (Souls and Shadows #1)Pride and Paranormal by Adrienne Blake
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

OK, full disclosure - I've never read Pride & Prejudice. That being said, I don't think that is a pre-requisite for reading this book. If you enjoy paranormal romance with a bit of a historical feel to it - this is a book for you.

Izzy is a member of a bit of a manic family of witches. Her father is going through some financial trouble reconciling his early retirement with the non-paranormal demand for income. Her sisters are either getting into trouble, heartsick from romance, or reading a lot (and doing karaoke). Her mother is obsessed with marrying them off. Oh, and her distant relation is creeping on her and her sisters. All of this gets to a boil when Fitz and his friend/business partner move into an old house in town. Said friend and business partner ends up being part of the heartsick sister's story, but we generally care more about the annoyingly romantic Fitz.

Izzy and Fitz immediately do not hit it off. It's almost like hate at first sight, coupled with oodles of gossip, rumors, and general badness. It takes a lot of very random and seemingly unconnected interactions to get them to not hate one another (it even involves a dragon at one point!). There is a lot of build up to a romance that, I have to admit, I was a little put off by. Perhaps it is because this is supposed to be a paranormal retelling of a book I've never read, but it seemed to be a bit abrupt and... historical-feeling, the romance of this story. Assuming that is your preference for books, you should have no issue with the romantic elements in this book. As a book #1, we certainly meet enough characters (I didn't even touch on the vampire storyline!) to carry on a series for several installments. There is a lot of set up in this initial book that I can tell we will do a deeper dive into all the other characters in the future.

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Hexing the Ex

Hexing the Ex (House of Magic #1)Hexing the Ex by Susanna Shore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I tore through this book so quickly because I simply could not put it down! The characters, the adventure, everything was so much fun!

Phoebe gets back from vacation to find her roommate has ruined the apartment. Getting kicked out shortly, she finds herself wandering the streets only to find a room for rent. Said room ends up being so much more than she bargained for, but it the best way. This group of assorted magical/paranormal housemates end up being exactly what she needs when a package for her boss ends up cursing her with the ability to grant passive aggressive wishes.

There's all sorts of discoveries for Phoebe in her new life - vampires, werewolves, mages, warlocks, and so much more! She handles it with surprising calm and ends up being the glue that holds the curse mystery together. Who knew that this room for rent could turn into an amazing twist of fate? I loved every second of this first installment and cannot wait to see what happens next in the House of Magic series!

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Shadowed Steel

Shadowed Steel (Heirs of Chicagoland #3)Shadowed Steel by Chloe Neill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I admit that it took me a little while to get into this series spinoff, but I'm now fully on board and Team Elisa.

We join Elisa as she is settling back into her life in Chicago. She had a hell of a time with Connor and the pack drama, but things are OK now - right? Well, in true vampire fashion, they set up a committee to handle "rule breakers" and they are now after her for turning the would-be victim of the pack monsters. This book really gave Elisa the opportunity to save herself instead of somehow being saved. Sure, there are tough paranormals ready to throw in for her, but she is the ultimate heroine here.

The story revolves around what starts as a demand her Elisa to submit to punishment and somehow ends with her teaching the vampires a lesson. She doesn't need a house to be awesome, and she is growing into a bit of an understanding with her hidden "monster." The romance was OK, and the friendships she has are awesome, but Elisa's independence (in a non-teenager-in-a-tantrum way) was refreshing to learn more about.

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Shifters in the Night

Shifters in the Night (Mystic Bayou, #5)Shifters in the Night by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love this world, and all the characters we meet! Give me 100 books set here, and I will gladly devour them all.

This book can easily be read as standalone, but why would you? This series is amazing, so please start from book 1 and work your way through. This book picks up with Jon, loner brother of the already paired off seal shifter. He is trying to enter society again, at the request of his nosy brother, but is having some issues. Not only is he concerned with the town people who have long memories of his youthful mistakes, but he also appears to have peeped on a trespasser on his property.

Lea is in town to help with the further development of Mystic Bayou, to support the rapid influx of visitors and additional locals. While her boss is a monster, she is pretty good at her job, a side-effect of her doe-shifter abilities to read folks. She was going with her gut when she went skinny dipping in Jon's yard (not that she know it was his land at the time), and the two begin to circle one another in a wonderful way.

It's such a joy to know that these bite sized installments will always end with family, love, and an even larger town community. There's no stress and I absolutely love them for it. If you haven't checked out this series yet, do it!

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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Savor Me Slowly

Savor Me Slowly (Alien Huntress, #3)Savor Me Slowly by Gena Showalter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is definitely the best of the series so far. We got a lot of familiar faces from the previous two, but also a healthy dose of smut that was somewhat missing in previous books.

