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Currently Browsing: paranormal romance
Oct
17

Review: Grigori by Lauren Smith

Review: Grigori by Lauren Smith Grigori Author:  Lauren Smith Reviewer: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: Grigori is the debut novel in the Brothers of Ash and Fire series.  Gikany and Una were interested in this new urban fantasy series focusing on dragon shifters.  We were pleasantly surprised that it is not just about dragons shifters and, although there were a few odd notes, we liked our introduction to this new world. The premise and mythology of the dragon shifters was interesting.  We did, however, wonder how they could even attempt flying in dragon form, no matter how rural an area is, with satellite surveillance and other modern technology.  Despite all of that, it was fascinating to imagine Grigori flying in his stunning dragon form.  Grigori’s immediate desire to mate with Madelyn upon catching her scent made perfect sense.  So did his chivalry:  Grigori is thousands of years old.  This longevity was overshadowed by a sense of melancholy.  Considering how small the Barinov family is and how few close companions they must have, their melancholy is not surprising.  It was most notable in some of the interactions between Grigori and his brother Rurik. One thing we felt was odd about this story is an issue that centers on Madelyn.  Even in this modern age, a single woman would hesitate to venture into a country alone with only a basic understanding of the local language.  It just doesn’t seem prudent or safe.  Then after Grigori kidnaps her, the instant and overwhelming attraction she has for him is bizarre.  She even jokes about how she is suffering from Stockholm syndrome.  Their “courtship” is rather terse and although the romance is sizzling, the fuse was quite short.  We understand the drive of mating, but Madelyn’s reaction was unexpected.  In the end, we loved how the truth revealed itself.  We liked the allusion to Romeo and Juliet’s infamous love story.  We hope to see Grigori and Madelyn in the next novel. Overall, we liked this new take on modern day dragon shifters.  Although this first novel is a little clunky with its odd notes, the flow of the story and romantic journey of Grigori and Madelyn more than compensated.  We look forward to reading about Grigori and Rurik’s lost brother, Mikhail, in the next Brothers of Ash and Fire novel. Our Rating: B, Liked It About the Book: He’s one of the last of a powerful but vanishing bloodline … Grigori Barinov is the eldest...
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Oct
16

Review + Excerpt: Midnight Unleashed by Lara Adrian

Review + Excerpt: Midnight Unleashed by Lara Adrian Midnight Unleashed Author: Lara Adrian Reviewer: Jen Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: Six weeks ago, Tamisia (Sia) was banished from the Atlantean colony where she helped rule as council member; trusting the wrong man earned her a lifetime on Earth. Now she finds meaning in helping run a shelter for women and children in Rome, with fellow Atlantean Pheaedra. But when a deadly Breed Order operation causes the death of one under her care, Sia decides to take action. Trygg, a dangers Gen One Hunter assassin who prefers to work solo, is obsessed with bring down the human responsible for distributing the deadly Red Dragon drug. When his mission crosses paths with the beautiful Sia, his emotions start getting in the way of his job. As much as he tries to avoid her, Trygg seems destined to tangle with the Atlantean. Sia, who was introduced in Defy the Dawn (Midnight Breed #14), put her love and trust in Elyon, who was a traitor and still loyal to the evil Atlantean Queen. This resulted in the deaths of two Atlanteans and the colony was quick to blame Sia, banishing her and placing her under the protection of the Breed leader, Lazlo. Trygg also has trust issues, first from his youth as a Hunter under Dragos, and then when he was used by another who he thought loved him. This makes a relationship difficult to say the least – with two people both weary of the world and unable to trust one another. Yet, they cannot fight attraction and their mutual backgrounds seem to draw them closer rather than push them apart. Midnight Unleashed is another good Midnight Breed novella that carries the same basic romantic premise as so many before it. It starts with a main couple who can’t stand one another. He’s rough and alpha, she’s tough yet feminine and tender. They are attracted but don’t like that they are. And then, in a matter of days, all hesitation melts away and they just know they are meant to be. “It was as if she’d been waiting for this all her long life. Waiting for this man to awaken her and make her feel truly alive.” They are in love – the kind that will last an eternity. If you are good with the basic premise than I highly recommend Midnight Unleashed, and the series in general. The bottom line is that I liked Sia. I liked Trygg....
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Oct
12

