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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