We met Jaxon in Mia's story as the supportive team member, but he is definitely a harder, different man than we previously met. He's been kidnapped when we see him again, and tortured beyond the point where non-agents would have been able to resist. Another torturer ends up entering the room and taking him as her own hostage.

Mishka is an assassin, part-robot, part-alien, unique entity. She's controlled by her "master" and forced to do horrible things. The love story here is closer to fated mates than any sort of romantic tale. These two are mostly trapped together, but become obsessed. There is smut a-plenty, so no worries there, but there were a lot of muddled motivations thrown in along the way. While people are dying from an incurable disease, we are taking time during a firefight to duke it out amongst allies? Really? Visions are infallible, even though that was largely the basis for book 1? The overall story doesn't even wrap up neatly, so I assume we will still deal with the big bad from this book in the next one. While this is a big step up from the previous books, I'm hopeful we get an even more solid installment next.

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Nicodemus (Stone Warriors, #5)Nicodemus by D.B. Reynolds
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love this world, the characters, and most of all the vampires that started it all, but was excited to get to the conclusion and finale with Nic's story. This book was like 3 books in one and I'm sure would be better enjoyed in more bite-sized portions (at least for me).

We get ALL of Nic's story in here. There's time in his own kingdom, then in the past in Paris, then still in the past in other locations, until we finally get the resolution I was dying for all book. This book was very different than the others because it reads as more of a historical mystery than a paranormal romance. We are introduced to the elusive Antonia and shown their earlier quick romance, which leads him on a chase through dimension and time.

Was I ultimately sucked in? Yes. Nic's story is addictive, just like all the others. We get to watch the showdown we wanted, with lots of familiar faces from previous stories. Really, that last part was THE BEST! I'm happy we got there, and I want to dive back in with the vampires.

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Lover Unveiled

Lover Unveiled (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #19)Lover Unveiled by J.R. Ward
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think this book was one of the toughest to get through for me. Yes, we are at book#19, so things are a bit formulaic at this point, but there were just too many subplots for me to enjoy this one. Also, Mae was not my preferred type of lead female. Sigh.

OK, so, it's hard to sum this one up because in BDB style, there are like 10 other things all winding through this one main storyline. We start with Mae, who is trying to use evil magic to save a loved one. We also meet Sahvage, who has a battered past and just want to die. Then we reunite with some other characters from previous books, meet new friends of those people, and there's a meteor. THEN there is a demon, who we met previously, and a book. Oh, and THEN there is the thief from the bastards, who once got electrocuted.

Somehow, all of those things end up winding together, but it takes A LOT. And all of that has to happen while we get on board with the love story between Sahvage and Mae. I just couldn't do it. Mae makes all the wrong decisions no matter how much support she gets from everyone around her. Ultimately, the BDB ends up cleaning things up (mostly), but for me, this one was a miss.

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One Fine Fae

One Fine Fae (Mystic Bayou, #4.5)One Fine Fae by Molly Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love this world, this town, and all their characters. I would read/listen-to 100 of them! I was shocked to find I inadvertently missed this short story, so dove in immediately.

This short and self-contained story centers around a newcomer, Charlotte. Remember the search for a midwife for mixed-shifter pregnancies? Well, Charlotte is the answer. She arrives in town with her trailer and is immediately immersed in the wonderful world of Mystic Bayou. This includes the wonderfully adorable, but woefully cursed Leonard. As an assistant in the league offices, he's pretty well established in town, and touted as being one of the only non-evil assistants (Jessica is questionable).

These two are cute, though a little rushed, in their romance, but that could be my own selfishness talking. I would love to get even more from these two! The bonus here, though, is that we get to spend less time in the "awkward misunderstanding" phase and more time in the love. While you can definitely read this alone, you should really read all of these books, because they are awesome!

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Darkness Betrayed

Darkness Betrayed (Guardians of Eternity, #17)Darkness Betrayed by Alexandra Ivy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I gotta admit that I have been hopping in and out of this series for a while. While I know the general world, I tend to miss some big events along the way. All of that to say that I don't have trouble rejoining this crew and enjoying each installment.

This book follows Brigette, the previous baddie who was under evil influences. She's punishing herself and trying to perform her own form of redemption when she is suddenly faced with an opportunity. She's a bit damaged and determined which somehow ends up putting her in league with a demon/vampire uprising.

Xi has been tasked with finding out who the new big bad is, as evidenced by a series of strange and concerning occurrences in town. He ends up having to team up with the ex-big bad, Brigette. Obviously these two end up reluctantly attracted to each other in the fated way that happens in this series. They both have their own tragic story, and that lends itself to making it feel less rushed and more romantic than others. I liked their sweet moments, but, as usual, Levet was a highlight.

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