Review: A.L.F.A. Mates by by Milly Taiden

Review: A.L.F.A. Mates by by Milly Taiden A.L.F.A. Mates Author: Milly Taiden Reviewer: VampBard Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Strangely enough, Milly Taiden is a new-to-me author! I have had her on a list of “I should really read her…” but haven’t ever gotten to her on my TBR. I know. No one is surprised. I was super excited to pick up the first two titles in her A.L.F.A. series in one volume—I’m pretty sure I swooped in on that like a corvid to road kill. The first story is Elemental Mating, and it features Melinda and Hamel. One thing I really liked about their story was how intense Melinda was. The scientist seemed to be at the forefront most of the time, and I loved her inquisitive mind. What I liked most about Hamel is that he was pretty bound & determined to keep Melinda safe. Things get a little hairy when there’s a couple events that put Melinda in danger—as well as her research. This title had a lot more to it than I expected, and could’ve been a longer title—I felt there was a lot crammed into around 150 pages-ish. The second story, Mating Needs, was interesting. Okay. I got my copy via NetGalley and I’m hoping there was another round of editing happening—it did take me a little extra time to get through this story because there were so many proof-y things they distracted me. But, I’m sure the publisher would ensure this was addressed. So, it’s not figuring into my review. I just had to put it out there. I have a long-standing fascination with the Mafia—more specifically, Al Capone. I’m not going into all the stupid, anecdotal stuff I know about him because of my obsession interest. Which is why Amie kept me riveted to this title. Not gonna lie. I have a predilection for cougar shifters, and Frank’s draw to Amie drew me in. Complications, you say? Oh, this title definitely had them. I really liked the way they worked out, though. All elements of a well-written story, which Ms. Taiden delivered. I’m definitely on-board for reading more sexy shifters in Ms. Taiden’s ALFA series—a third title had an excerpt in the back of the edition I read. I did NOT read the excerpt because that’s something I don’t do, but I am still excited. My Rating: B, Liked It About the Book: The Alpha League Federal Agency is sworn to protect humanity from paranormal threats and now...
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Oct
11

Review + Blog Tour: Sightlines by Santino Hassell

Review + Blog Tour: Sightlines by Santino Hassell Sightlines Author: Santino Hassell Reviewer: B. Rating: A What I’m Talking About: After thoroughly enjoying the first two books in The Community series by Santino Hassell, and having built up so much of my own anticipation for the third, I was very happy when Sightlines surpassed all my expectations. Essentially broken down into two parts—a brutal look at the insidious nature of “The Farm” and Chase and Elijah’s attempt to escape, followed by a reckoning for “The Comm” as a whole—this story weaves the previously unraveling threads back together into new possibilities, and gives some extraordinary characters a chance to truly live. Chase has been a perplexity and source of fascination for me since I first read Insight, and Sightlines underscores that his presence in all three narratives is imperative. Both a prize and pariah, he’s too dangerous to be trusted, yet too unique and powerful to be eliminated. Reduced to a thing to be dissected with an eye towards replication, his story was tough to get through, mostly because the monsters here actually do exist in one incarnation or another in the world around us. As he’s undergone what may be the most jarring evolution since the beginning of the series, I found Elijah to be similarly engaging in Sightlines. There’s a purity to him that’s still downright shiny in a lot of ways, and it’s no wonder that Chase finds himself as perplexed as he does. I also felt that Elijah’s loss of naivety beautifully intersected with the stuttering rebirth of Chase’s capacity to hope, and the resulting collision was as provocative as it was sweet. What made The Community so terrifying to me wasn’t any single moment, but, rather, the fear, greed, and twisted purpose that might lead—indeed, has led—some to perpetrate the horrors we ought never be willing to inflict on one another. While it is a work of fiction, Sightlines makes several extremely pertinent affirmations about human nature, beginning with Chase’s early observation that: “Apathy was humanity’s biggest crime. Not murderous intent.” From the beginning, Sightlines proved itself to be a strong and welcome addition to a series I’ve come to care about quite a lot. Chase and Elijah have long been a source of character-driven anxiety—in the best manner possible—for me, and I was very gratified with the way their story ended. Additionally, everyone I came to love from the first two books is back, an eventuality I admit to being especially greedy...
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Sep
29

