Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Blood Sugar

Blood Sugar (Coven Daughters, #2)Blood Sugar by Kat Turner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I admit to not reading book#1 in this series, but was easily able to slide in at book #2 and engage in this pre-built world without issue.

We join Eve, a funeral director who has the gift of being able to set souls to rest. There's some extra stuff she gets with that, hearing them, feeling responsible for them, occasionally making mistakes that end up sentencing them to a horrible afterlife, etc. It's this last bit that has her in a fragile state when Jonnie approaches her. You see, he believes he is turning into a vampire. Somehow work of her gifts got to his stage crew and he hunted her down (ya know, like a vampire).

His anti-aging treatment is definitely doing something to him, but Even doesn't exactly jump at the chance to try to help him. It takes some convincing, but they end up on a grand adventure to figure out how his "ailment" may tie in to her fouled up soul issue. Along the way we get a healthy dose of dirty, smutty, goodness, some other paranormal folks, lots of questionable choices, and ultimately a happy ending. The witchy aspects of this appear to tie in to the larger series storyline, so I'm sure you get a little more out of the other characters if you started from book 1, but I managed just fine.

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Witchy Coffee

Witchy CoffeeWitchy Coffee by Erin Ritch
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was a cute romance with some maybe kinda witch elements thrown in. Heavy on the cute romance theme, no smut, but made me smile.

Florence grew up in her family coffee shop on the coast. Coffee is essentially in her veins, so it's no surprise that she works as a barista while away from home. After being fired right before holidays, she is happy to get away to visit family. There is a bit of baggage in her family and their shop, but the holidays offer a chance to escape for a little while. At least she thinks that, until she finds out that a chain coffee shop is looking to buy them out and may challenge a lot of things they took for granted.

So - who is the love interest (of sorts)? Well, none other than the guy looking to buy her out. He really takes a beating with a smile throughout this whole story, which is probably why he is pretty redeemable by the end. If you are looking for a nice, self-contained, holiday themed romance, look no further!

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Dragon Heir

Dragon HeirDragon Heir by Molly Webb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow! I am not sure what I expected from the cover and blurb, but this book was really great!

Thea is a tough loner, who is in denial about having friends, determined to succeed without her famous family's help, and loyal to a fault. When tasked with a job to hunt down a werewolf, she dives in with her usual enthusiasm only to stumble upon some really surprising secrets.

Thea herself is a shifter of sorts, and this world is divided into different territories run by various paranormals. Her own family is a bit of a ruling class of sorts, but Thea has long since broken from their hidden dark sides. She's making her own life with her own rules, and it is awesome. OK, so the beatings and threats are not great, but she has her own moral compass and follows it exclusively now.

The big story is around the "werewolf" she was hired for and the mess that comes along with it. Her case supporting the police ends up intersecting this one and just spirals from there. I loved loved loved all the characters in Thea's world and cannot wait to see where this series goes next!

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Claimed (Lair of the Wolven, #1)Claimed by J.R. Ward
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really don't know what I think about this book. Usually 3 stars means it was OK, but I probably won't continue with the series. I've read all the BDB books and their spinoffs but this was just... weird. And not in an engaging way.

Upon starting this book and getting through the first few chapters, I had to go check to make sure I was actually reading something related to the BDB. I thought maybe I was confused and had picked up some book about a wilderness based scientist who was studying wolves. Then - BAM - we get a single character from the series, her emotional baggage, only to get back to the wilderness for long stretches. Yes, there's a mysterious guy. Yes, there is a murder mystery of sorts and some big bad hotel coming in and destroying things. But... that's it. I couldn't find the paranormal hook that usually catches me. Even the decisions and relationship were just... off.

So - when does the paranormal come together? Well, we go back to Xhex a few times, but get no real payoff there. We get some romance-type-stuff with Lydia (the wilderness girl) and Daniel (the strange guy), along with some unexplained paranormal elements, but you know what else we get? Some really depressing cliffhanger. Boo! I probably won't pick up the next in the series and won't be tempted unless they cross over something big.

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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Saved by the Spell

Saved by the Spell (House of Magic #2)Saved by the Spell by Susanna Shore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have been dying to see where this series takes me, and this installment did not disappoint. While I think you can probably play catch up if you started the series here, it's probably better to go back to book 1, where Phoebe enters the "house of magic."

