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Currently Browsing: paranormal romance
Feb
16

Review: The Shadow by Sylvain Reynard

Review: The Shadow by Sylvain Reynard The Shadow Author: Sylvain Reynard Reviewer: VampBard Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: There’s a few things that will keep me reading a book and/or series. One of them is referencing historical figures in an alternate manner/universe. Author Sylvain Reynard has piqued my interest with The Florentine series. The second full novel in the series, The Shadow, makes reference to a plethora of interesting historical figures I’ve studied either in college or independently (because I’m a geek like that). By putting several historical figures, including William of York and Niccolo Machiavelli, in vampyric roles, my mind tends to wander and easily buy-into the world-building. This is by no means a work of historical fiction—The Shadow, and all of The Florentine series thus far, is set in modern times. Oh. And the series needs to be read in order. Don’t jump around. As vampyres, York and Machiavelli maintain their archaic language patterns, tempered by the modern-day setting. While readers won’t enjoy the hilarious image of either exclaiming, “YOLO!”, those enjoying more formal language will be completely engaged…or maybe it’s only me. I’m weird that way. I found myself flip-flopping a lot while I read The Shadow. I was still completely enamored by William and Raven’s romance, and the fact that William was so besotted by Raven. I still find it interesting, their relationship, because they seem such an unlikely couple. Don’t get me wrong—they’re a believable couple, just not the pairing I’d make. It seems they have a few extremely different beliefs regarding several things. But, I am still in leap-of-faith mode regarding this series, so it works for me. I think one of the reasons the series works so well for me is bits like this: “Love is deep.” His rich voice echoed in the bathroom. “Love is having the power to destroy another person.” William stepped closer. “Are you afraid of being destroyed?” “Destroyed, consumed, betrayed.” She [Raven] fidgeted with the neckline of her gown. William placed his hand over hers, stilling it. “Love creates; it doesn’t destroy.” While these are really global statements that could be made by any two main characters in a romance novel, they’re especially poignant coming from William and Raven. As they navigate the rekindling of their romance, forces beyond their bubble of happiness threaten to blow things to smithereens. I think the parts that were ‘the best’ for me were those involving William and Raven. While I liked learning some of the...
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Feb
15

Review: Hunted by Darkness by Katie Reus

Review: Hunted by Darkness by Katie Reus Hunted by Darkness Author: Katie Reus Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: C+ What I’m Talking About: Bo, a half-demon who owns a supernatural bar, knows Nyx is his mate, but is worried his demon side will scare her away. In the last book, we discovered that Nyx is a demigod; her mom is goddess of Chaos and her father a fae prince. Her fae father has promised her in marriage to another, and because Nyx sought help from her mother to save a friend, her mom has come to collect the favor Nyx owes her. Now the pair will need to work together if they have a chance of surviving the fallout from Chaos’s “favor.” Hunted by Darkness is a typical paranormal romance, complete with alpha males, powerful females, and misunderstandings that cause problems for the fated couple. Love comes swiftly, but only after significant obstacles; however, our couple ends up happy and well-sexed. I enjoyed reading Bo and Nyx’s story, especially after watching the pair dance around their desires for a while now. They make a good couple, and I was pleased that Bo made an effort to both beat his alpha-chest, as well as swallow his protective streak to allow Nyx to conquer her own battles. It really is a great mix of the two sides. And while there were times I thought I would want to pull out my hair because of misunderstandings or lack of communication, Ms. Reus was quick to end confusion and didn’t allow problems to stay for long. However, at times the situations felt gimmicky, as if there were obstacles that really didn’t need to be there in the first place. I did liked that while Nyx was quick to react, she took time to later think things through. She is very understanding, which allows Bo to make a few mistakes along the way. The overall story was good, but not spectacular. A large part of the book was trying to figure out who trapped Bo and Nyx in a hell realm, but the way the story played out and the ultimate conclusion fell flat for me. The action scenes are intense and well-developed, but short. And it was a bit too convenient that each time Nyx’s powers got out of control and destroyed something, Bo could use his power to fix it. In the end, Hunted by Darkness was an enjoyable paranormal romance. I liked Bo and Nyx, both having strong traits, yet...
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Feb
2

