Sunday, May 15, 2022

Druid Lords

Druid Lords (Caledonia Fae, #4)Druid Lords by India Drummond
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What does it mean when a book that focuses on the newly introduced character stands out as more interesting than the previous few? While I liked some other druids, Huck or the writing style here really hooked me more than the previous books.

We met Huck when he was spotted by the *sigh* problem I have with most of this story. I'd like to minimize talking about forgiving a rapist and person who may still be a little girl then ... nevermind. I'm not mentioning it at all.

Huck is adapting to new druid life but hasn't made the full leap. He has been even trying to make money in the human world for no real reason, and it's that task that ends up getting him introduced to his lady love interest. There is a lot of leaping done in the relationship department here than puts him firmly on the path to save her from a pretty wild fae queen and her death sentence. There is more talk of lack of consent, torture, and not a lot of answers about a woman who can do some fae magic. Turns out druids can be female, maybe? Overall, I liked the cohesive story that ends up nudging us closer to a more interesting world for the next books.



View all my reviews

Compelling Infinity

Compelling Infinity (Archivist, #2)Compelling Infinity by Meghan Ciana Doidge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm officially addicted to these books - why aren't there more yet?!? I finished this one in 1 day, quickly flipping digital pages to see what happened to Dusk next.

We pick up with Dusk 2 months after we last saw here, effectively managing her first week at work. Now that she's settled in and people have either ignored her inability to pretend to be a witch, or chosen to keep her secret, she's managed to become the archivist she's wanted to be. The only lacking is in the follow-through from Kellan for the sizzling chemistry from book 1. This book continues a nice slow burn, but I need some serious fire between these two! Dusk and Sisu have settled into a nice (but weird) house now, and they have a certain routine. That routine sort of involves things going wrong, so that's to be expected now.

This time the badness is around a bit of brownie, fae, and coercion magic. While the mystery pretty much solves itself and you will most likely guess the culprit right out of the gate, it was great watching Dusk be the best archivist she can be, hunting down and containing things, no matter the cost. She and Sisu are just the best and I was sad to put the book down at the end, knowing I would have to wait to spend more time with them. Even Morgan grew on me in this book!

View all my reviews

Invoking Infinity

Invoking Infinity (Archivist, #1)Invoking Infinity by Meghan Ciana Doidge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to admit that I was a little hesitant to start this book after struggling with the prequel (book 0). The Dusk we get in this book, however, is AWESOME. She might be my new favorite character, with so much room to grow!

So, if you read book 0, you already know the deal with Dusk & Sisu coming to Dublin to pretend to be witches (not dragons), manage the archive, and essentially spy on the other adepts for the guardians. While we get a brief cameo from Pearl, that's all the connection we get here and the book really doesn't need more. Dusk is a powerhouse and shows us from her first day at work how things are going to change. I love watching her grown and develop at an alarming rate, along with all her magical friends and finds.

Sisu is also a highlight in this book, which is a high praise from me about a kid character. He is adorable and leaves me with a smile on my face after each passage he's in. Have they been through some stuff? Sure - but the way they are handling it is amazing. Last but not least is Kellan, where there are some serious slow burn vibes, but no smutty goodness. I have high hopes that something will happen here, but we shall see. The complicated political drama of shifters, witches, and (secret) dragons is somehow not too much when coupled with the story of this archivist. I can't wait to see what Dusk gets up to now that she's survived her first week of work and managed to keep her assignment.

View all my reviews

Awakening Infinity

Awakening Infinity (Archivist, #0)Awakening Infinity by Meghan Ciana Doidge
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm a little bit obsessive when it comes to a series, so when I saw that this was a "book 0" in the new spinoff of the adept world, I added it to my kindle.

This short book was tough. It gives you all new characters only loosely in this existing world of characters, but then the details just keep coming. I had a hard time getting invested in Dusk and Sisu (who now, 2 books in - I love!), and learning the intricacies of the archive, archivists, and the family dynamics was a little bit much to swallow easily. Maybe it's just me, but I had to really drag myself through this story. As a person who powered through (and then rapidly gobbled up the next 2 books), this story does answer some lingering questions you may have in the series, but maybe it's better placed as a book#1.1, when you've already developed a certain fondness for Dusk's logical mind?

View all my reviews

The Other Half of the Grave

The Other Half of the Grave (Night Huntress, #1.1)The Other Half of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a great way of "re-reading" a series with a neat twist of changing characters.

It's been years since I read the first book in this series, so I just barely remembered the broad strokes of how this all began. I was essentially a fresh reader and enjoyed it immensely! Do I know how it all end? Of course! Did it diminish my enjoyment? Not at all! In fact, knowing how some relationships change and grow had me enjoying it even more.

If you've never read the series... I'm not sure what to recommend. Should you start with the original? Or start here? It probably doesn't matter, but I like the full circle way I got to re-enjoy all over. I enjoy Bones, but this gave the author a way to fill some plot holes, update some tech, and give me a new book to read, while still letting me re-read a series. What's not to like here? The story itself is a fun paranormal story that really goes outside the typical paranormal romance lines.

View all my reviews

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Munro

Munro (Immortals After Dark, #18)Munro by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OK, I'm back on board again. This book got me back into this series after a few "duds" where I was starting to question my continuation.

