Saturday, January 29, 2022


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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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