Review: SEAL Wolf In Too Deep by Terry Spear

Review: SEAL Wolf In Too Deep by Terry Spear SEAL Wolf In Too Deep Author: Terry Spear Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Allan Rappaport knows the importance of rules. As part of a close-knit wolf pack, he learned early on the need to keep their kind a secret from humans that would hunt them down and destroy them. Being a Navy SEAL taught him how to get the job done in the face danger and keep his cool under pressure. But, nothing could have prepared him for the beautiful, spirited woman he can’t stop thinking about. Leaving her troubled upbringing behind, Debbie Renaud found happiness and purpose as a diver for the police department in her small, northern Montana town. And, after her last breakup, she’d convinced herself that the job was enough. At least, until she was partnered with a sexy, warm-hearted SEAL who fascinates her on every level. They would make a perfect team—if only he didn’t have so many secrets. Although I’ve said it before, I can’t help but enjoy the strong women Ms. Spear continues to create for this series. Debbie is tough, determined, compassionate, and too clever for the pack’s (or her) own good. Between her quick thinking, her skills as both a diver and investigator, as well as Allan’s understandable inability to resist her, I liked her very much. Debbie is extremely swoony over Allan, but no more so than he is for her, and, by halfway through the narrative, I couldn’t imagine them with anyone but each other. Allan is likewise reminiscent of many of the alpha males in this series, though his role in SEAL Wolf in Too Deep was certainly an enjoyable one. He is highly skilled, completely devoted to his pack, and endearingly thoughtful. He also has all the control in the world in every other aspect of his life, but when his heart gets in the way, he’s a fairly glorious mess. Which, of course, just made him even more attractive. To Ms. Spears’ credit, she gives equal consideration to both main characters when it comes to the frustrating, awkward, pratfall-plagued nature of their own inadvisable attraction. In fact, Allan’s inability to hold Debbie at arm’s length has far greater consequences, due to the secrets he’s obliged to keep. By turns, Debbie’s plausible anger with Allan crumbles as quickly as her determination to resist him, making the outcome of the story pleasantly inevitable. Yet another characteristic of the Heart of the Wolf books that...
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Jan
19

Reviews: The Prince + The Raven (two books) by Sylvain Reynard

Reviews: The Prince + The Raven (two books) by Sylvain Reynard The Prince & The Raven Author: Sylvain Reynard Reviewer: VampBard Rating: B What I’m Talking About: I’ve had a bajillion people tell me to read the work of Sylvain Reynard. Today’s review covers The Prince and The Raven—to get me caught up before my upcoming review of The Shadow. I’m intrigued by the premise of this series because, duh, I love vampire stories. It’s always been a thing with me. The Prince is a crossover novella between the Gabriel’s Inferno (GI) universe and the universe of The Florentine. This novella is a quick little read, and I think it sets up the premise of The Raven rather well. There’s a lot of background information given, and I’m intrigued to see how the next title in the series continues the tale. Readers of the GI series who want to see what comes next for Gabriel and Julianne will definitely want to check out this novella But be warned—there’s really no resolution of the Gabriel/Julianne information in the novella. The second title in The Florentine series, The Raven, was intriguing, and I wanted to keep reading. I suppose it helps that I’ve studied art history, and the literature references throughout the story were familiar to me. I did find myself wondering which famous piece of art or literature would show up next. I did find myself comparing some parts to Twilight as I read, however. There are many parallels and while they bothered me for a bit, I got over it by the time I reached the end. I also found the exposition a bit long, and felt I didn’t need all the play-by-play I was given to understand what was going on, and to set-up the plot of the story. The Prince, from the novella, is the ruler of the vampyres in Florence. I did like the world-building aspect of The Raven, and learning the ‘pecking order’ helped me find a balance between all the art and literature and what was going on in the story. The Prince, aka William, came to the table with a lot of his own baggage. It was interesting watching him work through it, and while I didn’t connect with him as much as I did Raven, I completely understand his role, as well as the hierarchy of the vampyres in the story. I really liked Raven. She is a tenacious one, and throughout the story, I found myself referring back to things she’d said...
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Jan
18