This book goes back to the scene from a few books ago - we saw Munro forced to make a choice to either watch his mate die painfully, or try to turn her against her last dying wish. For something a long time coming, it resolved relatively quickly in a way I didn't expect. Don't worry, though, Munro's battle for Kereny wasn't over that quick. There's time travel, a carnival, werewolves galore, timey-wimey nonsense, and something closer to a partnership than I've seen in the last few books.

On top of being a sizzling romance, this book also closes some loops, catching us up with a TON of familiar faces along the way. We get to experience the fully built world through Kereny's eyes and it takes me back to when it was all new. Maybe that's why this book felt so much better than the last bunch? Either way, I'm back in!

View all my reviews

Immortal Rising

Immortal Rising (Argeneau, #34)Immortal Rising by Lynsay Sands
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh my gosh I really loved this one. Are we 34 books in? Yes. Do these books still somehow manage to surprise me? YES! I will keep reading these until we run out of characters to find mates for, or something. Please, never stop.

This book finally circles back to Stephanie. She's the self-proclaimed weirdo in the bunch who can hear everyone's thoughts for wayyyyyy further and without end. She's also at risk of becoming a "no-fanger" due to her forced turning by some lunatic. Her sister found her mate and never had the same troubles, so Stephanie's been a bit isolated, forced to hide most of her struggle for fear of upsetting her hyper-vigilant sister. When you can hear everyone's thoughts, it makes it harder to ignore the worries. She's finally landed in her custom build, secluded home and has a steady sort-of life with her pets. That all changes when Thorne shows up.

Thorne has his own baggage that has chased him all his life (sometimes literally). He was the son of yet another monster in this series. You'll be happy to know that this is the book where that storyline finally gets resolved in the best of ways. Thorne not only ends up crashing Stephanie's solitary existence, but also helping her find what she didn't even know was out there. It's the best kind of smutty, hot, awesome romance. Also, a great guest spot by the grumpy old man of the series (which for a vampire series is saying a lot). This book was everything I wanted.

View all my reviews

Demon Hunting with a Southern Sheriff

Demon Hunting with a Southern Sheriff (Demon Hunting, #6)Demon Hunting with a Southern Sheriff by Lexi George
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wow - I think I got in over my head with this book. Having only read one book in the series before (and that was 3 books prior) I was pretty lost for a lot of the very numerous character back stories here and did myself a disservice. Hark - learn from me and start at the beginning!

Dev is the sheriff of a town filled with humans and supernaturals alike. There's pretty much everything, including very determined hunters like Arta. She's got her own supernatural mojo and has been tasked with avenging her fighting sister. This ends up getting in Dev's way, because he is the law in these parts. He also has a relative who is a goddess or something and a dad who runs around naked. It is A LOT. I enjoyed the random and insane characters, but got a little lost in the shuffle.

The romance between Dev and Arta is definitely non-traditional. Instead of following the same rules, there is chocolate involved and nearly destroyed buildings. And sort-of-adopted siblings crashing the party. All in all, it was a wild ride that I was not prepared for, complete with a HEA.

View all my reviews

Shadow Kissed

Shadow Kissed (Marked by Blood, #1)Shadow Kissed by Rebecca L. Garcia
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was like a strange combination of a high fantasy setting (castles, royalty, various levels of technology) and a contemporary romance. It is clearly the setup for more installments, so focused primarily on the world building here. Not a true cliffhanger of sorts, but definitely not a solitary standalone book either.

Olivia has been somewhat sheltered her whole life. As someone gifted with magic, she is in the minority. It makes her even more strange when her powers are a bit of a dud. She does not excel at combat either, so her mother, the leader of an elite group of "troops," protects her as best she can. Mostly this means she is isolated and ferried away when bad stuff starts to go down. The vampires from the neighboring kingdom end up invading, and one vampire ends up kidnapping her to their home.

As predicted, Seb, the aforementioned vampire, ends up opening Olivia's eyes a bit to the shades of gray in the vampire kingdom. Not all vampires are bad and not all humans are good. There's a bunch of baggage rolled into that single sentence, but it resolves itself eventually. There are also a bunch of reveals that I won't spoil here for you. The romance, though, that was a smaller portion of the tale, which may or may not have come from some sort of kidnapper/kidnapee situation. Only time will tell, I guess, but I enjoyed all of the characters we meet during Olivia's stay with Seb. As I said, the book doesn't fully resolve all the storylines, so I'm sure the next book will take a turn. Oh, and I should warn that there are some triggering non-consent scenes in here that may be troubling to some, primarily in the vampire/human slave dens.

View all my reviews

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Wicked Abyss

Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark, #17)Wicked Abyss by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While better than some of the more recent books, this is still pretty similar to some of the lesser installments.

We get back to the "bringers of doom" storyline with a deep dive into Sian. He's kind of a jerk, but I guess the trauma associated with losing his mate and transforming into a demon will do that to a guy. His mate has finally reincarnated into Lila, a princess of sorts who is going through a rough patch. Exiled to the human world, she's made her way and has an unkillable spirit. Kind of literally.

These two were really nicely matched for wits but Sian was just not a prize in the end. While I am really happy to get Lila's story, as with most of these books, I feel like she could do much better. She ends up shining brighter in this book than the guy I think we were supposed to be rooting for. I'm still hoping for a book where both the guy and girl and worthy of a nice pairing. Maybe next book?

