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Currently Browsing: paranormal romance
Jul
14

Review: SEAL Wolf Hunting by Terry Spear

Review: SEAL Wolf Hunting by Terry Spear SEAL Wolf Hunting Author: Terry Spear Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Lori Greypaw has never been subordinate to anyone. Fiercely protective of those she loves, she has always known just what to do to when any of her pack needed comforting. Even as a cub, she was able to soothe the grieving, headstrong son of their fallen leaders. Now, she’d be happy if she could do the same for the man he’s become. Paul Cunningham is alpha to the core. A highly capable SEAL, he’s no stranger to threats and has never backed away from a challenge–especially the she-wolf who has captivated him all his life. Still, settling down wasn’t something he thought he’d ever be able to do. That is, until a visit home proves that a true leader will always have things that are worth fighting for, and that he could have everything his heart desires, if he’s just strong enough to stay. It seems like ages since I’ve read about Ms. Spears’ SEAL wolves, so I was very happy to see that SEAL Wolf Hunting was available for review. This series is expansive, and ranges over several continents, but many of the characters are related, either by family, circumstance, or both, so reconnecting the links between these specific stories wasn’t too difficult. As I’d hoped, this newest entry in the Heart of the Wolf series was packed with romance, humor, and suspense. The affection that is evident between Lori and Paul was definitely one of my favorite things about this story. Their interactions shift from playful to serious and mildly antagonistic to passionate, their lifelong camaraderie making the transitions seem effortless. Theirs is a relationship built on loss and perseverance, but most of all, faith in each other. The undeniable lust that is smoldering between the two of them only adds to it, and is a highly enjoyable bonus. While I enjoyed seeing the wolves face down their enemies, I felt that the bad guys might have benefitted from a little more duality. They were so obvious and shallow that the rest of the wolves spent much of the story waiting for them to do worse and worse things. Which they did. On the other hand, there was an additional mystery playing out in parallel, and the resulting conflict brought the entire narrative to an excitingly satisfying end. I have yet to read a Heart of the Wolf story that I didn’t like...
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Jul
8

Review: Beyond the Darkness by Katie Reus

Review: Beyond the Darkness by Katie Reus Beyond the Darkness Author: Katie Reus Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Keelin is a dragon shifter who recently awakened from Protective Hibernation. Although she’s considered royalty among her pack and is sister to the pack alpha, she was sheltered her whole life by parents. After surviving an attack (in the previous book), she decided it was time to live life on her own terms and has moved to Finn Stavros’s wolf pack, working at Bo Broussard’s bar, striking out on her own while her parents are still in Protective Hibernation. One month ago while helping Keelin’s pack, Bran Devlin, alpha of another dragon clan, recognized that his dragon wants to mate with Keelin. Although she rebuffed his advances previously, he’s come to town to find her and win her over. However, when it becomes evident that Keelin’s life is in danger, Devlin’s dragon decides it is time to take Keelin sooner rather than later. Although Beyond the Darkness is the third book in Ms. Reus’s paranormal Darkness series, the story is written so that one can enjoy it without knowledge of the previous two titles. The author works in enough backstory and world-building to engage new-to-the-series readers, but it is not overly repetitive for those who have read the earlier titles. The story and romance are standalone, without any over-arching plot between books in the series. The story elements are typical of paranormal romance, including shifters, danger, an alpha male, and the insta-love mating that drives the couple together. However, that’s where the similarities end. What I enjoyed most about Beyond the Darkness was how atypical Bran’s alpha male is when relating to Keelin. He recognizes her need to have freedom of choice and be an equal among warriors, and his motivations to win her over follow. He never once “dumbs down” his efforts to woo her, yet he uses his fierce desire to show Keelin that respects her needs and wishes. I really like Bran and Keelin as a couple. Not only are they well-balanced and respectful, but they are smokin’ hot. The pair has an immediate attraction that kicks off the mating process right from the start. There is conflict, however, because Keelin doesn’t care for an over-protective alpha male or any mate, ever. I like the back and forth play that the pair go through until they find compromise and learn to believe and trust in the actions and words of the...
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Jul
1