Review: Rising Blood by Bronwyn Green

Review: Rising Blood by Bronwyn Green Rising Blood Author: Bronwyn Green Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: Harper Yovanoff and Elliot Zielin are vampire hunters and reluctant partners. Harper does not think highly of Elliot and is frustrated that she’s been stuck with him. Meanwhile, Elliot just wants to make sure Harper stays safe. And although Harper finds Elliot attractive, she knows that getting involved with co-workers can go badly. When Harper and Elliot discover that vampires are targeting and turning hunters, they must put their differences aside and work together to save their coworkers and friends. Rising Blood is a short, standalone story that features some traditional, old-school vampires. I loved the Buffy the Vampire Slayer feel of the hunters and vamps, whose faces morphed from normal to their bumpy state when feeding. The book is shared from alternating POVs, giving a balanced look at the romance. Harper and Elliot share a strong attraction, and I enjoyed seeing how much Elliot cared for Harper well before Harper let herself feel more for him. Overall, Rising Blood is a solid, traditional paranormal romance; sexy and action-packed. I like the characters, and the chemistry between Harper and Elliot is amazing. Unfortunately, the story suffers a bit from the shortened length, lacking somewhat on the emotional level, and I found that I didn’t connect to the characters as much as I wanted to. While not the most original tale, I still enjoyed reading Rising Blood. My Rating:  B- About the Book: Vampire hunter, Harper Yovanoff, is not happy. Ever since her former partner vanished, she’d been content to work alone. Unfortunately, her boss doesn’t feel the same way. Harper’s been assigned a new partner—a new partner who’s an utter pain in her ass. Elliot Zielin is panty-meltingly gorgeous, but he’s also reckless, not to mention, insufferably arrogant. If he’s not careful, the vampires will be the least of his worries.  Elliot knows he should play nice with his new partner, but he can’t resist poking the bear—the tiny, angry bear who’s so freaking beautiful, she makes him ache for things he shouldn’t want. Despite the fact that Harper has a stake with his name on it, he keeps pushing.  When a powerful vampire begins actively stalking and turning hunters, Harper and Elliot are forced to work more closely together than ever in an effort to save their own. With tempers and adrenaline high, letting off a little steam goes way too far, and they...
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Jan
12

Review: Of Flame and Promise by Cecy Robson

Review: Of Flame and Promise by Cecy Robson Of Flame and Promise Author: Cecy Robson Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B+ What We’re Talking About: At first Gikany and Una thought we were getting Taran’s novel when we received Of Flame and Promise.  However, this is a prequel novella that gives Taran’s back-story and sets up what will be her journey in the coming novel. This novella was a breath of fresh air.  We liked seeing behind Taran’s brash bravado into a sweet and vulnerable soul.  We also loved seeing her sisters through her eyes, especially her view of Celia.  Throughout the previous novels, Celia was unsure of herself and was plagued with worry about her relationship with Aric and the welfare of her sisters.  Taran sees Celia as the head of the family and a rock of support and guidance.  She also witnesses Celia’s absolutely devastating heartbreak and learns through Celia’s example that she cannot allow herself to be that vulnerable – no matter how much she loves Gemini. This is the basis of what we think Taran’s journey will be.  We know she has buried deep inside of herself a trauma that prevents her from being able to commit fully to Gemini.  Even though they are mates, Celia’s experiences prove that sometimes even being fated mates isn’t enough to prevent heartbreak.  Taran would rather suffer the loss now than allow herself to feel a greater joy and risk an even greater heartbreak. Despite the heavy emotions of this novella, it still has the characteristic humor that is rampant in the Weird Girls series.  We thoroughly enjoyed the disaster of Taran meeting Gemini’s parents.  It is an epic disaster that will leave you in stitches.  Anything that could go wrong goes horribly wrong. Although this novella is labeled as book six, we think the events in the novella, make it book 3.5 or 4.5.  Knowing what happens in book five, we look forward to seeing through Taran’s eyes some of those events.  For fans of the series, this is a must read and we hope you enjoy its heartbreak and humor as much as we did. Our Rating:  B+ Liked It A Lot About the Book: Cursed by a spell meant to destroy them, Taran Wird and her sisters instead developed unique magical talents. With the power of fire and lightning literally at her fingertips, Taran doesn’t fear much. Demons, vamps, whatever—bring ’em on! Only one thing terrifies her: commitment. Taran is crazy about her boyfriend,...
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Jan
6