View all my reviews

Lover Arisen

Lover Arisen (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #20)Lover Arisen by J.R. Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow! I think this book just made me fall in love with the Black Dagger Brotherhood series again!

After reading one of the spinoff books and being a little turned off by this world, I decided to give it another shot and I'm so glad I did. This book delivered in a lot of ways that I think fans have been asking for. There were not a lot of side stories (only the main love story, the building one, and some resolution that crosses between them), there was some good smut (not really a deficiency before), and we don't break a lot of things that we built up before. If this is your first time in the BDB world, I don't know how you got here as a first book. There is so much world and character building that has been done up to this point that I wouldn't really recommend starting 20 books in.

So, this story - we finally get Balthazar's resolution. Poor thief ended up getting possessed and finding his mate in very short time and then the series left him hanging out there. In summary it seems very simple - thief and cop have drama. Underneath, though, the characters were really interesting. I felt for both of them more than some previous characters, or even the ones that are moving in parallel to this love story. The odds are (of course) against them and we have to work up until the very end to get them a HEA, but it is very satisfying. Erika, the mate/cop/person, was a real standout here and I was happy she didn't have to become something she wasn't by the end. Overall, I'm happy I gave the BDB another chance because it was well worth it!

View all my reviews

Friday, April 8, 2022

Wicked Misery

Wicked Misery (Miss Misery, #1)Wicked Misery by Tracey Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book 1 and I'm already addicted to this world.

This is allllllmost a dystopian paranormal book, but is still in a magical land that I find slightly more palatable. In this world, magic is normal and people with magic are sent to become guardians of a sort until their powers either fizzle or solidify. Jessica was one of the "chosen" until she suddenly wasn't. When her powers didn't materialize, they shifted into something more unexplainable. She assumes she was cursed somehow to feed off misery instead of doing normal "magic" things. This classifies her very close to "preds" which in this world feed off "addicts" in various forms. Lucen is one such pred that has somehow found his way (reluctantly) into Jessica's very small inner circle.

With such a black and white moral world, Jessica is shaken up when she is suddenly accused of murder, possibly hoping to start a war between the paranormal races. This puts her in a position where she has to either accept herself, grow, and learn to trust other people, or perish as some sort of misunderstood martyr. It was really wonderful to watch a person who is pretty terrible at making decisions make a comeback by the end. I went from cringing to rooting for her, so hang in there!

View all my reviews

Third Spell's the Charm

Third Spell's the Charm (House of Magic #3)Third Spell's the Charm by Susanna Shore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These are wonderful, quick, paranormally quirky books that have me rapidly devouring them.

This book picks up with Phoebe (quick note - you should start at book 1 for real enjoyment). She's newly discovered that she has the magical gift inside of her. Unfortunately for her, it comes out as setting things on fire - not on purpose. As if this isn't bad enough, she's forced to demonstrate her weirdness for her flatmates, her boss/crush, and really powerful magical users. Nobody seems to know what's going on, but that also doesn't stop her from attracting her usual share of trouble.

This trouble comes in the form of a drag queen murder by a vampire while Phoebe and her vampire flatmate are out clubbing. Implicated/Blackmailed into helping the big vampire baddie, they end up crossing paths with a few familiar faces, some new ones, but tons of trouble. I enjoy the blend here of mystery, a smidge of romance, and a healthy scoop of magic. I can't wait to see what happens after the end of this one!

View all my reviews

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Ancient Retribution

Ancient Retribution (Ancients Rising #5)Ancient Retribution by Katie Reus
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These books are so fun to read from start to finish. You're guaranteed a HEA and they've somehow tricked me into enjoying a dystopian setting.

Zephyr was previous introduced as a bit of the odd man out, having come back from a hell realm and having to re-learn society, his brothers, their mates, etc. On the edge of the group, he ends up on a mission that introduces him to Juniper. Juniper has a bit of baggage, having had her memory erased before being dropped in to be raised with wolf shifter. A dragon with unusual talents, she had a loving family, but this was always hanging over her head.

These two are a great couple to watch. The fact that they are taking down a human trafficking ring also makes them the very clear good guys here. Throw in some curve balls in the form of Juniper's past, Zephyr's patience, and a bunch of familiar faces pushing their own stories along and we've got a wonderful book. I highly recommend this and all associated series'.

View all my reviews

Dragon Mine

Dragon Mine (Dragon Kings #2)Dragon Mine by Donna Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book read almost like a novella with not a lot of big steps forward in any of the main storylines, but a good romantic story.

Vaughn has been searching for his mystery girl for years and it's probably not his dream scenario that she's his dragon king's only daughter. No pressure, right? They've been sharing dreams for years unconsciously, but when they meet face-to-face on the other side of the doorway she opened to Zora, the pressure is really on. Eurwen has a lot to shoulder being the co-ruler of a whole world. Her twin is also not the most supportive when she admits to meeting up with a dragon king and potentially being his mate.

I feel like the star of this one is really Vaughn, who swallows his pride and becomes really great mate material. While the stakes feel low when Con can heal anyone, this one still had some risky situations and hopefully ends up leading to some sort of reveal of the "big bad" in books to come. Overall, this was a nice, light read.

View all my reviews

Dark Alpha's Passion

Dark Alpha's Passion (Reaper, #14)Dark Alpha's Passion by Donna Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was another solid installment in the very long and winding road to Reaper/Dragon King/Others/Six Showdown. While we don't quite get there in this one, we are still building to a nice finale.

