Saturday, December 31, 2022

The Perfect One

The Perfect One (Love in a Small Town Book 4)The Perfect One by Tawdra Kandle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love love loved this one! Ever wonder how Alex, the ever-present best friend in a small town, meets his match? Well this is the short story that introduces Cal into the Burton universe. These two are adorable from the start. Cal certainly makes Alex work for it, but the HEA here is completely worth it! These two are great to see in future installments, and even more interesting to see as they work towards a wonderful romance!

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Be my Boo in a Small Town

Be My Boo in a Small Town: A Year of Love in a Small TownBe My Boo in a Small Town: A Year of Love in a Small Town by Tawdra Kandle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story was super short and definitely different than the rest in this series. We join a supernatural hunting duo who are paired together and fighting an attraction. Since Chrissy is a hunter and Nash is a shifter, they shouldn’t want to get along, and they don’t until they end up face-to-face with another couple fighting against fate. It was interesting to look deeper into the supernatural side of Burton and was definitely a different spin on the expected small town romance.

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Tits the Season

Tits The Season: A Christmas Romance in a Small Town: A Year of Love in a Small TownTits The Season: A Christmas Romance in a Small Town: A Year of Love in a Small Town by Tawdra Kandle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Celeste and Ty’s story is short and sweet. While there has been a lot of built up expectations and some resentment on Celeste’s part, they are able to come together (for a good cause, too!) and share some romantic Yuletide cheer. It was really sweet watching Ty try to win her over and even better when we got a satisfying HEA.

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Sunday, December 11, 2022

King of Midnight

King of Midnight (Midnight Breed #18)King of Midnight by Lara Adrian
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s sad to think this is the end of this series. While there have been ups and downs along the way, the series as a whole never failed to be interesting and engaging. The ending was satisfying, and what more could you ask for?

I was definitely a little worried about how much carnage would be involved in the last of the series. With no further books, they could kill anyone! We are joining this book already in the midst of a post-apocalyptic fight between the Order and rogues (or the big bad behind the rogues). The odds aren’t looking so good, honestly, and the bad guys appeared to have the upper hand in the latest battles. One miscalculation ends up hurtling the order into chaos that had me screaming at the choices made that led us here.

Darion ends up stepping up to take the lead while his father is out of commission and boy does that change things. He views rules with a little more latitude than the others, willing to take the risk to win the war. Lucky for us all, it starts to pay off almost immediately. Unlucky for him, Selene takes notice of him and Order again. Here’s another shocker to me - Selene, the ominous big bad for many books, was somehow… likable by the end of this. Darion and Selene are the key players in this story (with many cameos from familiar faces, too), and the author managed to convince me that this villain was ok.

The larger storyline, which I thought we would leave hanging, ended up being about the ancient. Remember the big explosion and crystal theft? Well that all comes back to bite them. Had everyone just worked together, none of the end battles would have happened. Sigh. Turns out, though, that we get a solid HEA for the survivors which is all we could wish for. I’m happy everyone ended up mated, happy, or satisfied at least. It’s been a long journey, but I think this is a book that will satisfy the long time readers.

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Hoppy Easter in a Small Town

Hoppy Easter in a Small Town (A Year of Love in a Small Town, #4)Hoppy Easter in a Small Town by Tawdra Kandle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is definitely my new favorite of the series! It was filled with all the sweetness you’ve come to expect in these small town stories, but just won me over from the start. Who would’ve thought I would be rooting for these two but I was so happy when they got their happy ending!

Grace is a waitress at the local diner. She also happens to be pregnant. Is she with the father of her child? That’a a “hell not” but in Burton you’re never truly alone. The town has rallied behind her 100%, as they do, but she’s also determined to make her own way. Spencer moves to town and is quickly thrown into the thick of things when his boss at the law firm abruptly takes paternity leave. On the way to his first eventful day he stops for breakfast at the diner and tumbles right into love with Grace.

I didn’t realize I would enjoy a love at first sight book so much, but these two are just amazing and adorable. Even if you’ve never read a single story set in this universe, I guarantee you will like this one.

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My Lucky Day in A Small Town

My Lucky Day in A Small Town (A Year of Love in a Small Town, #3)My Lucky Day in A Small Town by Tawdra Kandle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Faith & Isaac - what an unlikely pair! For those of you who haven’t been previously introduced to the wonderful town of Burton - welcome! This world is full of rich characters who always surprise you. I highly recommend getting the full experience, but these short stories are wonderful little introductions.

Isaac has a bit of baggage when it comes to dating. Raised in a very conservative household, he’s managed to skip over dating for most of his life. He has, however, developed a crush on a newcomer to town - Faith. Faith has traveled from her hometown in Ireland to take over the hospitality business part of a set of cabins that Isaac has helped with. These two seem rather different at first, but after a bit of commiserating at a St Patrick’s Day party and a surprise snowstorm, they end up in a completely different spot. There’s a lot more to this story than a simple romance, but I was 100% on board by the happy ending.

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Be My Valentine in a Small Town

Be My Valentine in a Small Town (A Year of Love in a Small Town, #2)Be My Valentine in a Small Town by Tawdra Kandle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Matt is a local resident of Burton who ended up rapidly climbing to success. As with most Burton stars, he ends up back at the Road Block to play as a favor for his mentor. While he started there as a bus boy, it’s neat to see the change in dynamic when he comes back. There’s also a little added wrench thrown in to his seemingly simple return home. As part of a publicity stunt that Matt’s PR person cooked up, he’s fake engaged to another celebrity, Alexandria. It seems to suit them, until they are placed under small town scrutiny. Does it blow up in their faces? No, actually quite the opposite. Seems that they were both “faking it until they made it” for their own true love story! This was an adorable story and I wanted even more of these two by the end!

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A New Year in a Small Town

A New Year in a Small Town (A Year of Love in a Small Town, #1)A New Year in a Small Town by Tawdra Kandle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Regan & Jackson do not disappoint in this short story set in Burton. While you don’t necessarily need to know the whole gang from Burton, it’s nice to revisit some familiar faces along the way.

Regan has returned to her hometown after a bit of a surprising breakup. While she’s come to terms with it as a good thing now, it leaves her in a bit of a bind because she drunkenly proclaimed she would be engaged when next she saw her hometown friends. Her mom and Jackson’s mom, however, have a plan for that, putting them both under the impression that they should go to the transitional New Years celebration together. Being good kids, they agree, but it’s awkward.

Jackson alway assumed that his crush was not reciprocated. Regan assumed the same. Together they wasted a lot of years, but that all comes to light on this wonderful New Years. Misunderstandings are remedied, with sexy results!