Review: Tempted to Death by Jessica Jarman

Review: Tempted to Death by Jessica Jarman Tempted to Death Author: Jessica Jarman Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Tara Wilcox and her brother, Ben, are paranormal hunters. They track down evil, violent paras, hoping to stop them. Ben’s wife Nicole has been captured by a soul eater demon, and Tara knows the only way to find her is with the help of the best hunters in the business, Oliver and Luca. The problem? Tara and Ben are paras in hiding, while Oliver and Luca believe all paras are bad. The other issue? Tara is in love with the couple and left the pair without a word months ago. Tempted to Death is a fun romp in the paranormal romance genre, without being all sunshine and roses. Shared in the shifting third person POVs of Tara, Oliver, and Luca, the reader gets good insight into all facets of the trio’s relationship. The story isn’t overly long, and I appreciate that Ms. Jarman establishes a strong backstory romance for the trio right up front. It makes their romance more believable and allows me to understand and feel their pain over the break up and relate emotionally to Tara. Another great thing about Tempted to Death is that Luca, Oliver, and Tara each love the another: it’s a true menage. I found I enjoyed the story more because it’s three in love and not just two on one. While Oliver and Luca were in love before meeting Tara and remained a couple after she left, they both love her as well, and love being all together. Tempted to Death is an enjoyable, fairly quick paranormal erotic romance. The multi-person POV, gives a balanced view of the relationship and events. The characters are all likable, and with their off-page history, the bonds are stronger and more emotional. It’s one of those stories where you pretty much go in knowing what will happen, and the journey to get there is what makes the book so entertaining. My Rating:  B+ Liked It A Lot About the Book: Months ago, Tara Wilcox ran away from Luca Castell and Oliver Gordon. She’d fallen hard for the pair of hunters and feared their growing feelings for her. But what truly terrified her was the possibility that they’d discover what she really is. That she’s the very thing they hunted.  Luca and Oliver are partners, in every sense of the word, and their lives are spent running toward danger. Falling for Tara...
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Jan
6

Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Vampire by Sara Humphreys

Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Vampire by Sara Humphreys The Good, the Bad, and the Vampire Author: Sara Humphreys Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: The Good, the Bad and the Vampire is the fourth book in the Dead in the City series.  This latest offering is another fun and witty romp in this ever-expanding mythology.  Gikany and Una liked Dakota and Trixie’s journey and we wonder what will happen next in this world. First, we enjoyed the dynamic between Dakota and Trixie.  They are two vampires who appear to be polar opposites, yet are magnetically attracted to each other.  Although Trixie tries to fight her growing attraction to Dakota for her own personal reasons, Dakota is determined to win her over.  We loved the banter between them as they danced around this mating urge.  It was fun to watch as Trixie came to terms with the fact that Dakota may not be what she expected or wanted in a mate, but was exactly who she needed. Dakota was a fascinating character that was able to give Trixie the space and time she needed to make her own decision. One interesting aspect of this series is the ever-evolving mythology.  The first book in the Dead in the City series, Tall, Dark and Vampire, had a half-demon vampire mating with a full vampire.  Then in the third book, Vampires Never Cry Wolf, we were introduced to werewolves.  Now, we have gargoyles and witches thrown into the mix.  Yes, gargoyles.  Although the plight of the gargoyles was fascinating, we wonder what could possible be next.  What we find most intriguing about this world is the ability for all these different species to interbreed.  We really wonder what the future holds for this world.  Could there be a cross breed of all the supernatural creatures eventually?  We really did enjoy the addition of these creatures and wonder if we might get a story within the gargoyle world. This is the final book in the Dead in the City series.  We hope that Ms. Humphreys changes her mind and gives us more, since we like the romantic adventures in this world.  The characters are fun and the mythology is fascinating.  We would even be content with a spin-off set in the same world: maybe we can have a demon/gargoyle pairing?  Either way, we do hope that there will be more in the world. Our Rating: B, Liked It About the Book: He wants eternity? Dakota Shelton is a...
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Dec
31