As this is a reaper book, we know that someone needs to be betrayed, get killed, and turned into a Reaper, right? Those are the rules, so why am I surprised every time it happens? Ruark has been trying to be a good spy, a good son, and stay as far away from Chevonne, his lady love, to keep everyone safe and hopefully help the good guys win. At a pivotal point in the fight, he decides it's worth the risk, and reconnects with Chevonne. She's a fighter but there are a lot of things at play here that put them both in an unwinnable situation.

Lucky for us, there are lots of very powerful players already in the game. With all the action and excitement you'd expect, I think this book focuses more on that than the romance here and I'm not mad at it. This book does help along the X storyline too, and we will hopefully get some very satisfying payoff in the coming books.

View all my reviews

Friday, March 25, 2022

Enemy of the Fae

Enemy of the Fae (Caledonia Fae, #3)Enemy of the Fae by India Drummond
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ugh. This book series took a TURN here.

This particular installment picks up with Eilidh as queen (with way more queen behavior than I was expecting) and Quinton still hiding his relationship with her. I was completely not shocked by the more love triangle-y turn we took there (yum), and happily await future installments for that group. The mystery here was someone working against Eilidh from either her assumed supporters or some shadowey group. In parallel, there is a lot of druid stuff going on. Quinton is transforming, showing new skills, and all the while the other druids are working to make something cool.

Here's where it all takes a TURN - The druid with powers over time connects with the VERY YOUNG fae who is their friend (turns out I was confused in the last book and there actually was a VERY YOUNG fae girl that the druids spend time with). So. Things happen and magically she is outwardly older but inside she is AN 8 YEAR OLD GIRL. This girl then goes on to do terrible things with an older guy and it's TERRIBLE. I'm scarred, or as scarred as someone can be when you've also read the KMM series that treads in this very same (but maybe older?) territory. I guess if you can accept all that, this book does push the overall kingdom storyline along with not many other huge surprises. The twists and turns were OK but pretty predictable. Seriously, 8 years old - I'm not over it.

View all my reviews

Demon Kissed

Demon Kissed (The Summoner’s Mark Book 1)Demon Kissed by J.D. Blackrose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First book in a series and this has a unique spin on your typical demon tale.

Becs is a summoner who wants out of the business, but is unable to do so while she has some unpaid debts (both rent and demon related). Her own responsibility in the last summoning she performed tasked her with some demon follow-up that throws her into a complicated web of favors and mixed motivations. Her upstairs neighbor is also oddly helpful, sexy, and way too comfortable with the supernatural.

This story has it all - sizzle, paranormal mayhem, way too many dead birds, and high school mistreatment coming back to haunt them. Did I mention the birds? Yuck. Overall this story introduces a good team of players, lots of loose threads, and some interesting abilities that I'm sure we'll learn more about in book 2. Here's to a rich world building!

View all my reviews

A Grave Girls’ Getaway: A Night Huntress Novella

A Grave Girls’ Getaway: A Night Huntress NovellaA Grave Girls’ Getaway: A Night Huntress Novella by Jeaniene Frost
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoy the Night Huntress world, so will dive back in at any chance I get. Here we get a short vacation story for Cat and Denise that also manages to delve into Cat's mother/daughter dramas.

Cat is struggling to let her daughter grown and develop without a hovering parent. It's not hard to understand why, given the past, but in an effort to step away and reconnect with Cat the person, she goes on holiday with Denise. It was good to see Cat as the tough fighter, crime solver, independent woman who can also cry for her husband and daughter. Of course, the holiday goes all wrong and Cat and Denise are forced to step in where there's a bad situation going down. We are fortunate that people maybe come to expect this and we get some good cameos in the end. While not required reading for the world/series, it was nice to visit with all these characters in a different circumstance.

View all my reviews

Shadow's Seduction

Shadow's Seduction (Immortals After Dark, #16; The Dacians, #2)Shadow's Seduction by Kresley Cole
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Did I want to rate this high just because people were rating it low based on the M/M aspects? YES. Does it deserve a high rating? Sigh... probably not. I really wanted to hate like this to balance the true haters, but it was just... tough.

So, we know Caspion from the previous installment, where he was obsessed with women and yet not at all interested in the main female character. Maybe that's why I struggled here? If we were meeting two unknowns it might have been easier to get on board. Mirceo is a hedonist who goes about finding pleasure wherever, racing against when his heart will stop beating until he finds his "bride." Caspion meets him in a previous un-shared time, which is ultimately what gives him a death sentence in the previous book.

I can get behind a M/M romance as much as a M/F romance, but this felt very forced and rushed. I get it, it's a novella (not offered in audiobook format, which was annoying as a series completionist here). Still, there was just a bit of a quick "oh, yeah, a lot of time passed" blurb for poor Caspion and we were all left in Mirceo's shoes having not gotten any time at all. I'm glad there is some diversity in this world, but wish we could've gotten a full fledged novel out of it all.

View all my reviews

Monday, February 28, 2022

The Stealing

The StealingThe Stealing by S.A. Sutila
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book surprised me at every turn and I never got my "sea legs" (get it? she's the captain's daughter) under me.