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The Immortal

The Immortal (Rise of the Warlords, #2)The Immortal by Gena Showalter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book 2 in the series and I’m not sure what I expected. The first book really took you for a ride that had a lot of choices along the way that I questioned. I’m happy to report that this book didn’t use the template of the first so we get some new stuff introduced along with some more(?) likable characters.

Ophelia is known as a failure by the other harpies. She’s a mix between a nymph and a harpy so has already broken the (now removed) rule of chastity among those looking to fight for general status. She’s also been burned by someone she thought she loved, so she’s a little gun shy when it comes to men. Halo is known as the machine and for good reason. As one of the group of warlords currently occupying the kingdom, he’s not been known for his emotions or anything akin to human-ness. As the next task approaches, Halo knows he will have to win to make up for the favor lost in the last round.

This story reads a bit like Groundhog Day meets that Tom Cruise movie, where there’s a lot of relived death and resetting the timeline, but an overall goal that will get them out of the loop. While Ophelia and Halo both agree to not be romantic, it blows up in their faces when their true natures are screaming at them about the fated mate status. We get a good amount of smut, paranormal epic fights, mythical beings & powers, and overall a good chance at a solid step forward for the big war brewing. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this one after a little hesitancy to re-commit. This book got be back on the warlords train, so happy to continue on with the next book!

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Witcha Gonna Do?

Witcha Gonna Do?Witcha Gonna Do? by Avery Flynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For the start of a series, this book definitely reads like a story set in a fully established world. I was surprised to find that we are only at the beginning and excited to watch the books further evolve all these interesting characters!

Tilda is the “dud” of the family. Her family also happens to be the tippy top of the witch hierarchy, so it’s especially embarrassing. The add to her already heaping plate, she somehow keeps getting matched with Gil, an infuriating witchy sort with his own hidden baggage. These two dance around the issue until an absolutely shocking turn of events - Tilda unknowingly triggers something that only witches and one particularly rare book can undo. Enter Gil, to save the day (sort of)!

Tilda is definitely not the damsel in distress type, and has surrounded herself with the folks in town that also don’t fit their expectations. It’s this crew that rallies around her to really save the day. This story ends up resolving itself in a HEA, but I have so many questions about the other characters! I guess that ended up getting me hooked and I’m eager to learn more about this universe!

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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Dragon’s Claw

Dragon's Claw (Dorina Basarab, #4.5)Dragon's Claw by Karen Chance
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this shorter story on my kindle (I’ve been doing the books via audible), thinking that maybe I was having an issue with the narration. That wasn’t the case, while I liked that this was a more bite-sized version of the mayhem usually included in the world of Dory, this was still a struggle to finish.

This story is essentially a mystery - how did a bunch of vampires end up dead with bullet holes but no bullets? This ends up taking Dory into a weird alternate dimension with Ray. The Ray parts were definitely the best here. We get some “angel” stuff, some vampire political drama (sigh), some familiar faces, and an ending that left me exhausted and feeling lost again. Maybe I’m reading these wrong and I need to break them into 1 chapter chunks. My typical reading style is +1 hour at a time, which in this type of book adds up to 4 insane fights, 3 POV jumps, and a whole mess of imagery. It manages to make me feel like I read a book an a half by the time I take a break.

The good stuff in this book all had to do with Ray. The bad stuff in this book all had to do with dimensional shifting and politics. I’m definitely taking a break from the series for now.

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Shadow’s Bane

Shadow's Bane (Dorina Basarab, #4)Shadow's Bane by Karen Chance
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

These books make me feel dumb. There is so much POV swapping that I am completely lost most of the time or the action scenes are so ridiculous that I just stop caring as much. Either way, I think I need a break from Dory/Dorina.

This book was about… a lot of things. The bigger story is about slavers and what they want to deliver as their end game. To get to the resolution here we have to jump through a ton of hoops, each more ridiculous than the last. The good here? Claire’s coming to terms with her awesome abilities. Ray in all his scenes (he is the star here). Mircea and Dory’s growing relationship. L-C winning prizes for Dory’s “kid.” The trolls being awesome (but a little too political in this one). The bad? As I said above, it was so hard to keep things straight between the insane action scenes with too many combatants, the flip-flopping POV (Dory/Dorina, Dory/Mircea, etc.), or the fact that for all the craziness, nobody important ever dies. I’m going to give the short story after this one a shot, then probably take a break because these books are EXHAUSTING to read.

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Playing with Fire

Playing with Fire (Tales of an Extraordinary Girl, #1)Playing with Fire by Gena Showalter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book definitely lands somewhere between a 3 and a 4 star read, so erring on the side of how I felt at the end. That being said, I was a little worried at the beginning.

Belle is flakey, though she persists that she is definitely not. She ends up getting fired from most jobs because, even though she is the sole provider for her dad’s assisted living bills, she can’t seem to be a good employee. She shows up late, is rude, and doesn’t appear to take anything seriously (even with her dad’s chronic condition). When a scientist runs across the street into her coffee shop, all hells breaks loose. There’s a mysterious shadowy government agency trying to find him after he disappears, and the cops never actually show up after the chaos. That doesn’t stop Belle from drinking her unattended beverage and that was one too many bad decisions for the universe to take.

Rome shows up in her apartment after she passes out for a few days. He’s also part of a shadowy agency and hiding (badly) his own magical powers. Belle is developing a set of her own that threatens to light all the things on fire and blow all the things away. I guess we are supposed to feel the attraction between these two, but it starts out pretty icky with him changing her while she (a stranger) is unconscious. Bonus points for him not killing her? Weird. Oh, and we very quickly meet Belle’s new sidekick, a young boy who became an orphan but has enough money to proposition her on the street. A match made in heaven!

Throw all of these characters into a life-or-death situation for the family Belle unknowingly (or knowingly?) endangered, plus a psychic ex girlfriend of Rome’s who is oddly OK with them making out in her living room, and you’ve got a big showdown at the end. As we round towards the finish, we meet another interesting electricity powered dude I’d like to know more about, but there’s so many other loose ends to tie up! We get to a HEA, but man I need more! I also need more explanation for the new job, the very hasty bonus romance, and where everyone else goes from here.

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Sunday, November 20, 2022

Darkest Misery

Darkest Misery (Miss Misery, #4)Darkest Misery by Tracey Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m liking where this series is headed and eager to pick up with the next book!

That being said, I guess this was a necessary evil type of installment. Jess is forced to work with all the paranormal races and the Gryphons in order to try to stop the apocalypse. That’s kind of important, but nobody can find a way to get along, with the satyr contingent ending up being one of the worst in a surprising and yucky way. There are a few different layers of crappiness that all work together to somehow push Jess on a trip to France to try to get some progress. It’s also surprising that we get very little of the main boyfriend and wayyyy more Devon. My level of OK with this is on the same page as Jess’s.