Poor Phoebe. She's had a rough go of it. She lost her home, but found a new one, but also went through the traumatic event of being cursed, learning about all sorts of paranormals, and then being told she isn't even a drop magical. New book, new chances, right? Well, unfortunately, after meeting a lovely man on her way to work, she finds herself paranormally repulsive to men. Her boss breaks the news to her, which leads them all on the hunt to find the fix.

There are quite a few twists and turns, but this book was pleasantly short and sweet when it came to the "big bad." While I was sad about the reveal (poor Pheobe), we end the book with a renewed sense of things to come for our girl. I am really enjoying this series, and most especially the characters that are Phoebe's new roommates in this wonderfully weird world.

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Night's Illusion

Night's Illusion (Children of the Night)Night's Illusion by Amanda Ashley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've read another book in this series, which has obviously been very well established at this point. That being said, I think these can be read as standalone or as part of the series - it does a good job catching us late joiners up on the general world.

Giovanni was a priest, but everyone still refers to him as father or a priest in their general interactions. You gotta get over that real quick, because this priest is looking for his lady love. Mara, the queen of the vampires, is very eager to help hook her favorite priest up with women, but fate has other plans. Not only does Giovanni end up with his long lost vampire sire as a big bad in this book, but he also randomly stumbles upon his mate. They don't call it out that clearly at the start, but Cassie and Giovanni have an instant bond.

Cassie is not in the best place when they meet. She's working at a dive, lives in a dump, and is generally unhappy and (when they meet) on the run from terrible men. Since Giovanni has no experience to speak of, Cassie and he begin courting in a very slow fashion. Sadly, the most we get in this book is fade to black scenes, but at least you don't need to worry about reconciling a priest in bed with someone.

As I mentioned, this world is well established, which means oodles of characters to touch base with, catch up with, invite places, and generally establish ourselves in this universe. It was weird and fun to see the varied faces come and go. Overall, we get a nice resolution (with some surprising sadness), and even get to conquer evil in the end (multiple ways). I would have probably appreciated the love and loss a little more having gone through the previous books, but still enjoyed this one.

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Breaking Badger

Breaking Badger (Honey Badger Chronicles, #4)Breaking Badger by Shelly Laurenston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't even know where to begin. I've only read one other book in this series, but I don't think having read them all would make this world and its characters any less insane.

Mads is a member of the insane, bonkers, crazy crew of badgers who plays basketball as their day job and creates mayhem in their off time. I really don't know how to begin describing the wacky characters that surround them. Are they the weirdest? Yes. Are the people they surround themselves with much less crazy? Not really. Max (one of the craziest)'s family is by far the most out there, what with their special powers of both insanity and shifter specialties. Throw in some drama around a job they went on, and introduce a family of tiger shifters and you've got the mind-blowing journey of this book.

Finn, probably one of the most down to earth, easy going characters in this book is pushed to his limit by the antics of the honey badgers. Lucky for him, there also is a somewhat less crazy honey badger in the mix - Mads. She balances his normalcy with a sprinkling of spontaneity. Their relationship was adorable and quirky to watch. As long as you are OK with the weird, lots of characters, a well established world, and paranormals - this is a truly entertaining read.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Dark Taste of Rapture

Dark Taste of Rapture (Alien Huntress, #6)Dark Taste of Rapture by Gena Showalter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Soooo, this book was really fantastic! It had all the witty banter from the previous book with a more enjoyable love interest in the form of Hector. Noelle is great, the story is great, but... for the last book in a series, it wrapped up exactly 0%.

Noelle is scrappy and awesome. We get to see some of her time in training and watch the slow burn that is Hector and Noelle's relationship. He's got a bit of an issue with relationships, since his hands can light everything on fire and/or go through someone's body (depending on the book, scene or chapter). Continuity is not your friend in this series, but who cares? We get to see behind the curtain of the wonderful show that is Noelle!

The book is split almost half in flashbacks and half in present day where they are tracking down a slave ring (yawn, so early series!). There is one random reveal, no big shockers other than that, and some weird twist for the vision we get to see in the last book - only one will come true and the other will kill Dallas? Weird, but OK. I enjoyed this damaged romance enough to ignore most all issues along the way. While I wish it tied things up for the series better, I guess there is yet another spinoff we need to get the answers about what happens with Dallas?