Review: Flight from Death by Yasmine Galenorn

Review: Flight from Death by Yasmine Galenorn Flight from Death Author: Yasmine Galenorn Reviewer: Gikany & Una Rating: C+ What We’re Talking About: Flight from Death is the debut novel in a new spin-off series, Fly by Night, from Yasmine Galenorn.  Although the premise was promising with a fascinating world, it just did not deliver for Gikany and Una. First, we need to say that we did not read the original series.  If we had, the story might have made a little more sense, and we may have been more invested in the story.  There are several flashbacks during the story that takes us from the action and mystery of the ‘now’ and throws us back to learn more of Shimmer’s back-story.  We would have preferred having all of Shimmer’s back-story at the beginning of the novel so once the story commenced we could have been nicely immersed in it without the repeated distractions.  The back-story was useful in learning more about Shimmer (especially for those of us who did not read the founding series), but it really interrupted the flow of the story and would have been better to have all at once at the beginning as more of a prologue. The story is intriguing.  The nature of the big bad and the ghost story element were fascinating and well woven.  The variety of supernatural creatures was interesting.  However, the story meanders quite a lot.  It felt as if it took a long time to get to the final conflict with lots of unnecessary twists.  There are scenes that were not really necessary. One of the aspects that truly bothered us was the relationship between Alex and Shimmer.  Although Shimmer has been attracted to Alex since she arrived Earthside, Alex was in a relationship.  However, Alex felt the same attraction and ended his relationship so he could have Shimmer (which he does right at the beginning of the novel).  Two things that are deep strikes against Alex: 1 – If the relationship is over, don’t just hang around waiting for the next great thing (stringing along your girlfriend) – break it off now, don’t wait to break it off until you have something better to go after. Be an adult. 2 – Break it off honestly – don’t cheat on your girlfriend to drive her away so you can be rid of her. Shimmer seems completely fine with this.  Their love scene is early in the novel and in a strange point in the storyline. ...
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Jun
26

Review: Fandemic by Jennifer Estep

Review: Fandemic by Jennifer Estep Fandemic Author: Jennifer Estep Reviewer: Gikany & Una Rating: A What We’re Talking About: Fandemic is the fifth novel in Ms. Estep’s wonderful Bigtime series.  If you love fun, exciting, quirky, colorful superhero type worlds, then you are seriously missing out if you haven’t picked up this series yet. Ms. Estep delivers another well written, joyously fun, and exciting novel in the Bigtime series.  We loved Piper!  She is a normal girl in a superhero world.  She loves following the superheroes, and cleverly figures out who some of them really are, but loyally and trustworthily keeps this highly prized information to herself.  It backfired on her when she confessed to her boyfriend, Kyle, that she knew he was secretly the superhero Swifte.  Despite suffering that blow to her heart, Piper continues on, trying to mend her broken heart after Kyle ends things with her.  It is hard to move on when your heart still yearns, but she manages until she discovers a nefarious plot and the next victim is Swifte. It is easy to inhale these novels, which is okay because they are just as much fun to reread.  Gikany and Una feel this is one of our favorite series.  Ms. Estep masterfully creates and presents this colorful, fun, and exciting world through down-to-earth characters that nicely contrast with the over-the-top colorful and expressive superheroes and villains.  However, what makes Fandemic standout from the previous novels is the theme of “it’s okay to be yourself” woven in.  We loved how Piper dreams of being a superhero although she is pretty super just as herself.  Kyle and Piper’s love story is sweetly and passionately woven within the exciting plot of evil villain hell-bent on his dastardly goals. If you haven’t picked up this series, you should.  You can jump in with Fandemic, but the world and characters will have more meaning if you start with the first novel, Karma Girl.  You won’t be disappointed, trust us! Our Rating:  A, Loved It About the Book: Piper Perez has always wanted to be a superhero. Always wanted to wear a cool costume, have amazing abilities, and save the day. There’s just one problem—Piper doesn’t have any superpowers.  So she focuses on other things. Facts, figures, memorabilia. Piper knows and collects it all, about both the superheroes and the ubervillains who roam the streets of Bigtime, N.Y. Piper’s friends jokingly call her a fandemic—someone who is a superfan of all things superhero. The...
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Jun
25