So, do we make progress in the larger apocalypse storyline here? Yes, but it felt… bad. There are a ton of questions and things I need resolved, but I am content to let them be worked out later when we have the full Scooby gang back together. I kind of think I ended this book liking the Gryphons more, which leaves me very conflicted.

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Antonio: Vampires in Europe (Vampires in America, #15)Antonio: Vampires in Europe by D.B. Reynolds
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve read all of the previous books in this series, and while I don’t think that’s necessary, it definitely helps understand the overall world and buildup to the current focus. I’d also recommend checking them out because, while I still enjoyed this book, there may be others you’d enjoy more.

This book is Antonio’s story, which really ends up being Rachel’s tale. Rachel is an assassin for the Society, a shadowy organization that kills “others.” Her mother is the head of the organization, and Rachel was treated as an orphan since she was very young. Her connections and ability to persevere ended up getting her a coveted spot in their crew of assassins. Lately, though, it seems like her jobs are getting harder and harder, leading her to believe they may be trying to retire her early. Her latest assignment, to assassinate Antonio, reinforces that.

Antonio is a vampire lord and really should not even be on Rachel’s list of possible targets because they are so unevenly matched. The plan is to seduce him, which also shouldn’t work, but vampire mate bonds work in strange ways. It takes a large portion of the book for these two to even be in the same room, so if you’re looking for lots of romance and smutty good times, there isn’t a bunch in here. The majority of the book was spent in the buildup to what is a pretty awesome battle. To be honest, I was more excited about what the epilogue may be hinting to next than this couple.

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City of Night

City of NightCity of Night by Linsey Hall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was so good! I delayed writing a review because I really wanted to give this book the justice it deserves.

The name and general description seem to indicate this will be another PNR with reluctant heroine and sexy bad boy demon romance. Is that true? On the surface, sure, but this book is so much more. Cora has worked for some bad people doing bad things with her even worse powers because her mother sold her off when she was very young. When she finds a bookshop inheritance in New Orleans, she takes the opportunity as a way to escape and start a “real life.” Unfortunately for her, this life comes with a book shop that’s haunted, paranormal territories that require a certain level of obedience, and random folks getting nabbed off the street. It’s the last that finally pushes to many of Cora’s buttons and sends her back into hunting.

She finds a partner in the local demon leader, Talan. After a little fighting and arrogance, these two end up lighting the pages on fire. The more Cora fought, the more I was rooting for them to end up having some fun times together. Working together on the mysterious disappearances ends up being the push they both needed to get over themselves. It was fun to watch the unique blend of paranormal elements in this universe unfold and I absolutely cannot wait for another book in this series!

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Sunday, November 6, 2022

Samhain’s Bargain

Samhain's Bargain (The Summoner’s Mark Book 4)Samhain's Bargain by J. D. Blackrose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a wonderful short story to take us between the previous book and future one! After all the insanity and loss from the previous story, everyone is still very raw.

Becs is still recovering and adjusting to the loss of her boyfriend/guardian angel/BFF. This is a slow process, and she has found solace in her friends, her inherited shop, and even the ex-mobster Gregory. Gregory is going through his own grieving process, having accepted that his mom is stuck in a horrible hell world. He’s trying to be good, but lots of things are fighting against him. Namely - Lucifer has decided that he is the weak link here.

In this story we meet Samhain, who is eagerly looking forward to his once a year visit to earth, to check in with his worshipers and generally party it up. Lucifer ends up connecting with him with nefarious intentions, using him as a ticket to Becs. All in all, this was a good “between” story, helping us transition from the loss/grief angle and into one where Gregory is trying to pivot to being bad, but for good reasons. I’m eager to see where this world takes us and how their relationship evolves.

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Saturday, November 5, 2022

Darkest Desires

Darkest Desires: A Club Fray HalloweenDarkest Desires: A Club Fray Halloween by Raven Hush
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This short story was dirty and fun. I’m not familiar with the Club Fray world, but I don’t think you need to be to gobble up this Halloween tale.

Enota has been burned by previous Doms and is taking a break from the scene while still working at the front desk. This particular club is filled with shifters of different varieties. That’s why when a human named Mace walks in, she immediately tries to hide him away in one of the rooms. After gettin him there, she inadvertently locks them both in. Through a bit of conversation, a tour, and sharing, they end up together in the most intimate of ways. This story resolves in a HEA for both and some smiles all around (and sexy times).

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Warrior Unraveled

Warrior Unraveled (Stealth Guardians Book 3)Warrior Unraveled by Tina Folsom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is what I’ve been eager for - the official cross-over book for Scanguards and Stealth Guardians.

Wes is the resident witch in a bunch of vampires, so it makes sense he would roam about causing trouble. Well, it starts as trouble, when he is held in a cell after using a Stealth Guardian portal in the previous book. He manages to win that lot over, but it all comes crashing down again when Virginia, a new council member, reminds everyone that he could be a threat. Things escalate pretty quickly after she takes him to see the council (and get locked up again), where they end up in the demon’s realm, then on the run, then in sexy times, then trying to figure out who is sharing information with the demons.

Wes really shines here. Virginia is conflicted and guilt ridden but eventually realizes how awesome Wes is. These two are an unlikely couple, and maybe that’s why it is interesting. We get oodles of familiar faces showing up as the two factions work out a way to work for the common good. If you haven’t read the other series, I highly recommend it! Hopefully these snippets of personalities have given you the push to expand into the vampire world. Either way, this was another good book in the series, further pulling me into the Stealth Guardian world.

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Master Unchained

Master Unchained (Stealth Guardians, #2)Master Unchained by Tina Folsom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m happy we immediately got to circle back to Hamish in this book and he definitely gets a karmic hit after all the ribbing he did about mates in the previous book.

Hamish has been burned before by someone he thought was his mate, but was really the enemy in disguise. It’s no surprise that he is slow to trust and happy to avoid women most days. After recently turning down a position on the ruling body of their kind, he couldn’t very well turn down a guardian assignment, too. He wants to, though, when he is tasked with protecting a woman and pretending to be her boyfriend. Tessa, the woman in question, is just as angry about the arrangement, since the deciding event for a “bodyguard” was a series of death treats. It’s not a huge surprise, because she’s running for office on a platform to clean up a city decimated by crime. It’s this battle that aligns Tessa and Hamish fully, making them reluctantly accept the situation.

