Sunday, November 28, 2021

Jingle Bell Wolf

Jingle Bell Wolf (Wolff Brothers #2)Jingle Bell Wolf by Terry Spear
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was a nice, holiday read, even for those of us who pop in and out of these sets of books. I'm one of those people, so I appreciate that these books can be read as standalone or as part of the larger world.

Gabrielle has some unresolved issues around snow, but she has been convinced by her gal pals that they should all go skiing as their yearly trip. She arrives first and ends up breaking some rules. Her addiction to swimming doesn't stop her from entering the pool after it's closed, sending Landon her way. He's part-owner of the lodge and usually swims after hours himself. From first glimpse, he is smitten. Being that they are both wolf shifters, and the town itself is shifter run, it's no surprise to them that they are able to easily chat. It evolves from there, with lots of smutty goodness and all that comes along with it. Oh, and lots of skiing!

This book made me wish for the holidays and a nice ski trip, complete with all the hot cocoa I could drink. As Gabrielle slowly starts to think about a more permanent trip here, her gal pals are working a possible murder case that keeps them away. There's a lot of scheming and plotting, but everything (including the murder mystery) works itself out for a nice HEA.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Catching Hell

Catching Hell (Jinx McGee, #1)Catching Hell by D.B. Sieders
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What an interesting and unique start to a new series! I'm no stranger to PNR, so it's always nice to see something completely new.

Jinx is the black sheep of the family. Normal folks might blame her unconventional crash pad with tech savvy nerds, or her fashion taste, but the real reason is that she is demon possessed. She has been possessed ever since she was young, and when she was old enough got pulled in to the world of demon hunting. Having a demon working inside your body makes you specially qualified to hunt down the "bad ones" and make a good living, too. On a normal hunt, though, things take a turn for Jinx.

I have a lot of open questions, but most of them are about D. He's Jinx's possibly, almost boyfriend who grew up in her closet. He's a demon and disappeared on her at a pivotal moment, leaving her alternatively believing he abandoned her or was dead. Surprise - not dead! They have some sizzling chemistry when he reappears, but bring more questions than answers. This story and its extensive cast of characters end up having to face a lot of twisty-turny betrayal and reveals. At the end, while we get to close one chapter, there are several more (books, hopefully!) left for the band of misfits to address. I can't wait to see where this goes!

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Love Binds

Love Binds (Tails from the Alpha Art Gallery Book 4)Love Binds by Cynthia St. Aubin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book had spunk, sarcasm, and so much relatable inner monologue that I was nodding along the entire way. I'm sad I am joining at book#4, but happy to have met these wonderful characters.

So, as I said, I'm joining this series already in progress and a lot has happened. Turns out that Hanna is some head honcho in the shifter world, but not everyone is on board with that. She's got to convince them that she can shift (which she hasn't been able to do), that she is fit (not in the non-cheese eating sense), and that she has the heart needed to do the job. Oh, and she needs to go to some big event, too.

On top of all that, she's still navigating her relationship with Abernathy, the rich shifter guy who has a long standing history of loss that makes him a little bit overbearing. All these characters have clearly been well developed when I met them, so I am reaping the benefits of the first 3 books. Almost forgot - there's also the typical ex with a heart of gold (that is pretty smutty, too). He just so happens to be a vampire now, and probably wants to kill Hanna. So, yeah, there's a lot going on, but then there's chapters of them babysitting Hanna's niece and nephew. I'm so sad that this story arc ends here, but happy to have been exposed to the wonder that is Hanna.

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Werewolves Prefer Shortbread

Werewolves Prefer Shortbread (Christmas Cookies)Werewolves Prefer Shortbread by Dakota Issacs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a super quick read that had everything you need (minus the smut) to make a wonderful Christmas read.

Callum has recently become the guardian for a bunch of young girls. Sounds weird, but when you throw in the fact that they are all shifters, all bound to hide themselves from outsiders, it makes a lot more sense. Unfortunately, to Lily, the woman who had her grandmother evicted from Callum's property upon his arrival, it makes less sense. Their feud begins there, and fireworks start.

Lily is the local baker, known for her awesome cookies and whatnot. She's surprised when the evil-doer, Callum, shows up one day and buys some of her treats. Throw in some further misunderstandings, some attraction, adorable kids, and you have the making for a reluctant romance that spirals out of control. The "out of control" part is really what ends up testing them both. I loved this sweet, short story and would gobble up a dozen!

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Pleasure of a Dark Prince

Pleasure of a Dark Prince (Immortals After Dark, #8)Pleasure of a Dark Prince by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not even sure how to rate these anymore. The stories are all very different, but ultimately have the same pros/cons.

So - what's this one about? Lucia is a huntress who escaped "the devil" and traded her chance at love for her life. Bonus? She gets to be a really good with a bow and arrow. Garreth is a reluctant temporary king while his brother is missing. He's king of the Lykae, but not really engaged. When he finds his mate, however, everything changes. Knowing she can never be with him fully without breaking her vow to a goddess, Lucia takes him on a merry chase. Looking back, it's kind of weird that they end up in the amazon hunting giant monsters, but, eh, these books are weird.

The relationship here wasn't one of my top faves, but still good. There's the usual questionable consent issue that this whole series has in general, but at this point everyone knows what they are in for. Garreth and Lucia's book almost seems like a middle book of the series/trilogy/whatever, because we visit with some other characters, move some big chess pieces around, and set up what will go down in the future installments, all while pairing these two up.