Review: Blood Kiss by J.R. Ward

Review: Blood Kiss by J.R. Ward Blood Kiss Author: J.R. Ward Reviewer: Una Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Blood Kiss is the debut novel in Ms. Ward’s spin-off series, Black Dagger Legacy.  For fans of the series, it is a fascinating look at how the Black Dagger Brotherhood will increase the number of soldiers along with checking in on previous couples.  Those new to the world may enjoy it, but won’t have the full appreciate as followers will. I enjoyed the continuing story of Marissa and Butch: that the happily-ever-after (HEA) continues but not without work and choice.  The fact that Butch tries to shield Marissa, even though her work brings her face to face with domestic violence victims, causes conflict.  It is also fascinating to see that Butch hasn’t lost any of his detective skills and intuition.  I look forward to seeing how his desire to protect the innocent (and by connection, helping Marissa find justice for some of her clients) will bring about change in the vampire community.  The seeds were definitely planted in this novel. The other couple followed in this novel is Paradise and Craeg.  Their initial meetings and dealings reminded me of the early novels of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.  However, as their story progressed there was a bit of some clichéd moments and obvious foreshadowing.  Regardless, their journey was compelling even with the “big bow” wrapped around the HEA at the end.  I admit, the ending gave me warm fuzzies that I enjoyed.  Though Ward has admitted that she finds writing female characters difficult, I thought she did a good job portraying Paradise, a cosseted aristocratic female that seeks to find herself.  She enters the training program as a means to find out who she is and what she is made of.  I liked that though she is naïve in some ways, she is stubborn and tough.  It was enjoyable to experience through Paradise as she learned how strong she really is. Though Craeg is drawn to Paradise, he tries to fight the attraction.  Craeg was a fascinating character.  He is not an aristocrat, he is a commoner who seeks the training program to find his vengeance on the lesser that slaughtered his family.  But there is more to Craeg than just this vengeance.  The journey between him and Paradise was destined to have its issues, but I liked how they resolved themselves.  However, those who are well versed in the BDB mythology might have a few moments...
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Dec
15

Review: In the Company of Wolves by Paige Tyler

Review: In the Company of Wolves by Paige Tyler In the Company of Wolves Author: Paige Tyler Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: In the Company of Wolves is the third installment in the action packed and passionate SWAT series.  Overall, Gikany and Una liked Janya and Becker’s story and the continuing evolving mythology. ***Please note that the novels could be read as stand-alone, but they are better if read from the beginning as the mythology builds from book to book.*** Janya and Becker’s romance was fascinating: the story of the officer falling for the thief – but it isn’t quite that simple.  We liked that Janya was a reluctant thief, her story and loyalty to her pack was endearing.  Though she was a victim that needed rescuing, she wasn’t completely defenseless nor a wilting flower.  Janya was stubborn and smart.  We enjoyed her moxie.  Although the issue of her reluctance to commit was a bit out of the blue for us at the end.  It had felt that they were together, so when the issue came up, it was a little surprising. We liked Becker since we met him in the first novel.  It was interesting to have his point of view and learn more about him.  His bond with Cooper was interesting, and we liked how important that played in the overall story. We liked seeing Cooper, being a fairly intuitive character and a vital one in the previous novel and this one.  However, we wondered how Becker could go off and run an undercover operation without letting Gage know.  It felt odd with the understanding of the legend of “The One” (that there is a true mate for a werewolf) that Gage wouldn’t be understanding of the situation and helpful.  But without Becker going off on his own, the suspense and tension wouldn’t be as strong. The story starts a little slowly, but the action is strong right from the beginning.  The plot of Becker freeing Janya and her pack-mates was nail-bitingly gripping.  Though it felt that this plot overshadowed the romance a bit, both were woven together nicely.  However once we reached the end, the action and pace was almost too much.  The ending went very quickly and was almost a bit abrupt.  But considering all the moving pieces, it is not surprising.  However, we liked how Gage and the SWAT team assist Janya’s pack-mates so they can start over. As we saw in the previous novel, it seems that...
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