Saturday, November 26, 2022

Dragon’s Claw

Dragon's Claw (Dorina Basarab, #4.5)Dragon's Claw by Karen Chance
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this shorter story on my kindle (I’ve been doing the books via audible), thinking that maybe I was having an issue with the narration. That wasn’t the case, while I liked that this was a more bite-sized version of the mayhem usually included in the world of Dory, this was still a struggle to finish.

This story is essentially a mystery - how did a bunch of vampires end up dead with bullet holes but no bullets? This ends up taking Dory into a weird alternate dimension with Ray. The Ray parts were definitely the best here. We get some “angel” stuff, some vampire political drama (sigh), some familiar faces, and an ending that left me exhausted and feeling lost again. Maybe I’m reading these wrong and I need to break them into 1 chapter chunks. My typical reading style is +1 hour at a time, which in this type of book adds up to 4 insane fights, 3 POV jumps, and a whole mess of imagery. It manages to make me feel like I read a book an a half by the time I take a break.

The good stuff in this book all had to do with Ray. The bad stuff in this book all had to do with dimensional shifting and politics. I’m definitely taking a break from the series for now.

View all my reviews

Shadow’s Bane

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

These books make me feel dumb. There is so much POV swapping that I am completely lost most of the time or the action scenes are so ridiculous that I just stop caring as much. Either way, I think I need a break from Dory/Dorina.

This book was about… a lot of things. The bigger story is about slavers and what they want to deliver as their end game. To get to the resolution here we have to jump through a ton of hoops, each more ridiculous than the last. The good here? Claire’s coming to terms with her awesome abilities. Ray in all his scenes (he is the star here). Mircea and Dory’s growing relationship. L-C winning prizes for Dory’s “kid.” The trolls being awesome (but a little too political in this one). The bad? As I said above, it was so hard to keep things straight between the insane action scenes with too many combatants, the flip-flopping POV (Dory/Dorina, Dory/Mircea, etc.), or the fact that for all the craziness, nobody important ever dies. I’m going to give the short story after this one a shot, then probably take a break because these books are EXHAUSTING to read.

View all my reviews

Playing with Fire

Playing with Fire (Tales of an Extraordinary Girl, #1)Playing with Fire by Gena Showalter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book definitely lands somewhere between a 3 and a 4 star read, so erring on the side of how I felt at the end. That being said, I was a little worried at the beginning.

Belle is flakey, though she persists that she is definitely not. She ends up getting fired from most jobs because, even though she is the sole provider for her dad’s assisted living bills, she can’t seem to be a good employee. She shows up late, is rude, and doesn’t appear to take anything seriously (even with her dad’s chronic condition). When a scientist runs across the street into her coffee shop, all hells breaks loose. There’s a mysterious shadowy government agency trying to find him after he disappears, and the cops never actually show up after the chaos. That doesn’t stop Belle from drinking her unattended beverage and that was one too many bad decisions for the universe to take.

Rome shows up in her apartment after she passes out for a few days. He’s also part of a shadowy agency and hiding (badly) his own magical powers. Belle is developing a set of her own that threatens to light all the things on fire and blow all the things away. I guess we are supposed to feel the attraction between these two, but it starts out pretty icky with him changing her while she (a stranger) is unconscious. Bonus points for him not killing her? Weird. Oh, and we very quickly meet Belle’s new sidekick, a young boy who became an orphan but has enough money to proposition her on the street. A match made in heaven!

Throw all of these characters into a life-or-death situation for the family Belle unknowingly (or knowingly?) endangered, plus a psychic ex girlfriend of Rome’s who is oddly OK with them making out in her living room, and you’ve got a big showdown at the end. As we round towards the finish, we meet another interesting electricity powered dude I’d like to know more about, but there’s so many other loose ends to tie up! We get to a HEA, but man I need more! I also need more explanation for the new job, the very hasty bonus romance, and where everyone else goes from here.

View all my reviews

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Darkest Misery

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

I’m liking where this series is headed and eager to pick up with the next book!

That being said, I guess this was a necessary evil type of installment. Jess is forced to work with all the paranormal races and the Gryphons in order to try to stop the apocalypse. That’s kind of important, but nobody can find a way to get along, with the satyr contingent ending up being one of the worst in a surprising and yucky way. There are a few different layers of crappiness that all work together to somehow push Jess on a trip to France to try to get some progress. It’s also surprising that we get very little of the main boyfriend and wayyyy more Devon. My level of OK with this is on the same page as Jess’s.

So, do we make progress in the larger apocalypse storyline here? Yes, but it felt… bad. There are a ton of questions and things I need resolved, but I am content to let them be worked out later when we have the full Scooby gang back together. I kind of think I ended this book liking the Gryphons more, which leaves me very conflicted.

View all my reviews


Antonio: Vampires in Europe (Vampires in America, #15)Antonio: Vampires in Europe by D.B. Reynolds
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve read all of the previous books in this series, and while I don’t think that’s necessary, it definitely helps understand the overall world and buildup to the current focus. I’d also recommend checking them out because, while I still enjoyed this book, there may be others you’d enjoy more.

This book is Antonio’s story, which really ends up being Rachel’s tale. Rachel is an assassin for the Society, a shadowy organization that kills “others.” Her mother is the head of the organization, and Rachel was treated as an orphan since she was very young. Her connections and ability to persevere ended up getting her a coveted spot in their crew of assassins. Lately, though, it seems like her jobs are getting harder and harder, leading her to believe they may be trying to retire her early. Her latest assignment, to assassinate Antonio, reinforces that.