Review: Of Flame and Fate by Cecy Robson

Review: Of Flame and Fate by Cecy Robson Of Flame and Fate Author: Cecy Robson Reviewer: Gikany and Una Rating: B- What We’re Talking About: Of Flame and Fate is the second spin-off novel from the Weird Girls series focusing on Taran (nicknamed the Flame series).  Although the overall plot of this book was intriguing, there was just a little too much angst for our enjoyment. Some angst is normal in this series.  The girls seem to continually need to prove themselves, not just to the supernatural community, but also to themselves.  The continuing power struggles between Taran and Gem just added to the melodrama.  Although they did make up in the last novel, they are still not 100% through their issues.  One could say they begrudgingly worked well together in this book, if struggling, growling, and arguing are normal in every couple’s interactions.  It would be awesome to see them actually honestly communicate with each other.  Gem is good at it, but Taran really needs to open up honestly with Gem. There were other angst-ridden plot lines in this novel.  One of which is the battle over the fate of Johnny Fate.  Although it was a little predictable how things with Johnny would go, we were still surprised by the ending.  We have no idea what is next, but we can’t wait to see Taran get even.  Destiny has always been a fun character and it was difficult to watch her slow demise.  The anguish of Tye was heart wrenching and painful to experience. It also seems that poor Emme continues to have her heart in a blender.  We hope that Emme will eventually not only find someone who will love and support her, but that she will have a book that is told from her point of view.  After having Bren’s point of view in a previous novella, it is strange to see how he is treating Emme now.  We hope Bren figures himself out or that his wolf and his human side reach an agreement and make the right choice. Although overly angst-riddled, we still liked this latest Weird Girls adventure, focusing on Taran.  With the cliffhanger ending, we wonder what will happen next.  Hopefully Taran and Gem will have an honest discussion and Destiny’s predictions for the children come true.  We know for sure, we are waiting for the next Weird Girls story. Our Rating:  B- Liked It, but we had a small issue About the Book: Taran Wird, who commands the power...
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Sep
20

Review: Archangel’s Viper by Nalini Singh

Review: Archangel’s Viper by Nalini Singh Archangel’s Viper Author: Nalini Singh Reviewer: Jen Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Holly, a series’ fringe character who was brutally terrorized by the archangel Uram back in the beginning of the series, was left for nearly dead and Made into something not quite right. She now serves Raphael’s Tower under the close supervision of Dmitri and the Seven. However, after a kidnapping attempt, the gang discovers there is a bounty on Holly. With Viper back in town, it’s up to him to keep her safe. Figuring out who is after Holly and what she’s becoming are the focus of Archangel’s Viper. The story takes place concurrent in time to the previous book, Archangel’s Heart, while Raphael and Elena are far from Manhattan. Dmitri is left in charge, and with the support of Illium and Viper, they keep the territory safe while their sire is away. This allows room for Holly to explore her otherness and the changes happening under her skin without fear that Raphael will end it prematurely. With so much of the book’s plotlines focused on Holly, Archangel’s Viper isn’t really Viper’s story. This one belongs to her. Nearly broken after her capture by Uram, she’s evolving into something other, and Viper is the one person who can relate. During the story they bond – deepening a friendship born out of respect and understanding. They also explore their sexual chemistry, but this is secondary to Holly’s coming-of-age tale. I enjoyed watching Viper and Holly piece together what has happened to and what is becoming of Holly. However, I was a little bit frustrated with the kidnapping storyline, because it dropped off, taking a backseat to her evolution, shortly after it began. While I still classify Archangel’s Viper a paranormal romance, the romance piece is very slow-burning and not the primary focus of the book. Yet, it doesn’t matter to me because I enjoyed the interactions between Viper and Holly, regardless of how mild or flirty. These are two characters we know little about, so watching them develop before my eyes and learn so much more about both was entertaining. All in all, Archangel’s Viper is another exciting, engrossing story in one of my favorite series. Ms. Singh gets an A+ for her world-building and character development, with each book in the Guild Hunter series adding so much to the overall picture. I look forward to each installment and cannot wait to see what she cooks up...
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Sep
6