Sarah is a troubled young girl. She's been made fun of all throughout high school because of her father's profession, her ability to be part of a ship's crew, and, it turns out, because she's secretly coveted by the guys. As graduation looms, she's excited to escape her small town and start fresh. The neighbor boys have been a particular thorn in her side for her whole life, always bullying her and making fun. Grant, however, decides that now is the time to ask for forgiveness and pursue her. While there are some sparks, she quickly ends up in a suicidal tailspin when her dad says she can no longer go away to school.

There are some very dark themes in this book and I found myself cringing at times to get through Sarah's morbid thoughts. One such trauma ends with her adrift in a spirit world, where a narcissist ends up taking her life as punishment and/or a learning exercise (still a little unclear there). Max, this mystical being, transforms her into something more and sends her back to earth, leaving her hoping it was all just a dream and she doesn't have a ticking clock on her life.

Grant and Sarah as a couple was a combination of awkward high school romance and borderline stalker-ish. With all the other stuff going on in her life, though, his family seemed like a nice place for her to discover her true self worth. That's the ultimate HEA for me in this book, and the overall romance is secondary. I'd warn that if you are easily triggered by the darker types of paranormal storylines, this book may not be for you, but otherwise, it was definitely unexpected.

View all my reviews

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Sweet Ruin

Sweet Ruin (Immortals After Dark, #15)Sweet Ruin by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't think I even know how to rate these books anymore. I was, however, a little surprised that 15 books in, we are meeting 2 brand new people to follow as the only main characters. Sure, there's Nix and some familiar faces, but Josephine & Rune are both brand new to me.

So - Josephine is a girl who is really rough around the edges. She was forced to grow up fast when she found herself taking care of her baby brother while on the streets or in foster care. She also had a special ability to attract trouble, which is how she ended up thrust into the paranormal community against her will. She can do "wicked strong" things, and ends up having to force herself away from her little brother to protect him. Fast forward to meeting the "bringers of doom" that we heard about previously. They're coming for Earth, but in advance of that, Rune is sent to scout things out and then to take out a big player.

When Rune and Josephine meet it isn't all hearts and rainbows. These two *struggle* but it's pretty fun to watch. The sizzle is there, and it's not as bad as other consent issues I've had with the series. The big struggle is with some "whoring" that comes up now and again. And, ya know, Josephine is... rough. Other than that, I feel like we are relatively back on track for the series. You can see the puzzle pieces moving around now, getting ready for war.

View all my reviews

Secrets and Truths

Secrets and Truths (Otherside Heat #1)Secrets and Truths by Whitney Hill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oooooh I liked this one a lot! Having not been exposed to this author or world before, it was a wonderful surprise!

Lya is a halfbreed who has been exiled into the US. Forced to work for a fae boss that hates her, she's been going about her business as a bounty hunter without incident trying to build up her own career. Cade is a vagabond vampire who happens to be in the right place at the right time for sparks to fly. He and Lya meet and the rest is history. There's some truly wonderful smutty goodness thrown in with some heartfelt surprises along the way.

The story, which is almost unnecessary when there's a nice romance, centers around conflicting priorities and people who are assumed dead resurfacing. This couple really surprised me in some great ways. I am eager for more both from this author and this world. What a great find!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Not the witch you wed

Not the Witch You WedNot the Witch You Wed by April Asher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this fun read! It's like a romantic comedy had a baby with a sexy paranormal romance and it produced this great (hopefully only first) installment!

Vi is one of three twin sisters and the only one who was born without magic. As (technically) the first born, she should have been heir to a sort-of throne for witches. Her power doesn't manifest until after re-connecting with her boyhood frenemy, Lincoln, who is now the leader of all North American packs. In this world, paranormals are out of the closet and Lincoln is a type of celebrity. He is also obligated to find a mate before his next birthday or one will be assigned to him. Vi is in a similar "mate or be mated" situation herself.

After literally running into one another and feeling a bit of that tingle, they agree to a pact which of course could not go wrong or include misunderstandings. Lincoln, saddled with his own secrets and long standing love for Vi, readily agrees. Chaos and magical romantic storyline ensues. These two were fun to watch, even with the inevitable cringey scenes of miscommunication and misunderstanding. We get a HEA for these two lovebirds, but I am DYING to see where all the other characters end up!

View all my reviews

Dark Skye

Dark Skye (Immortals After Dark, #14)Dark Skye by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm giving this a reluctant 4 stars because it was a good book on its own, but after all this buildup, was a let down.

We have known about Lanthe and her fear of reckoners for a bunch of books now. We also watched her get dragged off by one, sacrificing herself to free her friend to run after her adopted daughter. In this book, we finally get to see what happened after that scene for Lanthe. Turns out, they knew each other as kids (not just in the gruesome murder of Lanthe's parents) and they are fated mates (as should be expected in these books). The hard part here? Thronos wants to obtain her, but is doing it completely the wrong way. He wants to lock her away to produce heirs? Yeah, Lanthe (and her sister) would never let that happen.

Along the yelling, arguing, fighting way, we learn that Thronos didn't realize his brother (who we met in a dramatic scene in a previous book) was going after Lanthe and her sister, succeeding in killing one of them several times. So - what's the big revelation in this book? What pushes this bigger story along? I think it's Lanthe's power and how she addresses her lack of it in this book. Other than that, it ties a bit of the other actions and stories together. As a standalone, I guess it's fine, but it was very heavy in the domineering arguments and very light on the actual romance part. Personally, I think Lanthe can do better.