This would be good and well, but this secret Stealth Guardian ends up giving up his secret rather quickly when demons attack. Throw in a mystery, more attempts on her life, and oodles of sizzling sexy times, and you’ve got the romantic love story of Tessa and Hamish. Do they fight? Oh yeah, they fight. But all that ends up making the HEA we get even sweeter. Another good one for the series, especially because we officially merge this and the other world of this author at the end here.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Lover Uncloaked

Lover Uncloaked (Stealth Guardians, #1)Lover Uncloaked by Tina Folsom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not really sure why I put off reading this spin-off series for so long. I’ve read the partner series to this by the same author and love them. Maybe it’s the Stealth Guardian name? When I tried to imagine what they were about, it seemed to come with an angel connotation, but don’t worry - they are certainly not saints here. They are more like the best elements of witches and vampires smooshed together, ruled by a council.

Aiden is the son of the ruler of said council and he’s been trying his whole life to make up for the early death of his sister. With that chip in his shoulder, it’s no surprise that he believes he will never fall for one of his charges. It’s exactly what happens to him when he meets Leila. The council puts him in charge of protecting her because her research inadvertently could give demons access to human minds without their usual tricks and persuasion. Leila has personal reasons for her research which makes giving it up not such an easy task. These two definitely don’t see eye to eye at first, but the sizzle is definitely there.

The larger world building that happens here is also a highlight. We meet the local team of Stealth Guardians, learn about their rules, traits, behaviors, and enemies (namely - demons). The romance may have been a given, but I really enjoyed the characters we met and hope they all find their mates along the way in the books to come. I’d definitely recommend this series, with or without Tina Folsom world building exposure. The book was a good length and very addictive.

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Garrett's Destiny

Garrett's Destiny (Dark Protectors #15)Garrett's Destiny by Rebecca Zanetti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a long strange ride it has been to finally get Garrett’s book. He’s been a character that has either been on the fringe of or the star of books in the past. Now that he’s grown up and plays a more adult role (as basically a womanizer), I’ve been waiting for him to meet his match. This book did not disappoint.

I admit - I was a little worried that I wouldn’t like grown up Garrett. He’s been with the motorcycle club and the shifters for so long, trying to find a mate that is destined to try to kill him, but still ride on the back of his motorcycle. Coming from a family of other powers, I’m sure he’s struggled to find his place in their world. Being on his own (yet somehow with a pack) makes him into the man he is today, and when confronted with insurmountable odds, he just leans in.

So - who does he get matched with? Don’t worry, it’s not a regular in the series, or anything that you’d expect. Her name might be Destiny, but that’s where the standard storyline ends. She’s for all appearances 100% human and also inexperienced in all ways. After running into his gang seemingly by random, Garrett and her begin their mating dance with the usual suspicion, secrets, and reveals playing out. Destiny has some whoppers when they come out and it made me worry for Garrett’s ability to have a HEA. Just when I thought we got over one hurtle, another popped up in surprising ways. For a series so many books deep, you’d think you would stop being surprised but I couldn’t have predicted this story at all! I was completely satisfying by the ending, though we are left with lots of larger plot lines that really need wrapping up. Here’s hoping for some really big battles in our future!

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Lover’s Knot

Lover's Knot (Dorina Basarab, #3.5)Lover's Knot by Karen Chance
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For something that I know causes a lot of drama even up until the book in Cassie’s series that I stalled on recently, this book was super confusing and weird. I know, it’s a +0.5 so I shouldn’t expect the world, but… still! I was just getting used to liking this world and this character! Now I feel like I’m a little less excited.

Dorina and Dory (the two parts of the whole) are still figuring things out, which for us means that we get weird Mircea flashbacks in the middle of a scene that seemingly have no rhyme or reason. Because of this, I never really got on board with the weird fashion world story or the weird plane drama. Overall it felt very much like a Cassie book because of the amount of mayhem and insanity jammed into one little story. Since I’m trying to let Cassie’s primary storyline cool off until I forget how much I stopped enjoying that, this was like a slap in the face here. I enjoy Dory’s story because it’s less grandiose (think Spider-Man level drama vs insane Superman/Batman/Other Avenger Drama). Meh, I’ll continue on, but this was a dud for me.

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Friday, October 14, 2022

Destined Dragon

Destined DragonDestined Dragon by Laura M. Baird
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was quick, fun, and sprinkled with sexy times.

In an established world that I was unfamiliar with, dragons exist. They are kept secret but they interact with humans. One such dragon shifter is Raibert, a Vegas hotel owner who is hosting CES as one of his key events. Layla is a young woman who has decided to relocate from the middle of nowhere into the hustle and bustle of Vegas. She literally runs into Raibert and he knows - she’s his fated mate. Does she no? Nope! She assumes he’s just a hot rich guy who would have no interest in her.

Well, fast forward to her working a CES booth when he turns up again and again to “woo” her. The romance is quick and escalates to almost death and sexy times in a blink. If you’re looking for a long romance, this ain’t it! We get a lot of fate involved in a quick wrap up of their story. It was 100% enjoyable and I’d be eager to see the rest of the world.

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Sinister Desires

Sinister DesiresSinister Desires by Faedra Rose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Woah - that may be the weirdest smut I’ve read to date. I probably should have refreshed my memory on what this was about before diving right in, but dive in I did!

This is a very quick and dirty read about a goth girl who, when walking home after being humiliated by a fling, meets up with a real life jack-o-lantern with all the parts you’d need for smutty goodness. Was it dark? Yes. Was it dirty? YES. Did it somehow manage to have a romantic happy ending? Also, somehow, yes! If you enjoy a weird read to go along with the Halloween season, I assume this is for you. I have no clue how to rate this on a real scale, I just gave it a fun 4 stars out of 5.

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Devouring Darkness

Devouring Darkness (Heirs of Chicagoland, #4)Devouring Darkness by Chloe Neill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is the best of Elisa & Connor so far! Something just clicked for me at this point in their tale and now I am 100% team ElCon? team ConElisa? Whatever the name, I’m on board!

Elisa is still adapting to working for the supernatural cops. Connor is, too, but he’s got his hands full with rowdy pack mates, trying to prove he’s got what it takes to be the next alpha, and some interlopers showing up to cause even more drama. They still manage to find time to have a solid relationship, which just seems impossible with all the other baggage they both have. It was nice to see. Lulu also has her own drama in this book, what with the resurfacing of her parents for a visit and a new spotlight on her powers.

The larger story here is about a demon who wants to take over Chicago (don’t they all?). Turns out that there are wards that were set up to keep such a thing from happening that were not really shared with the current paranormals. When they start popping up, everyone is understandably freaked out. It gets worse when Elisa and company suddenly find themselves without their key allies and sources of information. Don’t worry - they manage to figure their way out of it in the end, but it was a nail biter!

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Blood of Zeus

Blood of Zeus (Blood of Zeus, #1)Blood of Zeus by Meredith Wild
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was definitely something unique. I don’t think I’ve ever stumbled upon a book that managed to combine the legend of Zeus, college demons, English lit, and smutty goodness.

