Sunday, March 19, 2023

Queen’s Gambit

Queen’s Gambit (Dorina Basarab, #5)Queen’s Gambit by Karen Chance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve finally caught up with the Dorina series to where I am in Cassie’s books and I’m not sure I’m happy about it. Some of the criticism I had for the 2 parter in Cassie’s series apply here too - there’s not much wrap up in this book so be prepared for a lot of loose ends.

This book goes much like all other Dorina books - rapidly into crazy town with high levels of action, magic, and mayhem. There’s some Dorina/LC romance and drama since this starts with them on a half-honeymoon half-political tour to Egypt. It here that we get to learn what is probably too much about history. Why? Well, soon after their arrival, they are attacked (of course) and hit with magic that ends up separating Dory and Dorina, throwing one into a portal and keeping one to be lectured on history for some time. It ends up being kind of useful, but has the feeling of filler when you get there.

After fighting in both places with both characters I think I’ve decided I like Dorina more than Dory, which is bad, because while Dory’s story gets a little bit of a real ending, Dorina is left seriously hanging here. I get that this series and the others need to overlap and intersect, but it gives you a feeling that this was just a stepping stone to get you to pick up the other book. There were definitely more highlights in Dorina’s story than in Dory’s. I hope we get to divide our time in the next installment more heavily in there to make up for the imbalance here.

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Dark Alpha’s Fury

Dark Alpha's FuryDark Alpha's Fury by Donna Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The last book in the series?!? Say it ain’t so! This world is so rich and the characters so interesting that I am sad to let them go, but very happy with how it ended up playing out.

Xaneth is one of the wounded from the previous fae queen’s madness. She tortured him to the point that he escaped a changed man. With new powers to find evil, he feels compelled to stamp it all out in order to atone for whatever put him in that position in the first place. There is one exception to his tireless crusade, however, and that’s Aisling. Aisling feels just as drawn to him, but he is a prickly sort. They have danced around one another for a while now, but it took the big showdown where Aisling was seriously wounded for Xaneth to make any sort of move toward her.

Both Aisling and Xaneth came out of that battle changed, but the enemy got even more confirmation that she is his weakness. For good of bad, with that out in the open, they are forced to work together to finally put an end to their most powerful enemy. These two are such a good balance to one another that it was like two magnets fighting their attraction until now. By the end of the book, through some wonderful teamwork, we get the happy ending you’d hope for at the start. I wouldn’t change a thing!

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Sate the Darkness

Sate the Darkness (Guardians of Eternity #20)Sate the Darkness by Alexandra Ivy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How can this series still manage to surprise me, 20 books in? This combination of characters and setting were definitely not what I was expecting at all.

Sofie and Ryshi’s romance is definitely not standard. Ryshi was captured by the head vampire in charge when he was caught snooping around his house. How does one capture a half-jinn? Well, luckily there is a vampire with the powers to capture him in the form of Sofie. Sofie has committed to a life of self-imposed exile after her powers ended up making her a risk to others. Unfortunately, when the leader of the vampires says you need to escort a half-jinn into the famed labyrinth of the Minotaurs, you go.

Ryshi has been playing a long game. He could escape the prison he’s in at anytime but he isn’t done searching for his treasure yet. Said treasure also includes a vampire who captivated him. It’s on the journey together that they both uncover a deeper connection. Why are they on this trip? Well, of course it relates to Levet, unofficial god of mischief. He’s been taken and the combination powerhouse of Hades and Levet’s aunt force the vampire leader’s hands in the matter. If you’re joining the series this far in, just go with it. Either way, we get a sizzling romance, some fun adventure, and a really interesting world to explore all in one book!

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Resting Witch Face

Resting Witch Face (Stay a Spell, #5)Resting Witch Face by Juliette Cross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh my gosh, this book delivered! All the previous books poked at the mystery of Jules & Ruben’s previous failed romance, letting us think they were done but this book threw all that up in the air.

This book really did everything I wanted it to and more. I thought we would have to tiptoe around their history together and slowly get used to one another again. WRONG! The book essentially starts with Ruben saying he’s done waiting and actively pursuing Jules. Jules, the uptight and most responsible of the family, she’s the one that really needs to learn to let go - and boy does she ever! It was fantastic watching these two rekindle their lost romance and find out just how wrong they were about each other.

Along the way, we are taken on a journey that gives even more insight into the covens that rule each of the regions. Our pair is on a bit of a goodwill mission to campaign for werewolf rights and a bit of rebranding. If you thought the old school ways were bad in the previous books, wait until you see what happens on the last leg of their trip. Jules and Ruben wind up in a situation neither could have predicted. I won’t spoil the ending, but will say that this book really checks all the boxes: action, romance, smutty goodness, and a strong family connection at the heart. I can’t say enough good things about this one!

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Always Practice Safe Hex

Always Practice Safe Hex (Stay a Spell, #4)Always Practice Safe Hex by Juliette Cross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was a long time coming in this series. After seeing Livvy and Gareth become bigger and bigger enemies in their work on a competition, you just knew there would be some epic romance blooming. With Livvy being so work focused and Gareth literally giving off sexy vibes all the time, we all knew this was building in the background of the previous books.

Livvy has been so focused on being the best businesswoman that her romantic life has never really been her focus. She’s navigated a few relationships but her new teammates blows all the previous attraction she’s felt out of the water. Gareth is also used to a no strings attached life. Hiding as much as the grims do, it seems like the easy decision, but Livvy is clearly something more to him.

So - what’s the bigger story here outside their romance? They are working together as a team (plus one more participant) to help resolve some issues in their supernatural world, but there is a big bad hiding in their midst. What is originally dismissed as simple jealousy from Gareth eventually builds to something much more sinister. It gets a little dark towards the end, but we do get a wonderful resolution that wraps things up nicely.

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Saturday, March 4, 2023

Misery Happens

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

Wow, what a weird and insane trip this whole series has been. While I'm sad to see it end, I'm happy that all the characters ended up in a good spot. After all the mayhem and general badness, it's reassuring then a book can still pull out a happy ending.

Jess is still going through a lot when we join her in this book. She's mostly hated by the world, supported by a small group of folks, but still fighting off the big bad(s) and hoping her sort-of boyfriend wakes up from his coma. Even that is a lot to deal with, but couple that with training to save the world and trying to bring everyone along with you and she's got a pretty impossible task on her hands.

Lucen is definitely an even bigger superhero in this book. He manages to support Jess while not murdering his superiors as they put her through the wringer in training. Are there some bad times? Sure - but they work through it and come out stronger in the end. I can't even begin to summarize the ending and outcome here, and won't, so just suffice it to say that we see resolution in the best way possible. You even end up feeling a little bad for the bad/questionable characters.

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