View all my reviews

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Misplaced Souls

Misplaced Souls (Misfits of the Adept Universe Book 1)Misplaced Souls by Meghan Ciana Doidge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This world (22 books in now) is so comfortable to me that each installment is like coming home. I will continue to gobble these up until the series (or the world) ends.

This book is about Mory. She's been a bit of a loner type since we met her, having gone through some serious trauma that introduced her as a big player in the magical scene. She works with death/life magic, knits, and is friends with an undead turtle. She also happens to be magically protected by Jade and her friends, but in this book she finds herself thrust into the "real world."

Having just gotten certified in magic stuffs, she can now take jobs and act like a grown up for the most part. Her first job ends up being from Liam, the police sorcerer we know from previous books. Who knew he would take such a turn? He ends up contracting her for work trying to solve some unexplainable murders of children. Along the way we learn about surprising magical creatures, Mory's even more tragic internal monologue, and maybe some actual romance. All in all, this felt like the start of a series, but it appears we move into Archivist stuff after this. I want more Mory!

View all my reviews

Trifles and Folly 2 (Deadly Curiosities)

Trifles and Folly 2 (Deadly Curiosities)Trifles and Folly 2 by Gail Z. Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my second journey into this world and I found I enjoyed this one even more than the first anthology. You can certainly start here (and I'd recommend it), but I'm sure this serves as a great accompaniment to the series as a whole.

The set follows the same set of characters, with the main being a touch psychic who owns an antique shop. She works with some other magical and non-magical folks to make sure cursed or other dark objects don't make it back out to the public, but also appears to dabble in un-haunting houses in this set. I really enjoyed all the characters and stories contained in the set, with a particular focus on the very interested inter-personal relationships along the way.

Who would I recommend this set to? Someone who wants a nice, easily digestible story that could either be read as standalone or all together. Someone who likes mysteries and magic, with a touch of paranormal romance thrown in for good measure.

View all my reviews

Azuri Fae (Caledonia Fae, #2)

Azuri Fae (Caledonia Fae, #2)Azuri Fae by India Drummond
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We are working through these books for book club and while they are interesting, they are definitely not exactly what I'd usually keep coming back to. It's like a mix of high fantasy, contemporary procedural (a little), and fade to black romance.

This book picks up after the outcome of the previous book. Eilidh is a bit of a hero, having saved her kingdom from the insane fae who could have destroyed them all. He also uncovered druids, so she is associated with that re-discovery as well. The big thing here is... war, pretty much. Things aren't well in the kingdom, beginning with the queen who may be a little mad herself. There is a division in the kingdom because some want to welcome the fae they previously exiled while others are more traditional.

There's also a big thread of Munro and Eilidh struggling with their fated relationship. For Munro, he's all in, but unable to navigate the fae way of life so easily. For Eilidh, she's struggling to open herself to such a wild change in her life. Who knew that would be the smallest change. Things in this book escalate super quickly, so brace yourself. The twists and turns that center around a mystery (which ends up being... not so big?) kept me interested but not necessarily invested. I find the side characters more interesting than the main. We'll see what happens after the big end of this book, but I think most of these characters are a little hard to relate to.

View all my reviews

Saturday, January 29, 2022

MacRieve

MacRieve (Immortals After Dark, #13)MacRieve by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At this point, if you've been reading the previous books in this series, nothing should be a major surprise. There's a formula and most of it lately has been centered around aftermath from the Order's prison facility.

This book is about Will (I won't try for his actual name) and Chloe. Will is a tortured soul who made some bad decisions when he was young and it has messed him up. As an immortal, he has forever to brood and become even worse. His twin has tried to keep him right, but after he was kidnapped by the Order and tortured in prison, all his old wounds are fresh again. Chloe is a soccer player who suddenly has been developing heightened senses. Her dad is - gasp - the evil leader of the order facility! She didn't know that until after he went MIA and she was subsequently kidnapped by witches, though.

They are fated. I don't think that's a spoiler, because that is just the start of this. She's obviously changing from vanilla human into something else and also has to accept that her dad is the big bad. Will and Chloe have some issues - him being the key one - but it was nice seeing someone stand up to the overbearing males in this world. Other than Chloe's awesomeness, this was pretty much an average book in the series. Good, but nothing amazing or mind blowing.

View all my reviews

Second Nature

Second NatureSecond Nature by Amber Boudreau
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book really drew me in. At first, I wasn't sure what to make of Mavis, but she definitely grew on me.

Mavis has amnesia. She came awake in a hospital with no memory of her earlier years. While she remembers some basics of her "previous life" like how to make cookies or that she never learned to drive, the rest is a blank. After an extended stay under the care of an attentive doctor and mean nurse, she ended up renting a studio apartment in town with money she makes from a receptionist gig at a car repair place. Her boss is surly, but accommodating, and she's made some friends in town, but there's still something missing (other than her memory).

Through a bit of nosey behavior, some sleuthing, and some truly insane twist and turns, she ends up uncovering more than just her own information. With a world and story this big, it's clear that it couldn't wrap everything up in one installment. Still, I was sad that we end the book on a little bit of a "to be continued" setup. I want to know more about how Mavis lives with her new truth and where she goes next. I guess that's where book 2 will take us, though.

View all my reviews

Banshee Song

Banshee SongBanshee Song by Jen Katemi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow! I'm super happy that I came back to this series and read book 2! This one is much easier to get into and is even stronger than book 1.