Kara is a cursed woman who knows her days are numbered. She is delaying the inevitable by going about her lengthy college career. Said career ends up putting her in Max’s literature class. Max has his own demons (ironically) that stem back to his childhood. He’s got strength and powers he doesn’t understand, but his mother won’t give up any details on his dad. Even the details he has seem contradictory and incomplete. After Kara and Max connect in the sexiest of ways, even more powers seem to surface and confuse him.

Since Kara can’t readily share her family secrets, she tries to hide her romance but that obviously doesn’t last. This book ends in a bit of a cliffhanger, with some secrets revealed but no true follow-up on them. I’d be interested to see how they manage to navigate this new world where demons and gods are roaming about.

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Fury’s Kiss

Fury's Kiss (Dorina Basarab, #3)Fury's Kiss by Karen Chance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I… I think I just became a fan of Dory/Dorina in this book. Something about the right combination of backstory, insanity, Ray, and saving the day has made me want to read more of this series. I admit to pushing myself through a few books but this one changed me (I think).

In this book we spend a lot of time in Dory’s head trying to fix her issues. Don’t worry, she is still filled with issues by the end (maybe even more?), but it wasn’t as painful as you might expect. I honestly found more interest in her than the overall storyline. What was the story about? I guess faerie and smugglers and portals or something. It results in a huge battle at the end of the book and some earth shattering revelations. Meh. The big reveal was really about the division between Dory (the human/vampire) and Dorina (the vampire/human). It makes sense. Sort of.

Turns out, Mircea isn’t such a bad guy. He loves his daughter and to try to save her, built some divide between her two natures. This helped keep her alive but is having some unsettling consequences in this book where she’s losing more time. Oh, and there’s some child? Lots of side quests here. I’ll focus on the part I enjoyed - we get to see the true dynamic between father and daughter, and daughter and herself play out in a really unique way in that it all happens in her head. As this series plays out, I find myself enjoying Mircea, “Du”, L-C, and Dory a lot more. Not to mention Ray, who is obnoxiously voiced in the audiobook, but is kind of saving the day here. I’m eager to see where this whole Senate storyline goes in the next book!

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Sunday, October 2, 2022

After the Bite

After the Bite (Argeneau #35)After the Bite by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I usually start with a disclaimer, but 35 books into a series - if you started here you should know that there’s a ton of world and character building that has gone on before this one. I think we even got an abridged nano explanation in this one. I tend to skim them more and more each time. I’m pretty sure you *could* actually start here and it would be passable, but these books are fun and silly so start with book#1 for maximum enjoyment!

This book is Valerian’s mate finding story. He’s an avid golfer and has decided to settle down a bit and literally buy a farm. He still works as an enforcer, but you can tell he’s a little weary of life. A mix up in his golf cart rental ends up having him meet the owner of the golf course for the first time. She is, of course, his potential life mate. Makes sense, since his mate finding friend sent him a tip about this area. Things take a bit of a darker turn when we learn that it’s possible a serial killer is out to get Natalie, said life mate. She’s also got a young child, which makes the whole sexy time thing a bit lighter than other stories.

I liked the damaged and relatable(-ish, because ya know, vampires) love story in this one. There is still smut and whatnot to some degree, but it was nice to see all the familiar faces come out of the woodwork for an “all hands on deck” mission. That mission ended up being helping Valerian to convince his mate that he’s awesome, but still. I’ll keep reading these books forever -they never fail to delver.

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Spellcrest Academy – Year Two

Spellcrest Academy – Year Two (Spellcrest Academy #4-6)Spellcrest Academy – Year Two by Michael Pierce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books are completely meant to be read this way - in year long chunks, read one right after the other. If I had to stop between these, I’d be mad and would have felt incomplete. That being said, I’m totally sad that I’m caught up! I need more Maeve.

I took a bit of a break between Year 1 and year 2, so when I started and they dove right in - I felt a little lost. That faded quickly, though, and only 2 flights later, I mowed through all the stories contained. The theme of these books is around the secret spellcasting society and how secrets are inevitably the academy’s undoing. Maeve and her friends are all keeping secrets of some sort and end up coming out of book #6 a bit worse for it (some more than others). I don’t want to spoil the whole story arc here, so I’ll give a high level review of the ups and downs.

Maeve starts completely in her element. Is her mom now a teacher? Yes. Is her ex now back on campus? Also, yes. But she was doing OK until another curve ball came her way. That stupid skull ends up setting in motion a lot of good and bad things. We meet Toby - good. We meet vampires - bad. Did I question a lot of Maeve’s decisions (especially with boys)? Yes, god yes. But I managed to overlook it because her friends are awesome and I think they’ll have her back if needed. One thing, that while we wrap up a lot, I felt was left unfinished - the people who grab Maeve and put in motion some truly horrible things don’t seem to get enough punishment in the end. Maybe I’m just bloodthirsty? Either way, this world and all its characters are amazing - can’t wait for more!

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Saturday, September 17, 2022

Dark Alpha’s Command

Dark Alpha's Command (Reaper, #15)Dark Alpha's Command by Donna Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another solid installment in this world that I’ll start my review with the following note: If this is your first adventure into the Reaper world (or this universe) it may be a little bit overwhelming. There is a lot of back story, characters, drama, and romance that lay in the pages before those of this book. I’m sure you can read this standalone, but you’ll miss all the great nuance that’s thrown in. I’d recommend starting wayyyyyy back at the beginning, but know that can seem daunting.

This story is finally Balladyn’s redemption. He has been the good guy, the bad guy, the sort of good guy again, and now is finding his place among the Reapers. As a bit of an oddball because of his history, made especially awkward by his ex being the mate of the Dragon Kings’ leader, he has been understandably standoffish. Rhona is in an unusual spot herself. She’s the leader of the Skye druids, but feels unqualified for the position, not being a magical powerhouse herself. Upon arriving to a standard meeting, she’s attacked and somehow summons none other than Balladyn himself. How? Well, I think I’m still confused about that, but here we are!

Balladyn does the typical martyr act and throws all his sins on the table to allow Rhona to reject him before anything starts. Lucky for us, she doesn’t, so we get some good sizzle along with the larger storyline. We get some nudging for the Aisling and X story, but what we really attack (haha) is Lena, the head of the big baddies. Combining all their baggage seems to work both magically and romantically for these two, so we are gifted with a huge battle in the final act. While we still have one more book in the series to tie up loose ends, this was a good step forward overall.

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Thursday, September 15, 2022

S’mores Siren Song

S'mores Siren SongS'mores Siren Song by Virginia Barlow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a very quick, self-contained read that gave us just a taste of what is clearly a larger world.