Review: Blood Guard by Megan Erickson

Review: Blood Guard by Megan Erickson Blood Guard Author: Megan Erickson Reviewer: Jen Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: Tendra’s mom passed away in car wreck in recent years, leaving Ten all alone in Mission. Something in Ten tells her it’s time to move on, just like she and her mom moved so many times growing up. But that night, Ten’s whole world turns upside down. Athan is a vampire and Ten’s blood guard. Tendra is the Sanguivita of the Gregorie vampire clan. Her mother knew all about it and was supposed to tell Ten, but was killed before she had the chance. Now Athan will escort Ten to live as his brother’s mate. Blood Guard is the solid start to a unique paranormal romance series. I enjoyed the mythology which has some original components; however, it is traditional in ways that helped fill in any gaps. Some of the hallmark paranormal elements such as a prophesy and meant-to-be love gave the story a familiar feel. Unknown to Ten before the night she meets Athan, there are vampires living among the humans, and it is prophesied that she will bring the Gregorie clan much power, which they will use to protect humankind. Tendra and Athan share a forbidden attraction, and being on the run together only heightens the sexual chemistry. She is destined for his brother, the future king, and immediately, she is compelled to fulfill her roll. But that attraction… it gets to be too much, and the pair fall into a dangerous liaison. Funny how prophesies tend to have a way of working out, even when a huge wrench or two is tossed into the mix. While overall I enjoyed the story, I did have to make a big leap of faith with how things go down. I felt Ten was compliant without justification. She just goes along with Athan never really questioning anything. And I didn’t buy how easily she integrates herself into the vampire culture. She just accepts her duty like suddenly she belongs and it’s her life. It is all too easy. I think the second book will be strong because won’t have to world build as much. Blood Guard is enjoyable, even with my small issues, and I look forward to checking out what happens next in this new paranormal romance series. My Rating: B- Liked It, but I had a few small issues About the Book: Tendra: One minute, I’m a bartender in gritty Mission City; the next,...
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Aug
24

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Accidental Sire by Molly Harper

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Accidental Sire by Molly Harper Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Accidental Sire Author: Molly Harper Narrator: Amanda Ronconi Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Half-Moon Hollow #6 Genre: Paranormal Romance Source: Purchased Accidental Sire opens at the conclusion of Big Vamp on Campus novella. Series part-timer Ben is smitten with Ophelia’s human friend Megan. But just as they say goodnight, Megan is accidentally struck by a heavy weight and killed. A volunteer vampire agrees to sire her and then vanishes. When Megan wakes after only 24 hours and has two sets of fangs, Jane Jameson and the Vampire Counsel swoop in to discover what is going on and mentor the newly made vampire. It’s been a few books since the story has focused on the original Jane Jameson group and Half-Moon Hollow, but Accidental Sire brings back all the favorites of Half-Moon Hollow and the Council offices. Whether or not it is the return to the familiar setting and characters, Accidental Sire just feels good. Little issues I’ve had with the previous books were nonexistent. The story is tight and the characters likable, without annoying habits or too-stupid-to-live flaws. While Ben and Megan’s story is on the light side, it’s very much appropriate for the college-aged couple. They have an adorable meet-cute, but the whole being turned into a vampire thing puts a damper on their budding romance. I enjoyed the slower pace, which was filled with laugh-out-loud moments. A Molly Harper audiobook wouldn’t be the same without the terrific work of Amanda Ronconi. She has the perfect amount of southern charm, bundled with sharp wit and droll sarcasm to fit Ms. Harper’s characters. I swear I can see Ms. Ronconi roll her eyes when portraying Jane. However, while I love Amanda’s narration, it is very difficult to hear differences between her characters at times. This is compounded by the fact that each Half-Moon Hollow book is written in first person narrative, with each book featuring a different female lead. So it makes for some difficulty following who is speaking at times, most noticeably between the female characters. Accidental Sire is a wonderful mix of Molly Harper’s trademark humor, a sweet romance, and an intriguing mystery. I laughed out loud more than once at silly jokes referencing pop culture and people just being silly. Every character has a bit of snark, and Amanda Ronconi gives the dialogue just the right emphasis, pulling off the sarcasm seamlessly. Story Rating: A- Narration: A- About...
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Aug
22