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No Rest for the Wicked

No Rest for the Wicked (Immortals After Dark, #2)No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've got to admit that I stuck my toe in the waters of this series at book 1 and gave up immediately. It seemed too forced/rapey for me to continue and/or enjoy the rest. In a determined struggle to complete a series, though, I ended up reading a short story that takes place almost parallel to this one and was pleasantly surprised. Since I didn't have another audiobook downloaded, I gave this one a shot, and was satisfied enough with it to continue the series after it.

This book can most definitely be read as a standalone (as shown by my taking a many year break between, which may as well have been starting at this book). We join Kaderin, who is hunting down a vampire, as Valkyries do. She gave up her emotions a long time ago, so nothing should stop her from ending his life. Of course, they end up somehow blooded/fated/brided? Which really just means that he gets his heartbeat back and they begin a struggle that can only end in bed. They both have some pretty massive baggage, yet somehow Sebastian is more practical about it all. Maybe because he is the scholar of the group, he manages to outthink other paranormals to get him into a secret game that Kaderin has a long history of winning (and destroying others in).

There's a lot of death defying antics, insane tasks, fun side characters I hope we come back to, and some sexy times, too. This book was surprisingly satisfying, even though you know from the outset that they will end up together. I enjoyed it enough to continue, which says something after my initial reactions to the first book in the series. Here's hoping we get more crazy girls driving guys insane.

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Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The Traitor

The Traitor (Fire's Edge, #5)The Traitor by Abigail Owen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've got to admit - this is one of the stories I have been waiting for since first meeting the mysterious Rune.

Rune's story has been a long time coming, so it shouldn't be easy for him but should be satisfying. This book delivers on all counts. It pushes along the larger story in big ways, pulling together the battle of the kings, the shadiness going on with the mates being taken, and Rune's backstory with his old team. Was it sad in parts? Yes, there are losses along the way, some shocking. But it was so very satisfying to see the guy who has been accused of "stealing mates" be dumbstruck by his own.

Hadyn has an unconventional dragon mate story. Her dragon mate recognized her too young. He may have been determined to wait for her to grow up, but was killed instead, leaving her in a state of limbo, newly orphaned, and adopted by her dragon's parents. Raised with full knowledge of dragons, when the time came to be on the run on her own, she is more prepared than any of the previous mates we've met. She scales Rune's old hideout's mountain to meet him, fully aware of the danger and trust involved.

I really enjoyed the banter and sizzle in this book, once they both get over their issues (somewhat). It was also particularly satisfying to watch all of Rune's old friends react to his somewhat uncharacteristic behavior. There are a bunch of battles and bad situations throughout the book that had me unable to put it down. I was really hoping for a good resolution and, while we got there, it really took some doing (and a lot of near death experiences). All in all, this book delivered everything I wanted to see for Rune.

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Deacon's Star

Deacon's Star (Orion's Order #3)Deacon's Star by M.C. Solaris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books are gigantic and addictive, so prepare yourself before diving in! As these build on a larger storyline, I'd also recommend starting from book 1 and working your way to here.

This story gives us the HEA we have been chasing for Deacon and Starr. They both have a lot of baggage, but Deacon is willing to do whatever it takes to end up with his Starr, while Starr is convinced that it's not worth trying. Throw these two together in a fight, but have them try to get serious about their relationship and it's the wrong kind of fireworks. So - weren't we done with these two in the last book? Well, a chance encounter catching a bad guy is really all it takes to restart the drama.

In the "background" (this book us huge, so the background stories could each be individual books!) we also get more from all our favorites - the girls being the focus. Aleia has been still struggling with a lot of issues that came from losing Nico and finding her somewhat lost love again. All of these non-romance related stories end up tying back to our larger big bad - the Mastermind. While we don't get full payoff there yet, we do get a nice step in the right direction for Nico's horrible capture in this book. Oh, and couple happiness (always).

So, back to Deacon and Starr - they have a real steep hill to climb in order to establish a solid relationship. There are a lot of bumps in the road, mostly bloody and involving a healer, but there's also the trust building that takes a long time for both of them. OK, maybe Starr takes the longest, but that's to be expected. I especially enjoyed spending time between Starr and the infamous "Whisper." I can't wait to see when she ends up with a mate! This book was long and took me in all sorts of places, but by the end I was ready for even more from this wonderfully build world!

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