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Sunday, November 7, 2021

The Cursed King

The Cursed King (Inferno Rising, #4)The Cursed King by Abigail Owen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am so sad to see this series come to and end, but it was a truly satisfying ending.

The last sister of the phoenixes still has to pair off, so it's no surprise that the last book is Angelika's. She was not gifted with any special powers when her mother died, so she is not surprised she remains unmated. Her only fascination? Airk. This wounded dragon who cannot shift for fear of going feral has held her attention since they first met. She even offered to mate him but he refused, in true martyr fashion. This stupid man proved pretty infuriating for most of the book, changing his mind at every turn "for the good of Angelika." You know the drill.

These two have serious chemistry and it's insane to deny it, but here we are. It takes a lot of life threatening situations, Angelika's amazing stubborn streak, and finally fate stepping in (in the form of some shocking twists and turns) to get these two together. Do we get resolution with the larger high king storyline? Yes, yes, yes! We also get to see all of our favorite characters return in some form or another. This is definitely the ending to this series that I wanted and needed.

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Awakened (Diablo Lake #3)Awakened by Lauren Dane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved loved loved this book! This series is great and definitely stands out in the shifter/witch/southern/paranormal romance department.

Ruby has returned to Diablo Lake after getting her education. She's a powerful "green" witch with the ability to work with plants and nature. Her family (and dogs) are happy to be on the property again, but a search for a rental ends up putting her face-to-face with her last Diablo Lake boyfriend Damon. He's a shifter and a high ranking member of one of the two shifter groups in town. He is also still carrying around some baggage from his father's secret crime and subsequent execution.

These two are AMAZING! The sizzle, the romance, all of those things and they had me hooked from the start. Damon's southern charm is also a bonus here. On top of the great romance, we also get some mystery thrown in, and some really great supporting characters in the form of Ruby's BFF's and their families. This world is so rich, I could read 100 books set in this town. I was happy that these two ultimately get to their HEA, and the town secrets get revealed, but was so sad to have this book end! Here's to many more!

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As Above, So Below

As Above, So BelowAs Above, So Below by Jennifer D. Bokal
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book had a little bit of magic, myth, romance, and adventure all rolled in to a quick read. Is this the start of a series set in this town? I hope so!

Carter is on a mission to find out what happened before his relative died. It takes a bit of doing, but he finally ends up in a town without a map. This town has purposefully made itself hard to find, protected by magic to keep the normal humans out. So why can Carter find it? Turns out, his family has a bit of an interesting lineage.

Fiona, the local bookstore owner and assumed leader of the town (eventually) is suffering from a loss of her magic. While coming to terms with this, she is faced with a man she never thought she'd see again. They shared a kiss when they were younger and then he disappeared. Of course, there's more to the story than just that. There's all sorts of other myth and legend out in the open in this town that Carter is forced to confront and acknowledge after he unwittingly gets sucked in to a town mystery. There is, of course, an element of romance and sexy times thrown in on top of the building adventure/showdown. While we get a good ending for these two, this town clearly has more to address in the final chapters.

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Saturday, November 6, 2021

Kiss of a Demon King

Kiss of a Demon King (Immortals After Dark, #6)Kiss of a Demon King by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books all take a bit of a weird timeline approach, but this one is set in the time pre-car crash from the previous book, to after the end of the previous book.

Rydstrom ends up captured by Sabine, who is sister to his archnemesis. As if that isn't bad enough, it takes him out of the quest for the magical sword forged to kill said archnemesis. That is somewhat forgotten when, of course, it turns out that Sabine is Rydstrom's fated mate. There is a lot of tying up, sexy times, a bit of questionable consent that even includes crying, but then ultimately a HEA. We saw a little snippet from the previous book, and I was concerned I would not be able to support Sabine being matched with anyone, but she really does grow on you.

This book pretty neatly ties up the big Rydstrom/brother drama/quest for crown thing nicely. I appreciate that it took several books to build to this, but the end result was worth it. I still have about a hundred questions, but we have so many more books to go, that I can definitely wait for more resolution than we got. I hope we see some of these characters ultimately get their own books and pair off happily, too. Especially Sabine's sister!

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Black and Blue

Black and Blue (Otherworld Assassin, #2)Black and Blue by Gena Showalter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sigh. I guess I knew we would have to somehow redeem Corbin after his entrance in Noelle's book, but I somehow thought it would be less of this. That didn't stop me from enjoying another one of these books. There was the usual set of stuff we didn't need at all that would probably benefit from some editing, but overall, it was a fun chase that ended with a HEA.

Corbin and Evie are frenemies. Her father is Corbin's employer/father figure and it has all sorts of baggage with it. It doesn't help that Corbin has a reputation of being a man-whore around town, cheating on all his girlfriends constantly. It's for the job, of course, but the world somehow doesn't know that. Don't worry, though, these two end up getting identified as spies all over the place, making their future world super suspect (but I'm getting ahead of myself).

So, how do these two people who hate each other end up together? Well, we join the scene of the bombing from Corbin's perspective this time, which gives us a look at his time on the run, which leads him to the only un-bombed part of the team (sort of) - Evie. She is (lucky for Corbin) a surgeon, so she patches him up and they begin their obligatory romance. There's even a big of a mystery (not so big), that ends up putting them both to work tracking down leads and whatnot. At the end of this one, we see everyone reunited and ready for another installment? We only have a novella, though, so I have some doubts that John will get more screen time...

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