Saturday, June 25, 2022

The Warlord

The Warlord (Rise of the Warlords, #1)The Warlord by Gena Showalter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don't know what I was expecting of this Lords spinoff, but it wasn't this. This book took the things I hate about the Immortals after Dark series (mainly the icky non-consent parts) and sucked the witty fun out of the harpies from Lords and... here we are. Too bad I already grabbed the next book or I would have rethought continuing on in this series.

Taliyah is a harpy on her path to greatness. She's got some tricky genetics and mystical gifts, but she's also super determined. For some reason, when she finds out Roc, of the newly introduced Astra Planeta group, has attacked her home world, she ends up... letting him sexually assault her? It's a weird start to a romance, but OK. The goal of the plot is that Roc has to sacrifice a virgin bride to get some gifts or his men will lose battles for a really long time. Maybe it's the overall goal here I can't fully get behind, because things take the expected turn into mate-hood.

Is the smut good? Sure, once you get over the consent thing. Is the world rich? Yeah, there's oodles of characters and backstory to explore. I guess I had the biggest issue with the romance. When one party is locked up and has no right to fight, doesn't that make it a little... icky? It was to me, at least. I struggled to finish this book, so here's hoping the next is better.

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Shifter Battles

Shifter Battles (Thea Grove Vampire Hunter, #2)Shifter Battles by Molly Webb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am absolutely addicted to this series. I can't wait for more! I was surprised all over again when book 2 delivered as much if not more enjoyment than book 1 for me!

Thea is a hard working family outcast who is just trying to do what's right. What happens to be right in this story? A number of magical kids are getting struck down with a curse after seemingly unconnected events. It even impacts her mysterious dragon shifter friend's clan, which means Thea is obviously taking this unpaid gig. Throw in some politics, traumatic deaths, attacks, and as much mayhem as one book can contain and you've got a couple days in the life of Thea Grove.

A real highlight of this book was the slow burn between Thea and Marcus. No, we don't get the smut I may be used to, but it is really great to see Thea navigate the "normal" world outside her family's influence, while trying to reconcile her past. As her confidence grows, I can't wait to see what battles she wins next. Oh, and who doesn't love a cat as a main character?

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Beautiful Misery

Beautiful Misery (Miss Misery, #1.5)Beautiful Misery by Tracey Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oops! I skipped this nice short that occurs between books 1 & 2, and since it is free on amazon, I went back to fill the gap.

This is a very short installment that gives you a flavor of the time spent between Jess going through ALL of the things in book 1 and how she ends up in a comfortable-ish relationship with Lucen at the start of book 2. This has all the sizzle and sweetness you'd expect from these two and was a yummy sampler to hold me over for book 3. While definitely not required reading, it was a goodie.

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Dark Waves

Dark Waves (Mind Hackers, Novella)Dark Waves by Amanda Uhl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novella did everything that one should do - it got me hooked, made me want more, and was still a satisfying standalone read.

Audrey is a doctor tasked with helping a very unique group of individuals with gifts. In this "Mind Hacker" world, there's a high probability that the operatives will need her specific help. That's all good and well until something goes wrong that forces her to take an "impossible" case. Said case comes in the form of Kevin, an operative who has gone off the rails and has no desire to return. They have some obvious challenges, but they are overcome (with sexy results, too!). If you're looking for a soft into to this world, you should definitely check this book out. It reminded me that I wanted to dive back in!

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Monday, June 13, 2022

Dirty Little Misery

Dirty Little Misery (Miss Misery, #2)Dirty Little Misery by Tracey Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fantastic follow-up to book 1! We really see Jess start to come into her own even more, especially with the events at the end!

We join Jess as she is still dealing with the aftermath of being framed for murder. She was cleared, but there is still the same tension, especially around he slightly traumatized roommates. What's going well? Her relations with Lucen, now that she's fallen into that. Of course, there's a little bit of self sabotage going on there as she tries to hide secrets from just about everyone around her that she calls a friend. Her big secret also somehow manages to get even bigger in this book.

The big story here is Jess getting sucked into the Gryphon organization as a "consultant" to help solve some murders that are immediately assumed to be linked with the pred species she most closely tied herself to. Almost nobody has a true intention expressed here and it's exhausting for an outsider to try to untangle everything. By the end, though, Jess really has a better handle on things, though they certainly go to hell before then. I tore through this book in almost a single sitting because I couldn't stop. I can't wait to start the next one!

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Friday, June 10, 2022

Denying the Alpha

Denying the AlphaDenying the Alpha by Audrey Bobak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not usually good at reading anthologies, but this one found a way to keep me engaged through the whole thing.