We continue meeting banshees here, but this one is a little different. Indigo is a banshee who has learned to channel her song into an actual... song. She is a singer and it is during one of her shows when she meets Tarrien. He's the ice cold warrior that we met in the last book, but here he has been tasked to protect another daughter of the questionable lady in winter. These two sizzle right off the page from the start and it only gets hotter from there

While there is a bit of a quick timeline, mashing in the obligatory misunderstanding phase, I found the action and story engaging enough to write it off. I was completely obsessed with where these two would end up and how they would get out of the rather difficult bind at the end. I'm happy to see a nice resolution and eager to check out book 3!

View all my reviews

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Blood Faerie

Blood Faerie (Caledonia Fae, #1)Blood Faerie by India Drummond
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book lands somewhere around 3.5, rounded up to 4 stars here.

We read this book for book club and that was a key driver for me finishing this. While the story and world building were interesting, this is definitely book 1 - the setup book. We learn about the world of faeries, their politics and beliefs about good and bad powers, and the badness that can occur when they are outcast. Eilidh (who has a nice reminder for pronunciation woven into the text) has been banished from the rest of her fae brethren because she was born with "bad powers." During her many years of exile, she has not been tempted to step in until there are signs of a blood faerie murdering druids.

The bad guy is known, identified, and we see from perspective (in case that's not your thing). The good guy, Quinton, is a police officer who is assigned to the murders and bodies the bad guy is leaving behind. He has always had "hunches" which turn out to be correct, apparently an indicator that his lineage may have magic in it. Reluctantly, Eilidh and Quinton end up teaming up (in the non-smutty way) to stop this big bad. No huge surprises here, and a rather quick wrap up at the end, but it should be interesting to see where things go for them moving forward.

View all my reviews

What the Fang?

What the Fang? (Undead Ever After, #1)What the Fang? by Stacey Kennedy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow, I read this book so quickly! It had all the things I love - witches, vampires, smut, and magic! As book#1 for a series, I am surely hooked.

Willa is a witch, but she never grew into her powers. She lost her mother at an early age and never knew her dad. Being raised by her aunt, the leader of her set of witches, she was particularly disappointed when she was shunned upon not showing any signs of magic. She's resigned herself to her new life, even embracing her misfit status by being the only witch running a business in vampire run town. Vampires are "out" in this world, but have segregated themselves by "owning" key towns in the US. They are OK with Willa in one of their towns for the most part, probably only because she hasn't presented any powers so is pretty much human.

The big shift for her happens when she is suddenly attacked and promptly rescued by vampires. Sounds confusing, and it is, but it brings Killian, the warden of her town, into her life. Willa, however, is a force to be reckoned with. She's awesome in just about every way in her handling of the twists and turns of her new life. Oh, and her friends are AWESOME. In fact, all of these characters are amazing.

The big story here, without spoiling anything, is that Willa's life comes with some mysteries. All those mysteries end up coming out in sudden ways, leading her into a whole new future. Killian is the vampire entering her life for the most part, with smutty goodness. I absolutely cannot wait until the next book to see what antics everyone gets up to.

View all my reviews

Trifles and Folly

Trifles and Folly (Deadly Curiosities)Trifles and Folly by Gail Z. Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am embarrassed that it took me so long to get through this anthology. I started it a while ago on a vacation trip and since lost track of it in my kindle. A short story anthology is both good and bad that way because I was able to stop easily at the end of a story and pick up with the next one years later without missing anything.

I don't have experience with this world outside of this short story set, so needed the intro that is tacked on to every story in the set. It introduces you to Cassidy, the touch psychic who runs the shop, Teag, her partner, and Sorren, the last silent vampire partner. They work together to using intelligence, magic, connections in the neighborhood, and sheer luck to remove antiques with bad mojo from the market. I will say, while I appreciated the intro when starting and then picking the book up, the way this anthology is designed, I would almost recommend that as your strategy for reading it, otherwise it quickly becomes redundant.

There are a ton of stories packed into this set, some that I enjoyed more than others, but the highlights for me were at the end, in the bonus section. This included Sorren centric stories of his history and "onboarding" into the magical saving community. The world is unique, the stories are interesting, and the size of each story was very manageable for a quick read. I would recommend this set for someone who wants to casually read a short story anthology, perhaps with different breaks for books in between.

View all my reviews

Confessions of a Puppetmaster

Confessions of a PuppetmasterConfessions of a Puppetmaster by Charles Band
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In an attempt to break out of my PNR shell, I grabbed this book for review. I'm a big fan of full moon entertainment, grew up on puppetmaster and ghoulies, movie rentals, and all the other wonderful things that this book details.

So - what is this book about? Charles Band is one of the key figures in the wonderful world of awesome horror. He's had a full and varied life, filled with lots of risks and craziness, but balanced with production of some wonderfully weird movies. I'm not going to go through the details, but I will say that his storytelling is very engaging. I couldn't stop this book once I started, so got through the whole book in a single day. I did this via kindle, but I'm sure the audiobook is also amazing. You can feel his energy coming through the page even when it's written word.

I would (and have already) recommend this book to anyone who is a horror fan in the age range of 30-50, or who appreciates the wonderful world of full moon entertainment. I learned a lot about the history and background behind what went into establishing the films I appreciate.