Review: So I Married a Sorcerer by Kerrelyn Sparks

Review: So I Married a Sorcerer by Kerrelyn Sparks So I Married a Sorcerer Author: Kerrelyn Sparks Reviewer: Una Rating: A-  What I’m Talking About: The Embraced series is so far a truly fascinating mythology.  So I Married a Sorcerer is an exciting and thrilling sequel to How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days. First, I really enjoy this world.  Those born on a night when the two moons are touching (so called “embraced”) are born with special abilities.  Unless born on this night, you will be a normal human person.  The main continent is predominately ruled by men and the culture worships the sun god.  They kill those that are embraced.  On a small island, cloisters of women who worship the twin moon goddesses live in relative isolation.  It is here where those families will abandon their embraced children in order to keep them safe if unable to keep them safe themselves.  A group of young woman, embraced orphans on the island is the focal of this series. Brigitta and Rupert’s journey was a fascinating one.  I enjoyed this tale of a dreaded pirate that wreaks havoc on the seas.  However if a closer look is taken, Rupert’s piracy has a very particular focus and an even more noble goal.  Brigitta learns that she is the younger sister to an evil king, as it turns out the same King that the pirate Rupert targets exclusively.  As Rupert first sees Brigitta as a means to an end, it goes from using her to keeping her safe from a brother that will ultimately abuse and destroy her.  I enjoyed watching Brigitta’s fortune unwind.  The attraction and tit-for-tat between her and Rupert was captivating. The side story of the nun that accompanies Brigitta was a fun and intriguing side story.  I enjoyed the comic relief that Sister Fallyn provided, as well as her own self-journey.  Sister Fallyn’s fear of pirates was a witty backdrop while they are held captive by Rupert.  Though this story can be read as a standalone, it is much richer and more enjoyable to follow each sister.  The previous couple and other sisters do make appearances in this story.  It is wonderful to be able to see the “after” the happily-ever-after ending. If you enjoy a well-balanced fantasy and romance novel with a fascinating mythology, you might want to pick up The Embraced.  I recommend starting with How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days so you can fully enjoy So I Married a Sorcerer....
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Aug
15

Review: Soul Redeemed by Keri Lake

Review: Soul Redeemed by Keri Lake Soul Redeemed Author: Keri Lake Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: It feels like I’ve been waiting forever for more Sons of Wrath! The goodness that Keri Lake puts into these books—they’re sexy, fun, hoooottttt, and balanced with heart-wrenching angst—makes reading a compulsion…but I wanted to savor every word. I guess I was as conflicted as the characters! Calix and Ava. Yessssss! We knew it was coming. I can honestly say I’m SO happy with how this book played out. Obviously no spoilers, but here’s the low-down: I wish I’d had a consecutive 6+ hours to read this book. Then again, I liked reading in little bites so I could mull over the possibilities before taking my next nibble. Such a double-edged sword. Ava seriously screwed up, but one theme that’s consistent through this title is forgiveness. And, not just Ava’s forgiveness. I **literally** cried at the end. So, Ava was infected with the Sang virus. Ol’ Ollie went all mad scientist and everything. Obviously, this state would affect Ava’s relationship with Calix. What I liked about the virus aspect is that it’s consistent through the titles and that we keep learning more and more about it. I also love that it wasn’t beleaguered in this title—we’ve already learned a lot about it, and we just see what’s going on in the **ahem** lab when it’s integral to the plot. I also loved how realistic Ava’s thoughts were regarding whether she should be forgiven by the Brothers—especially Calix. When we believe we’ve wronged someone, sometimes it’s hard for us to forgive ourselves—and that’s something we kinda need to do before we can accept anyone else’s forgiveness. I also loved how Calix was driven to be faithful—even when it was against his nature. I loved his determination and how he was so invested in Ava that he couldn’t bear the thought of slaking his incubus hunger with just any ol’ dame. Fernlo. **sigh** I think the minor characters in this title—including Logan and Calla and Xander…and, to a certain degree, Zayne. As matter of fact, I’m pretty intrigued by his storyline right now. I really am shipping Fernlo + Thais (Thalo) hard. Soul Redeemed was a wonderful, long-awaited addition to the Sons of Wrath series. I could seriously devour these books and crave titles featuring each of the brothers—we’ve got at least three left 🙂 Can’t wait until the next one! My Rating: A, Loved It About the...
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