Each story has a unique flavor of shifter/alpha/mate scenario that kept it feeling fresh but connected through the book. I'm pretty sure there is something for everyone in here at some point. There's dragons, wolves, reluctant, enthusiastic, extra smutty, light smut, and everything in between. While I didn't finish this book with any authors particularly standing out, I did enjoy reading each one for different reasons. I'd recommend this for some bite-sized stories you can enjoy on a break.

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Ignite the Fire: Incendiary

Ignite the Fire: Incendiary (Cassandra Palmer, #11)Ignite the Fire: Incendiary by Karen Chance
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have no idea how to rate this book, so I'm going to break it down into sections.

Enjoyment: Did I enjoy this book? Sometimes I did - the imagery is fun and the action is good, but I found myself almost bored with the constant craziness at this point. Is that wrong of me? Cassie is perpetually in danger but we usually get to some sort of... reason for it? This book felt a lot like filler. Lots and lots of filler, which is sad, because there is a lot we have to accomplish for Cassie to resolve all these issues!

Writing: The writing style is still great and full of insanity - in a good way for the writing aspects of this book. While I was bored sometimes, the author pulled me back to muddle through. I enjoy the dynamics between the characters, but the overall story that was supposed to pull me through was where I found it lacking.

Overall: I need to take a break from this series before going back for the next book (part 2?). Was this just a start of a story and I get the rest in the next one? I'm not really sure I'm ready for that.

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Friday, June 3, 2022

Mad for a Mate

Mad for a MateMad for a Mate by MaryJanice Davidson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was insane in the best of ways. Diving into this series after it started is a risky business, but you get a reward in the form of non-stop witty banter and craziness.

Magnus moved to town and proceeded to live on the loneliest place one could be - a solitary island, accessible by boat. After some weirdness, he ends up coming face-to-face with another shifter who washes up naked. Things get even stranger from there when she reluctantly introduces him to her team of prank/daredevil friends. Then things get sadder when they start to die.

There's an element of murder-mystery here, but it is mostly about the quirky family that has been established among the cooler shifters in the community. Try as he might, Magnus can't avoid their draw, especially with his goddaughter in their ranks. This book delivers the strangest yet most awesome of HEA, so it all ends up paying off in the end. I put this story down with a sigh and a smile.

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Fire Magic & Ice Cream

Fire Magic & Ice Cream (Casual Magic Book 1)Fire Magic & Ice Cream by Lauren Connolly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was so fun! Please please please let this be the start of a wonderful series, where all these quirky characters find their match!

Quinn is a magic user who has unfortunately been "cursed" by having her magic tied to her sex drive. This creates some issues, not only with any possible human partners, but with most other magical users, unless their magic can balance hers. As a fire magic type of gal, this leaves her with the seemingly thought extinct ice magic users. Enter August - the ice cream shop owner, purveyor of deliciousness, and the answer to all Quinn's prayers. Now if only they could both get over each other and see it!

There are ups and downs, lots of smutty goodness, and oodles of drama, but we get there. I was unable to stop reading this wonderful, silly, super fun story. If all the books in this series will be like this one, I'll happily sign up!

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Wednesday, June 1, 2022

The Darkest King

The Darkest King (Lords of the Underworld, #15)The Darkest King by Gena Showalter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think this book suffers from too much hype. If people were disappointed by the book about William's supposed destined mate previously, this will probably not meet expectations.

William has lived most of his immortal life trying to break his curse. His book is coded, so I guess it makes sense that he would ultimately be paired with a code breaker. I think the supposed disappointment will come in the fact that she's a new entity (though the breed has been mentioned before) and, well, she's essentially a carbon copy of all William's dialogue. Reading this book was like reading William falling in love with himself. So... did it deliver on finding his ultimate mate? I guess so, since William can probably only truly love himself.

There's other bits to this book, but it reads as very much a tying up of loose ends and reunion at the end. Is this the end of the series? It feels like it, either way. While I enjoyed the witty banter it might be a little strong for some readers. Smut level was good, but that's to be expected with William and the rest of the lords.

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Moon Over Hanks Hollow

Moon Over Hanks HollowMoon Over Hanks Hollow by Rachelle Kampen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I absolutely could not stop reading this book!

The pacing, the characters, the story, it all had me hooked! This book goes by so quickly but I never wanted it to end. As a teen paranormal romance, this was so much more! Rosie is the daughter of a werewolf alpha and a witch. It's a forbidden match that somehow breaks all their rules, giving an alpha a daughter for the first time ever. The council allows her to live to see what she becomes, which ends up being more than they bargained for. She's strong, compassionate, and has a blending of her mother and father's powers in the best kind of ways.

The romance? This is high school, so you expect some drama and this book doesn't disappoint. A pseudo love triangle, lots of fighting and smolder coupled with an added layer of normal/werewolf/witch thrown in for fun. This book starts off what is hopefully a very long lived series. I can't wait for the next book!

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