Addy is a siren who looks like a mermaid. She’s been trying to help out her local fishermen by luring fish back into the harbor for them, but the evil corporate seafood guy just keeps breaking laws to get what he wants. Their feud has escalated and Addy has gotten the attention of the law herself, but to investigate the concerns of a business owner, who Addy is also. Ben, the “law” in question, ends up investigating, but hopes to find a mermaid himself. He also, lucky for us, has no problem combining business and pleasure, so starts a fling with Addy. This swiftly turns into more on all fronts, escalating quickly into a race for their lives. Overall, this was an easy read with minimal loose ends.

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Ruby Fever

Ruby Fever (Hidden Legacy, #6)Ruby Fever by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These book are so good that while I’m happy we wrapped up a nice HEA for Catalina and Alessandro, I’m so sad we got here! They are jam-packed with awesome action, in a world I am absolutely in love with, and still manage to have oodles of heart.

We join Catalina with a bit of time having passed. The gang has regrouped into a compound more appropriate for both the notoriety of their relatively new house, and the amount of warfare that they are attracting with their ongoing battle. Good news - the big bad from this trilogy ends up getting completely and ultimately resolved in the epic showdown we all wanted. The bad - we had so many battles building up to this, that it was EXHAUSTING for a reader. No real complaints, but these books definitely have you on the edge of your seat for a while. There is definitely real chances that you lose someone, so these bloody battles are nerve wracking.

Catalina shows true growth by the end of this series, and not just in romance. She navigates a very complicated story here, with so much deception and secrets that I have to applaud her. Does she lose it sometimes? Sure! But she is the undisputed best leader of the houses we met. I wish this book was 300 more pages long so I could continue to live and breathe in this world, truly. Sadly, all good things must come to an end so we need to turn the page from Catalina to, hopefully, the last remaining unmatched sister. More please!

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Saturday, September 10, 2022

Death’s Mistress

Death's Mistress (Dorina Basarab, #2)Death's Mistress by Karen Chance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book broke my book club, so while I’m giving it 4 stars for where we ended up, it gets a little tough from the start. As someone who has read the other series with Cassie and understand a bit more about this world, maybe that’s needed to properly follow a lot of the chaotic, messy scenes with little explanation thrown in.

Dorina is now working with her dreaded father. This is OK, but I wish there was a lot more troll involvement in this book. What ultimately ends up being the story revolves around a rune that was supposed to be gifted to Dorina’s roommate’s son, the heir to the thrown. Said rune is stolen, sold in a very complicated and confusing tale, and for some reason only Dorina can get it back. Maybe it’s because she has enemies in all the factions involved? Either way, she’s on the case and the smut level was low until L-C (I’m not spelling his name out and fighting autocorrect every time) shows up to immediately up the smut.

L-C is on a mission of his own to get back the much discussed Christine. Yeah, that doesn’t quite go the way he wanted. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Ray, who’s the undisputed star of this book. He’s a decapitated vampire who ends up playing a huge role and probably saving stuff more than Dorina throughout the book. Maybe he and the trolls can get a spinoff series. While this book was clearly a turning point book, I’m a little scared where it will go. Since my book club has given up on the seres, this leaves me all alone to power through. It is a little exhausting reading these books in the way that reading the Cassie series is exhausting. So little time passes and so very much damage is accrued. It seems unsustainable and makes me want to take a nap.

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Hunter’s Blood

Hunter’s Blood (The Hunter, #1)Hunter’s Blood by R. Sullins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book took a little time to get cooking, but once it did, I couldn’t stop. It was a bit like a smutty mix of Buffy the vampire slayer meets moody and possessive Dracula. I hope you read that as the positive comparison I meant it to be.

Ivy is a bit of a loner, having been the primary caretaker for her injured sister. As twins, Ivy naturally feels a bit of responsibility towards her car, especially when they were both in the same crash that took their parents. There are, however, oodles of secrets that Ivy is keeping from almost everyone. During a run after work one night, she comes face-to-face with the evil that lurks in this world. They are seemingly drawn to her, for supernatural reasons that are better explained by her rescuer/rich stranger-turned-trainer vampire.

Crispin is the king of vampires in the region, has tons of power, and has sworn off women until Ivy marches into his life. He does all the rich vampire stuff to try to lure her in, complete with sparring matches, paying her bills, etc. Somehow, though, this doesn’t come off as canned vampire storyline. Ivy and Crispin have roadblocks, yes, but once they move firmly into romance they go full steam ahead. I liked that - knowing that we will probably go through some sort of savior thing, but knowing that at least we wouldn’t have this stupidly predictable miscommunication subplot. All-in-all I ended up liking a lot of the characters here, even the rather moody twin. Definitely worth another look at future installments.

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Friday, September 2, 2022

Bad Girls Drink Blood

Bad Girls Drink BloodBad Girls Drink Blood by S.L. Choi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a nice blend of fantasy, action, and mystery with a little smut thrown in for good measure.

Lane is a no nonsense blood fae hybrid who has become a bit of an unofficial leader of the business she and her two other sisters run. As the “heavy hitter” of the bunch, this makes sense, but this trio definitely balance each other out. While they may not be the same variety of paranormal, they are a close knit bunch. During a failed business run, Lane ends up at the local paranormal bar to do some business and check on things when a simple decision ends up putting her on a bigger quest. Said quest involves lots of secrets shaking loose, Lane further discovering her skills (aka monster of monsters status), and a massive amount of damage.

I’d be hard pressed to categorize this book because while it is definitely not a romance at the center, it has some elements of that in the form of a sexy barkeep and one ornery blood fae. The action is almost the center stage act here because it was AMAZING, especially in the last act. I enjoyed meeting all the players and as book 1, I assume we will definitely revisit them. I felt like by the time I finally got the world built in my head, we had sadly reached the end. This book may have taken some time to get cooking, but when it did I couldn’t stop!

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Monday, August 29, 2022


Darius (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #.5)Darius by J.R. Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was such a refreshing look at the BDB world, before all the additional storylines, when killing Lessers was the primary objective and nobody was mated.

As a prequel, I’m not sure this should be read earlier in the series, though. You need to know where we end up to truly appreciate the end of the tale. We get to see Darius as the glue that held the brothers together in their toughest times, before they all lived together and had loves. When they were all just wild and crazy, going out there to protect the world, even though they were losing. What is this story really about, though? It’s Anne and Darius’s screwed up love story and I loved it all.

We know how this all ends so it was a little bittersweet to watch the courtship happen in the most unconventional of ways. That being said, I still had hope and love for these two as they navigated a horrible place and time for them both. Oh, and Fritz! Talk about glue holding the BDB together - he’s the best! Like I said, as we all know where this goes, it was a little bittersweet to watch it all play out, but it’s was the best I could hope for. We also get a flash forward that requires the knowledge of current day BDB to appreciate.

