Sunday, October 24, 2021

The Orphan Witch

The Orphan WitchThe Orphan Witch by Paige Crutcher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book includes a world and a half! There is a ton of set up and establishing the universe, complete with flashbacks, time shifts, and all sorts of witchy drama.

Persephone has led her life in fear. She was abandoned when she was young and has had a string of weird occurrences around her ever since. Always on the run from the weird mayhem that surrounds her life, she finally encountered a friend of sorts. That friend ends up being the entrance to a cursed island and what appears to be her destiny.

A curse was put on the island that traps the remaining witches there for a time, but will ultimately collapse. As Persephone discovers the true extent of her powers, her family history, and some tough choices (and romance, of course), there are all sorts of unexpected twists and turns. This book is dense and could easily be the introduction of a new universe. It was unique and involved many layers upon layers of information. Persephone ends up making some good decisions that had me rooting for her in the end, but, like I said, there are lots of ways this could have gone very badly for her. The ending is definitely a modification of what you'd expect for a HEA.

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Dark Desires After Dusk

Dark Desires After Dusk (Immortals After Dark, #5)Dark Desires After Dusk by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this one more than I expected to. Having met Cadeon in previous books, I wasn't really excited for him to make his match here, but Holly is GREAT!

The very two dimensional view of Holly from Cadeon's previous encounters was that she is a nerd who has OCD. I was pleasantly surprised to find a woman who can stand on her own and even behead people when necessary. Holly and Cadeon are definitely not a traditional couple, but when this book quickly resolves any barriers to them being mated (and then re-introduces some), I was all in. So, the big story here is a road trip to find a magical sword that can ultimately get Cadeon's brother back on the throne. A really long time coming, but I was immediately thinking - why don't they just go back to plan A - ask the guy who has the memories of some dude that knew how to kill their arch-nemesis? I get that Cadeon still believes he murdered his mate, but it seems a lot easier than this "give your own mate away after a long road trip" path. Meh.

Either way, we end up on this road trip filled with a lot of them working out how they can get to the end goal. Are there deceptions? You betcha! Also, martyrdom, miscommunications, and outright lies. All that you can come to expect from this series is all rolled in with a lovely heroine and her mate. This book was definitely one of the better so far, convincing me to buy the rest of the series and cue it all up.

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Sunday, October 10, 2021

Last Kiss Goodnight

Last Kiss Goodnight (Otherworld Assassin, #1)Last Kiss Goodnight by Gena Showalter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This spinoff series was hard to figure out belongs in the AIR previously setup world, but it definitely does. Not only does it start with Michael, of Eden's book fame, but we also get some agent references. Other than that, though, we get some aliens we were previously introduced to (species-wise), some we never met before (like Solomon), and a lot of randomness.

This book starts dark. Vika is kind hearted but only knows the circus life. Her father is evil and forces her to kill her beloved animals. If this is not your thing, don't even bother with this book, because it definitely goes there. Vika is constantly put in bad situations, made worse by her hesitation or lack of experience. The circus also apparently kidnaps aliens to use in a sort of petting zoo. How do they afford and/or get them? Inconclusive Lots of that in this book. Solomon is kidnapped and sold to them early in the book by a bad man I assume we will see more of in future books.

Solomon and Vika are drawn to one another, even though he is often described as terrifying and ugly. Solomon has his own baggage, primarily in the form of invisible dudes that represent good and evil and sit on his shoulder. I know. You get over it. They eventually migrate around and everyone else seems ok with it too. Whatever. There is a lot weirder and more confusing stuff thrown in to make it seem less off-putting. This book somehow manages to mash a circus standalone in with a setup world of aliens, while still making you learn a lot of new traits, species, and characters along the way. With only 1 book and a novella left in this "series" I'm not sure we will get true resolution (except for this one - we get a HEA).

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Mile High with a Vampire

Mile High with a Vampire (Argeneau, #33)Mile High with a Vampire by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I admit, 33 books in and I had a little trouble remembering who Quinn was in the larger group of vampires. The book does a good job catching those of us who have trouble remembering up without issue, while at the same time diving right into the action.

We join Jet and Quinn as they are survivors of a plane crash. Since Quinn is a vampire (as are the rest of the passengers) it's not so big a deal. Jet, unfortunately, is human, so he becomes the only possible blood source for some very injured vampires. Since Quinn is one of the only uninjured vampires, it's suddenly up to her to make sure he survives. This is well outside both of their comfort zones, but they manage to take on the task as best they can.

Quinn's story is that she was turned against her will. Her son is also a vampire and they were both forcibly turned by her ex-husband. Her son has definitely adapted and it helps that her sister is a vampire. All of this to say, though, that she is still very much fighting being a vampire. Her trip on the plane was actually so she could get some vampire mental health checkup. Jet is obsessed with Quinn, but she doesn't even remember meeting him right after her turning. He definitely takes it personally, and he's got a little bit of an issue with vampires in general, I think, at the start.

It's funny how quickly them running in the jungle for their lives will help them form a bond. The life mates thing helps too, of course, but it felt much less... abrupt, this time around. I found myself happy that they were on the run together and moving quickly through the courting typical of these books. Overall, either 33 books in I have gotten over it, or it was less jarring here. I'll keep reading these books until they run out of mates!

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Walking in a Witchy Wonderland

Walking in a Witchy Wonderland (Stay a Spell, #3.5)Walking in a Witchy Wonderland by Juliette Cross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This anthology should probably be read after the previous books so you can dive right in, but as most shorts, you might be able to muddle through. I enjoyed these little dirty stories, all either circling back to established couples or adding more rumors to to-be couples.

While this book says it takes place a #3.5, it really spans a few different timeframes. There are 5 shorts in here of varying length (some really quick, others more full length, some just a taste). If you aren't familiar with the characters, you'll get a crash course in the first story. There are a bunch of sisters and their mates, so buckle up! All of the stories tie together with the general holiday theme, which gives a nice warm feeling. They also have sizzle in the form of smutty goodness. These sisters are definitely not afraid to have some dirty good times.

If you're looking for secrets to be revealed here, there is some behind the scenes stories, but not a lot of really new surprises. I did enjoy the JJ story revealing how they ended up together, but we knew they were a couple from their displays. I can't wait to see which one of the sisters we get to follow in a full book next, and hope we get some resolution for the un-mated sisters.

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Dark Needs at Night's Edge

Dark Needs at Night's Edge (Immortals After Dark, #4)Dark Needs at Night's Edge by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I feel like this book was one step forward and one step back. While I enjoyed Neomi because she was very much her own person, but Conrad pushed us back into the questionable consent territory yet again.

Conrad is the crazy vampire brother of the others we have already met. I may have read these way out of order, because I read the short story and know what's going on behind the scenes here. I knew that we would end up with a happy ending, but didn't quite know how we would get there. Did I mention I really liked Neomi? She is by far the best so far of these girls, I think. She is also unique and I genuinely couldn't figure out how we would get to her being a non-ghost who could mate with Conrad.

So, how did we end up here? Conrad is crazy, and while it seems like he gets better throughout the book, he definitely still ends up with some crazy left in him. The whole "he has a secret in the memories of his victims" never really comes back up after some drama involving some demons. Neomi takes care of him through all of his recovery, which is also probably better than he deserves, but she doesn't take any of his crap. These two balance each other, until they end up pushing it a bit too much for my liking.

In here we see a bunch of familiar faces, too, coming in to varying degrees. Neomi gets her own girl posse and ends up saving herself in the end. While I disagree with them in general as a couple (she could do much better), it was definitely unique and kept me hooked.

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