Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Nightshade’s Bite

Nightshade's BiteNightshade's Bite by Zoe Forward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After taking a long time between book 1 and 2 of this series, I can confirm that they can certainly be read as standalone books. I didn't remember anything of the world or the characters, but the author did a great job catching me up throughout.

Keira is a loner, having been burned (or almost chopped in half) by controlling people in her life before. She's a very old vampire and she has dedicated her life and resources to trying to subvert the war vampires have on werewolves. She hides her identity well, but has been forced to mostly hide who she is or play particular roles. On a night when she is flipping between roles, she ends up rescuing a very grumpy wolf from a hit squad. Said wolf turns out to be a celebrity of sorts in the werewolf world - Michael Durand.

Michael has also become a bit of a loner, forced to play the role of werewolf savior while not holding the title of king. He's lost all drive, other than a murderous feeling towards all vampires. That somehow doesn't seem to include Keira, who he is inexplicably drawn to. These two sizzle and it seems obvious to their friends/family/associates but they are determined to fight and martyr themselves instead. We get some solid resolution at the end of this book, but I'm still a little sad that the series appears to end here. There is a lot of potential for the side characters to get a more satisfying ending to their tale.

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Friday, January 19, 2024

Magic by the Book

Magic by the Book (House of Magic #4)Magic by the Book by Susanna Shore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm loving this world and the wonderful group of characters in the "gang." Poor Phoebe can't seem to catch a break, though!

We join Phoebe right after the end of the previous book. She and Kane kissed and I'm here for it! Unfortunately for me, nobody acknowledges it for far too long. On a day of antique gathering, they end up stranded and it doesn't even end with them making out. Sigh. It does, however, start the ball rolling down a path we should come to expect now. Phoebe, still learning about her magic, makes a deal with their unexpected host to purchase a pile of magic texts. One book, however, comes with more than they bargained for. Who knew that one book could bring with it family drama, demons, alchemists, and a smattering of con men/thieves?

While warding off thieves and con men, the magical crew gets dragged into vampire politics as well, giving us more yummy time with Morgan Hunt. Don't worry though, because we get some good romantic progress, though we do get the dreaded cliffhanger at the end of this one. I'm obviously going to dive right back in with the next book as soon as possible!

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Wish List

Wish List (How To Be The Best Damn Faery Godmother In The World Or Die Trying, #2)Wish List by Helen Harper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Admittedly, I took a bit of a hiatus between the previous book and this one, so it ended up taking me that much longer to get back "into" this world. Once I was there, though, I was cringing right along with Saffron as she tries to be the best Fairy Godmother ever!

Saffron is still sort-of on probation. She did a really great thing with Jasper in the previous book, stopping the Trolls from doing more damage, but they are definitely still out there (no matter what everyone wants to believe). After the horrible thing that the fairy godmothers did, they aren't likely to truly back down anytime soon. As part of this continued vigilance, Saffron is appointed the leader of a Troll task force. Determined to make a good impression, she dives in but it somewhat distracted by a particularly troublesome client.

Rose is definitely trouble. She seems like a nice old lady on paper who just needs her wish granted but she and her dog conspire against Saffron at every turn. There is so much chaos jammed into the journey we go on that I'm not even sure how to summarize it all. Ultimately, though, Jasper and Saffron manage to pull things off that I'd never have predicted at the start. Also something to note, this is less romance than I usually read, definitely leaning more into fantasy/paranormal than my romantic side. Definitely a slow, slow, slow burn.

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Sunday, January 14, 2024

Cooper’s Passion

Cooper's Passion: Scanguards Hybrids #5 (Scanguards Vampires Book 17)Cooper's Passion: Scanguards Hybrids #5 by Tina Folsom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At this point in the series, you should know what you’re in for here. There’s going to be vampires (or hybrids, or witches, or something), there’s going to be an element of fated mates to hurry things along, and there’s going to be smutty goodness.

If you’re new to the series, I’m not even really sure what to tell you. 17 books in and now 5 into the spinoff, there’s a lot of characters, world building, and lore that’s thrown at you. If you can roll with the punches, I guess you can catch up, but I’ve been here for the entire ride so I know what to expect and can appreciate seeing character that you’ve essentially watched grow up now find their mates. Cooper is a hybrid son of two previous characters in the original series, now making it on his own at Scanguards. He ends up meeting Anita at a crime scene where she mistakenly thinks he is a killer and tries arresting him.

Anita is on forced holiday from her role at the police force. She’s convinced there is a serial killer loose and is determined to track their next location (and hopefully save someone!). While trying to use her contacts to see if the latest victim matches the one she watched be abducted, she stumbles upon Cooper. Many misunderstandings occur, but they end up going out for a drink (with sexy results). Anita is stubborn but willing to take a chance on Cooper, even working with him to share her theory. The romance feels a little bit rushed, but I’m here for where we end up. All in all, this was a short read and delivered what I expected. These books are always low stakes (get it?) and sometimes you just want some goodness without the scares.

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Goddess of Summer Love

Goddess of Summer Love (Cursed Luck, #1.5)Goddess of Summer Love by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having thoroughly enjoyed the introductory book in this series, I was happy to find that there is a short story that takes place immediately after. I'm pretty sure you shouldn't read this book if you haven't read the previous one.

We get to join Vanessa as she sets to work about matchmaking her newly made friends. On a visit to Unstable for the opening of Kennedy's new shop, the whole gang from book 1 ends up back together again. While Vanessa was hoping to connect Aiden with Kennedy, Rian ends up showing up to crash the party, too. She rallies the troops, though, to try to solve an unsolvable mystery. It was short, sweet, but satisfying as a small appetizer to the next book.

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Endings and Empathy

Endings and Empathy (Amplifier, #6)Endings and Empathy by Meghan Ciana Doidge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is all mashed into what feels like one big scene. When I read the previous short leading up to this, I knew this would be a battle, but I didn't realize it would take up the entirety of the last book in the series.

Emma is going to save the rest of the five, of course. It doesn't matter who captured them or how dangerous it is, the whole team is going to get back together again. It was a little strange how we ended up here, what with Bee and all her weird baggage, but that was the least of my concerns. There is a lot of danger in this book, but in true Emma fashion, she bulldozes her way through it all. We get the final piece in the Collective (I think?) and round out the family that Emma has built for herself and her friends.

While, yes, there is action and adventure and rescue and horrible things, what ended up standing out most to me is the almost epilogue we get. Emma and co settling in, becoming what constitutes "normal" for them, and giving us a little glimpse into what might just be the rest of their relatively uneventful lives. As the last book in this series, it definitely checks all the boxes, tying up loose ends to varying degrees of satisfaction.

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