Antonio is a vampire lord and really should not even be on Rachel’s list of possible targets because they are so unevenly matched. The plan is to seduce him, which also shouldn’t work, but vampire mate bonds work in strange ways. It takes a large portion of the book for these two to even be in the same room, so if you’re looking for lots of romance and smutty good times, there isn’t a bunch in here. The majority of the book was spent in the buildup to what is a pretty awesome battle. To be honest, I was more excited about what the epilogue may be hinting to next than this couple.

View all my reviews

City of Night

City of NightCity of Night by Linsey Hall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was so good! I delayed writing a review because I really wanted to give this book the justice it deserves.

The name and general description seem to indicate this will be another PNR with reluctant heroine and sexy bad boy demon romance. Is that true? On the surface, sure, but this book is so much more. Cora has worked for some bad people doing bad things with her even worse powers because her mother sold her off when she was very young. When she finds a bookshop inheritance in New Orleans, she takes the opportunity as a way to escape and start a “real life.” Unfortunately for her, this life comes with a book shop that’s haunted, paranormal territories that require a certain level of obedience, and random folks getting nabbed off the street. It’s the last that finally pushes to many of Cora’s buttons and sends her back into hunting.

She finds a partner in the local demon leader, Talan. After a little fighting and arrogance, these two end up lighting the pages on fire. The more Cora fought, the more I was rooting for them to end up having some fun times together. Working together on the mysterious disappearances ends up being the push they both needed to get over themselves. It was fun to watch the unique blend of paranormal elements in this universe unfold and I absolutely cannot wait for another book in this series!

View all my reviews

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Samhain’s Bargain

Samhain's Bargain (The Summoner’s Mark Book 4)Samhain's Bargain by J. D. Blackrose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a wonderful short story to take us between the previous book and future one! After all the insanity and loss from the previous story, everyone is still very raw.

Becs is still recovering and adjusting to the loss of her boyfriend/guardian angel/BFF. This is a slow process, and she has found solace in her friends, her inherited shop, and even the ex-mobster Gregory. Gregory is going through his own grieving process, having accepted that his mom is stuck in a horrible hell world. He’s trying to be good, but lots of things are fighting against him. Namely - Lucifer has decided that he is the weak link here.

In this story we meet Samhain, who is eagerly looking forward to his once a year visit to earth, to check in with his worshipers and generally party it up. Lucifer ends up connecting with him with nefarious intentions, using him as a ticket to Becs. All in all, this was a good “between” story, helping us transition from the loss/grief angle and into one where Gregory is trying to pivot to being bad, but for good reasons. I’m eager to see where this world takes us and how their relationship evolves.

View all my reviews

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Darkest Desires

Darkest Desires: A Club Fray HalloweenDarkest Desires: A Club Fray Halloween by Raven Hush
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This short story was dirty and fun. I’m not familiar with the Club Fray world, but I don’t think you need to be to gobble up this Halloween tale.

Enota has been burned by previous Doms and is taking a break from the scene while still working at the front desk. This particular club is filled with shifters of different varieties. That’s why when a human named Mace walks in, she immediately tries to hide him away in one of the rooms. After gettin him there, she inadvertently locks them both in. Through a bit of conversation, a tour, and sharing, they end up together in the most intimate of ways. This story resolves in a HEA for both and some smiles all around (and sexy times).

View all my reviews

Warrior Unraveled

Warrior Unraveled (Stealth Guardians Book 3)Warrior Unraveled by Tina Folsom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is what I’ve been eager for - the official cross-over book for Scanguards and Stealth Guardians.

Wes is the resident witch in a bunch of vampires, so it makes sense he would roam about causing trouble. Well, it starts as trouble, when he is held in a cell after using a Stealth Guardian portal in the previous book. He manages to win that lot over, but it all comes crashing down again when Virginia, a new council member, reminds everyone that he could be a threat. Things escalate pretty quickly after she takes him to see the council (and get locked up again), where they end up in the demon’s realm, then on the run, then in sexy times, then trying to figure out who is sharing information with the demons.

Wes really shines here. Virginia is conflicted and guilt ridden but eventually realizes how awesome Wes is. These two are an unlikely couple, and maybe that’s why it is interesting. We get oodles of familiar faces showing up as the two factions work out a way to work for the common good. If you haven’t read the other series, I highly recommend it! Hopefully these snippets of personalities have given you the push to expand into the vampire world. Either way, this was another good book in the series, further pulling me into the Stealth Guardian world.

View all my reviews

Master Unchained

Master Unchained (Stealth Guardians, #2)Master Unchained by Tina Folsom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m happy we immediately got to circle back to Hamish in this book and he definitely gets a karmic hit after all the ribbing he did about mates in the previous book.

Hamish has been burned before by someone he thought was his mate, but was really the enemy in disguise. It’s no surprise that he is slow to trust and happy to avoid women most days. After recently turning down a position on the ruling body of their kind, he couldn’t very well turn down a guardian assignment, too. He wants to, though, when he is tasked with protecting a woman and pretending to be her boyfriend. Tessa, the woman in question, is just as angry about the arrangement, since the deciding event for a “bodyguard” was a series of death treats. It’s not a huge surprise, because she’s running for office on a platform to clean up a city decimated by crime. It’s this battle that aligns Tessa and Hamish fully, making them reluctantly accept the situation.

This would be good and well, but this secret Stealth Guardian ends up giving up his secret rather quickly when demons attack. Throw in a mystery, more attempts on her life, and oodles of sizzling sexy times, and you’ve got the romantic love story of Tessa and Hamish. Do they fight? Oh yeah, they fight. But all that ends up making the HEA we get even sweeter. Another good one for the series, especially because we officially merge this and the other world of this author at the end here.

View all my reviews