Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Lover Uncloaked

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

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

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

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

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Garrett's Destiny

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

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

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

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

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Lover’s Knot

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

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

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

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Friday, October 14, 2022

Destined Dragon

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

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

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

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

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Sinister Desires

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

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

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

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Devouring Darkness

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

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

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

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

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Blood of Zeus

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

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

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

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

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Fury’s Kiss

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

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

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

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

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Sunday, October 2, 2022

After the Bite

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

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

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

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

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Spellcrest Academy – Year Two

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

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

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

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

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