View all my reviews

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Shadow's Claim

Shadow's Claim (Immortals After Dark, #12; The Dacians, #1)Shadow's Claim by Kresley Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After the last one, I thought we'd keep heading down that road of not caring about the consent of the mates here. Luckily, it seems like this one was way more interested in the mate in question going along with the relationship, but still a little iffy. If that's not your scene, you should probably skip this one.

Bettina is the future ruler of a demon monarchy. She is, however, a half-breed and was stripped of her powers not long ago. Having always been a bit of a freak, and under the tyrannical rule of her godparents, she ends up agreeing to a tournament of champions, where the winner is her husband. There's some questionable reasoning to get us here, but here we are with another big tournament. Trehan is a Dacian who we met in the previous book. He's the assassin who devotes his whole life to his work and his kingdom... until he finds his mate. Said mate doesn't understand much going on that night, so there's a bit of a hiccup in a HEA here.

Trehan is also at a bit of disadvantage because he was originally sent to this kingdom to kill Bettina best friend/crush. The high points in this story were more around the battles, the smutty bits, and the side relationship Bettina has with her phantom servant. Since we've already seen a bit of this from the other side in the previous book, there's not some really huge surprises, but it was still an entertaining read. I'm hoping we eventually get to see the rest of the fallout from the Order's kidnapped victims in the coming books, too!

View all my reviews

The Immortal Conquistador

The Immortal Conquistador (Kitty Norville #15)The Immortal Conquistador by Carrie Vaughn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rick is the best. If you're a fan of the Kitty Norville series (which, I'm pretty sure is the only way you would stumble into this book and/or enjoy it), then you know Rick just isn't your typical vampire. This set of stories all from Rick's perspective give the super rare glance into his inner workings and his history.

I found I was enjoying the stories more as the rather quick book continued on. You can almost feel his frustration and exasperation at the other vampires who keep expecting him to act a certain way. I am particularly happy with the resolution we get at the end of the book. I don't want to spoil anything so will leave it at that. These stories were enjoyable and made me smile.

View all my reviews

Poison in the Blood

Poison in the Blood (Bad Witch: The Emily Chronicles, #1)Poison in the Blood by Robyn Bachar
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am going to add a disclaimer that historical fiction is not my genre of choice. Something about the extra skirting and manners just irks me. That being said, I added this book to my queue because I really enjoyed the other series related to the two stars here and was hoping for the same feelings.

This set of 2 stories is really different, so be prepared. Emily is a sheltered sort of woman, as is expected from her time period. She is, however, wasting her seer abilities playing matchmaker for magicians. At a party of such magicians, she ends up being drawn into a murder mystery that sets her whole life in motion. She finds her soul mate, starts a rocky relationship with his mentor, and gets the satisfaction of solving a mystery. This sets up the true romance between Michael and Emily.

The second story is longer and deals with a guardian run investigation, more soul mates, and very dark deeds. Emily is in her marriage, but a bit adrift. Her husband has just been turned and she no longer finds satisfaction and a clear path for her future. Lucky for us all, she is a seer. Her gifts give her the appropriate nudges to put her in the right direction for later books to happen. I even softened a bit to the big bad Simon by the end.

View all my reviews

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Immortal's Honor

Immortal's Honor (Dark Protectors, #14)Immortal's Honor by Rebecca Zanetti
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book totally tricked me into reading another motorcycle club book without me even noticing. It was fun, smutty, exciting, and ultimately took some big steps to the "big showdown."

Sam is yet another super secret member of the Seven's plan/protection for the big bad. With each book we get closer to a potential showdown, and even get some good progress here and epic battles. Since Sam is a protector (see what I did there?) he steps up to take on some of what should have been the role of his niece. Things are obviously not going well, since he gets his own book. He's blowing things up, lighting them on fire, and randomly getting pulled into different dimensions. The newest bonus, upon meeting Honor, an enhanced female, he somehow "infects" her with a similar affliction.

Honor has been swimming along in her weird life, content with normality until this hulking brute enters her life. Their interactions were simply wonderful to watch. She isn't one of those "save me, I'm a princess!" types, and it was refreshing. At every turn, she tries to get herself out of a bad situation before even thinking someone could help her. As a match, they are pretty good and work towards a balanced pair. The side stories for Hope and her friends also seamlessly mix with this story, giving us a good chance to progress the big plot. Overall, this is one of my favorite recent installments in the series.

View all my reviews

Blessing of Luna

Blessing of Luna (Wolfgods. #1)Blessing of Luna by Blaise Ramsay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is a unique spin on the typical werewolf/vampire book, with oodles of mythology and world building.

Jillian is immortal, made so by a curse because her fated mate is someone meant to bring balance to the very unbalanced world/war between werewolves (lycans) and vampires. He is reincarnated randomly into new bodies, and it's one such new body that shows up in her town in the form of Damien. Damien knows something is off about him, but doesn't quite understand the extent of that. Through a mix of a bit of stalking, threats on his life, one very understanding father, and very petty friends, Damien finds himself in the middle of a real war.

We start this book in somewhat normal territory, with Damien starting school, getting to reconnect with childhood friends, getting over some trauma, but that rapidly escalates into fated mate, fighting for your life territory, complete with tents and prophecies. While I am still a little unclear on Damien's complete set of powers, he certainly has a lot of weight on his shoulders. The book took us on a whole journey - what felt like years worth of time for Damien. As the setup for a series, this certainly delivered on world building.

View all my reviews