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Misery Loves Company

Misery Loves Company (Miss Misery, #3)Misery Loves Company by Tracey Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book took some time to get cooking, what with Jess being very difficult and unable to accept (shock!) what she is (still…). Once we got moving, though, things got so much better (and sexier!).

Jess may have come to terms with her new weirdo status while with the other “weirdos” out there, but she is still very actively hiding herself from her bestie. She is also fighting her true nature that wants to devour her boyfriend’s BFF. On a seemingly normal night out at a book signing of her bestie’s cousin’s book, said cousin ends up dropping dead from too rapid a pull from the predator that addicted him (SURPRISE!). This unfortunately puts Jess in a situation where she wants to be assigned to help the Gryphons, even after finding out their past experimentation.

So, the larger story here? Well, the world is probably ending, and there have been oodles of visions about it and Jess. Sucks, right? Well, she dives in head first and is also somehow managing her own “coming out” in the crappiest yet sexiest of ways. While we get a bunch of steps forward for Jess and, ya know, the whole end of days thing, it takes a lot of doing to get Jess to accept herself the way we all desperately want her to. Each book gives more growth, so here’s hoping for even more in the next one!

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Friday, August 19, 2022

Midnight's Daughter

Midnight's Daughter (Dorina Basarab, #1)Midnight's Daughter by Karen Chance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For something that I saw such great reviews for, I'm stuck somewhere between a 3 and a 4 star rating. The world? It's insane and complicated and all the things I love about it in the Cassie series. Here? It's overwhelming, especially as book 1 of a series. We read this for book club and people were definitely lost from the start. It's like they took all the ideas from the primary series and ended up jamming them at us at once. Did we really need time travel, too? Maybe save something for book 2 please.

So, now that I shook out those sillies, what was good? It is always good to see a woman who can kick butt, and Dorina is definitely that. She navigates her complicated family with ease, even with murderous rages and blackouts accounted for. Her dad pairs her with a guy, Louis-Cesare, who is, of course, a vampire. They each have personal motivation to murder Dracula, but ultimately it doesn't matter. The star of the show? The trolls. I could read a whole book about the trolls and what they get up to. That, the interesting weapons, and whatever I'm supposed to imagine "stinky" is. Please tell me this exists, at least in short story format in this series. The ending here is a little rushed, but I'm hoping we really get some good story in the next one now that the world is "established." And trolls.

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The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward

The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us ForwardThe Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward by Daniel H. Pink
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book as part of a professional organization's book club meeting and was so happy to have discovered it. This book was set up in such a way, with relatable stories in between that keep you completely engaged from start to finish. I wanted to know what happened to all the people mentioned!

I won't try to oversimplify the book, because it's definitely worth a read (or a listen, as I did). The general concept is that, similar to cognitive behavioral therapy, if you acknowledge regret, you can learn from it. It should be applied sparingly, lest you fall into the regret-averse crowd too much, but he goes through all the data and reasoning behind finding a good balance. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone looking to reframe their mindset.

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Soul Taken

Soul Taken (Mercy Thompson, #13)Soul Taken by Patricia Briggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book has me believing in Mercy and her merry band of misfits again. There were definitely some books prior to this one that had me doubting, but consider me firmly Team Mercy now.

Only a Mercy book can somehow tie in a horror movie premiere, pirate gaming, Shakespeare, and vampires to form a coherent storyline. Werewolves are implied here, but also heavily involved. Oh, and a car, because what's a Mercy Thompson book without some sort of car storyline, too? So, back to the start, we are forced to acknowledge some changes in the pack that ends up putting the higher ranking pack members in the front row of some weirdo vampire nonsense. The line here is that Wulfe is missing and because he's been stalking Mercy, maybe she killed him? Seems very loosely thought through from the vampires, but there's games within games here.

Before they even begin to unpack to the vampire drama, there's also mysterious murders happening that end up involving the fae. We get our usual suspects together for some deliciously nostalgic crime fighting that had me so happy the gang was back together. Adam and Mercy, also, were simply amazing in this book. The way they balance one another out was a joy to see. With so many traps, bad decisions, and rules to navigate, Mercy was really the hero in this one. I am absolutely back in and can't wait to see the next one come out.

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Dirty Lying Faeries

Dirty Lying FaeriesDirty Lying Faeries by Sabrina Blackburry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was truly hard to put down. With a title like "Dirty Lying Faeries" I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised by the fun mix of mystery, romance, and paranormal folks.

Thea was a normal human person who may have been slightly more reserved than most, but she balanced by being BFFs with a true extrovert. At a party that said extrovert dragged her to, her world changes in a truly fantastical way. She starts seeing things that can't possibly be real and it centers around the mysterious art studio owner who hosted the party. Devin, said owner, is obviously more than he appears to be, managing one of the four fae courts. It isn't until Thea pushes the issue that all is revealed and then things get really really weird.

Turns out that in this hidden world there is also a lot of lies, secrets, and violence. It somehow ends up on Thea's shoulders to unravel this mystery, all while coming to grips with her new life, her new boyfriend, and some courtly ramifications of both. This story was really fun, unique, and engaging. I was pleasantly surprised that there will be more in this world and will keep an eye out for future books.

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Trouble with the Cursed

Trouble with the Cursed (The Hollows, #16)Trouble with the Cursed by Kim Harrison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow - this book has totally got me hooked on The Hollows again. It hit on so many levels, but most of all for the truly happy ending we get here.

This book showcases Rachel and Trent in their new normal. They somehow navigate the insanity that is demon drama, pixie drama, witch drama, vampire drama, and still manage to make time for snuggles. Does Rachel have the best birthday? Probably not, but they manage to celebrate it in the end and we do get to our happy ending. The big story here? Well, it's two parallel stories. Rachel is finally being challenged to show the missing vampire leader (now mouse) and Hoden is causing even more trouble than usual.

There were definitely some cringey parts that had me hiding from the awful outcome of some bad choices (as Rachel is known for) but she really does successfully navigate this book without compromising her morals or beliefs, and that's something to be proud of. She even manages to teach a lesson and act as a matchmaker. I'm not sure how else to summarize this book without spoiling it, other than to say that I'm happy *some* demon drama ends up resolved in this one.

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Friday, August 5, 2022

Age of Druids

Age of Druids (Caledonia Fae, #6)Age of Druids by India Drummond
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really struggle to summarize this book because it went in a lot of different directions. Overall, it gave me a satisfying ending, so that's probably the best you can say for the last book in a series. Were there plot holes or things not tied up? Sure! But I found myself forgiving them for the journey we went on.

This book tries to also resolve some issues made in previous ones, yet somehow doubles down on some mistakes. I'm happy that Rory ended up being somehow a villain of parts of this story. It made it somehow easier to join the rest of the folks who got over what was done to him a few books ago. The mistake of having us watch this young girl in a sexual situation is somehow a thing we are doing again. She ends up so messed up that even at the end, when we clearly need some resolution, I was just glad it was done.

The large story here, if there is a single cohesive thread buried in time travel and whatnot, was about identifying a ruler of the newly established druid castle/kingdom/area/place. Oh, and everyone needs a mate. Especially the ones that are awkward. So roll all that together and we get a strong contender for best book of the series. I almost forgot - we don't get any resolution with Huck's romance, but there's hope so I guess that's better than nothing at all. I am both happy and sad we are done with this series and on to the next.

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Ancient Desire

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

These Forgotten Brotherhood books are the right blend of broody guys and quirky, awesome women (and smut) to make the pages just fly by!

This book joins Raine, a bit of a weirdo who is obsessed enough with her research to blindly follow a guide out into the middle of nowhere to see a dragon statue. Oh, and it's in a cave. At night. Add all those things together, and you end up meeting Lucius, or at least what appears to be a statue of him. He's a drakon (a human/dragon shifter hybrid) who has entered deep sleep because he's given up. Raine's trusting nature ends up trapping her in a cave with him, which wakes up back up. The reason is obvious to anyone but these two.

Raine was a delight! She is quirky and awesome, rolling with the punches no matter how strange they get. She somehow never gives up, even trapped in that cave with a grumpy drakon. Lucius also grew on me as he adapted to life and taking a protector role. The usual cast of characters were nice to see, along with the ever building layers of betrayal and lies woven into the book's story. Overall, this was a great installment in the series.

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Stalk the Darkness

Stalk the Darkness (Guardians of Eternity)Stalk the Darkness by Alexandra Ivy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books are insane in the best way. At this point, you probably don't need to have read the whole series, but just have an open mind before starting.

It all starts with a gargoyle who isn't a gargoyle going on a walkabout and hearing voices in her head. It only gets weirder from there. Satin is an independent vampire who wants nothing more than to blow off some steam with Marco. Marco also insists that he doesn't want anything permanent and hooks up with her. They do this regularly, which kind of indicates a relationship, but they are both clearly oblivious. When they end up on the same trail and get told some rather surprising news, they are somehow tied tightly together.

This story has everything: smut, romance, magic, silliness, surprises, action, elementals, fun outfits, and more! Nothing in here is truly earth shattering, but it was an engaging story anyway. Levet was a hoot, as usual, and gave the story a heap of heart.

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Eastside Witch Hunt

Eastside Witch Hunt (Midlife Supernaturals, #2)Eastside Witch Hunt by T.J. Deschamps
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oops, I started at book 2 again. I was able to catch up quickly, though, so while it may have been easier if you started at the beginning, you can dive in here, too.

Miriam is a bakery owner, single mom, leader of unaffiliated witches or something, member of some supernatural council, girlfriend to an alpha and angel person, ex to a ruler of Hell, and probably even more stuff I'm missing. She has a lot of baggage with her BFF/fated mate? It was a lot to catch up on and that's just one character. There are oodles of characters thrown in here from all sorts of backgrounds, with all different powers.

The big story here? I think it was about the cult. There's a religious cult that sprang up because the supernaturals "came out" and god didn't like it (or something). They have been kidnapping people to try to convert them and brainwash others into joining. This ultimately becomes more of Miriam's problem when her daughter becomes one of the kidnapping victims. She is forced to flex her awesome powers to save the day/save herself/show up her boyfriend all at once. Oh, and there's some baba yaga stuff thrown in for good measure. Somehow this book ties a bow around everything at the end, but it certainly warrants a re-visit (especially the boyfriend forgiveness thing). All in all, a wild ride!

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Cross Waves

Cross Waves (Mind Hackers Series, Book Two)Cross Waves by Amanda Uhl
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I took a very extended hiatus from this series between book 1 and 2, but it looks like that didn't really slow me down. The world is still rich, the characters interesting, and managed to make me believe in these mind powers right out of the gate.

This story is about Geneva and Rolf. They get into an extraordinary amount of danger to the point where I was mostly on the edge of my seat wondering how on earth everyone could get their resolution by the end of the book if we started off already so far off course. Geneva and Rolf have a past that they both have to get beyond in order to work together to find Rolf's sister and Geneva's best friend. They were on the hunt for magical crystals, which sounds much worse in summary than in the story itself. There's oodles of mind powers, diversions, secrets, and violence between the start and the end here, but it was enjoyable. My one criticism for this book was the audible version. The author/reader of the story did not offer the same level of performance I've enjoyed with other audible purchases, which sometimes took me out of the story. I am still here for the story, but thought it was worth mentioning.

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Mates: Minerva (Magical Misfits, #1)

Mates: Minerva (Magical Misfits, #1)Mates: Minerva by Bridget E Baker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Woah, talk about a cliffhanger! This book certainly sets you up with a rich and dynamic world, but I am totally left wanting more!

While the book is called "Minerva" it really revolves around an amazing group of misfits. We hop through multiple POVs to see things sometimes overlapping from multiple angles, sometimes filling in the blanks, sometimes learning about new characters. All in all, this world is insane. Minerva is what amounts to a supernatural cop, aiming for supernatural special ops. Unfortunately for her, she's got some issues doing magic. In this world all the supernaturals blend with humans, but are still "in the closet." They police themselves (hence the "cops") but it only works so well.

Minerva's big challenge comes in the form of a friend she lost touch with - Roxana. She's a dragon shifter who can't shift, but is set to marry a man she can't stand. She runs away and somehow runs straight into Minerva's life, complete with friends. It's really those friends that shine throughout this book. We have vampires, demons, witches, werewolves, and all manner in between. They work together for the good of each other, sometimes to a fault. It was really great to watch them all grow and adapt, but we are certainly left wanting at the end. I can't wait to see what happens next for this crew!

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Monday, July 11, 2022

The Darkest Destiny

The Darkest Destiny  (Lords of the Underworld, #15.5)The Darkest Destiny by Gena Showalter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really missed the Lords of the Underworld, and even as a novella, I found this refreshing. We know Viola from her co-star role in some Lords of the Underworld books. She’s vain but being possessed by the demon of narcissism makes her that way. She’s also got a demon/vampire/dog/immortal pet named Fluffy that she needs to feed immortality to keep alive. As a damaged person, she’s got some baggage. This presents itself in her fear of being abandoned, which is only made worse when she’s captured by Brochan.

Brochan has his own issues. His brother/son/person had his immortality stolen by Viola shortly after he recognized her as his fated mate. Bummer, right? Well, he fell with his brother/son/person and now he’s “horribly deformed” and can’t allow Viola to harm another by stealing immortality. At odds with one another, they of course must go through some hoops to get their HEA, but we get there and that’s all that matters.

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