Review: Bengal’s Quest by Lora Leigh

Review: Bengal’s Quest by Lora Leigh Bengal’s Quest Author: Lora Leigh Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: C- What I’m Talking About: Note: this book is not a standalone nor a good starting point in the series, as there is a convoluted, confusing overall story arc that has spanned several books. The opening prologue flashback helped me recall key parts of the ongoing story, but it’s not enough for a newcomer to the series. Jumping into the mix… Cat was born a human, but was genetically altered into a Breed in an effort to save her from a childhood illness. For years she posed as Claire Martinez, hiding from the Genetic Council and the Breed who swore to kill her. Claire’s Native American spirit and family kept Cat safe until Claire’s father attacked her, revealing he is part of the Council. Now she has exposed herself as Cat, a Bengal Breed. Many years ago, Gideon aka Graeme Parker, saved a little girl he called his own. Even though he swore to kill Cat for saving him when she transfused some of her blood into him all those years ago, Graeme did it to protect her from the mating heat. Now that Cat is a grown woman, Graeme knows it is time to claim what is his. CONFUSED? Yes… this story has been confusing from the start. The multiple personas and vague descriptions of transferring spirits and souls into other bodies has always bothered me a bit. However, as crazy as the storyline has been, I feel that the author did a better than usual job detailing what happened to Cat and others all those years ago over the course of Bengal’s Quest. I finally feel like all of the puzzle pieces have been locked into place and the bigger picture makes some sense. Although the story was a bit more streamlined, I found I just didn’t care about the romance between Graeme/Gideon and Cat. I kept waiting for that moment when I’d feel something and cheer for the couple, but it never really came. I liked that Cat was strong-willed and appreciated her efforts to reach both Gideon the “monster” and Graeme the alpha. However, I was disappointed with Gideon. After watching his character and actions from the periphery for multiple books, I expected more than what was delivered. And as a mated pair, their romance was mediocre, while the infamous Breed sex scenes were missing their typical edginess. Additionally, I found myself annoyed with the side...
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Jun
23

Review: Andromeda’s Fall by Abigail Owen

Review: Andromeda’s Fall by Abigail Owen Andromeda’s Fall Author: Abigail Owen Reviewer: Gikany & Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: Andromeda’s Fall is the debut novel in the Shadowcat Nation series.  Overall, Gikany and Una liked the interesting world portrayed, the mythology, and the story of Jaxon and Andromeda (Andie). This shifter paranormal romance was fascinating.  It started with Andie breaking into Jaxon’s territory and took off from there.  We enjoyed how Andie’s storyline wove into Jaxon’s.  Although their meeting and subsequent romance could have easily been clichéd, it wasn’t.  Ms. Owen gave us a few twists and turns that kept it fresh and intriguing.  We enjoyed how well matched Jaxon and Andie were and their journey was as emotionally charged as it was exciting. Although there isn’t a lot of world-building, there is enough to give the feel of the world while leaving room for us to learn more through future novels.  The building of the mythology didn’t slow down the pace of the novel.  This is a world that appears to have both shifters and non-shifters, though this novel focuses on the shifters primarily.  The shifters are broken into different groups with the shifters who naturally form groups (wolves, lions, etc.) hunting down the more solitary shifters to gain territory.  The normally solitary mountain lions have banded together to form groups loosely allied as the Shadowcat Nation.  Since this book focused on the Shadowcats, most specifically Andie’s and Jaxon’s packs, we look forward to learning more about other animal packs in future novels. Una did have one hiccup that Gikany did not.  As Una read, she felt that the novel vacillated between an urban fantasy feel and a paranormal romance feel.  This was most notable to her when Jaxon and Andie’s mating ceremony and their first full sexual encounter were glossed over.  Though we see them intimate later (and they have a passionate interlude prior), if this is a true paranormal romance, the mating ceremony and their first full “mating” should have been included.  Though this didn’t detract from Una’s enjoyment (and again, Gikany noticed no lack), it still struck her as odd. The way the novel ends leads us to the next couple that will be the focus of the next novel.  Gikany and Una look forward to reading the next novel in the Shadowcat Nation series and hope to learn more about this fascinating world of shifters. Our Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: Andromeda Reynolds is being hunted....
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Jun
12

Review: Hades by Larissa Ione

Review: Hades by Larissa Ione Hades Author: Larissa Ione Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Hades is a wonderful novella set in Ms. Ione’s Demonica/Lords of Deliverance series, and is probably best enjoyed by those who have read the entire series (or at least the most recent books). The story takes place a few months after Azagoth’s and Revenants’s books and has major spoilers if you haven’t read Revenant’s book. Be warned as you read this review! Cataclysm (Cat) played a part in Gethel’s wicked plots to bring about the evil apocalypse, and in an attempt to hide his own involvement, Raphael took Cat’s wings, making her an Unfallen. Now she serves Azagoth and Lillith as a housekeeper and part time cook, hoping she can work her way back to Heaven. As Azagoth’s second-in-command and the Jailor of the Dead demon souls, Hades spends his lonely eternity doing as Azagoth wishes, hoping to make up for a mistake made long ago. Yet when trapped, Hades breaks all the rules to protect Cat, falling for her in the process. With its novella-length story, Hades provides plenty of action, humor, and romance all rolled up into a compact tale. I love the humor; Hades is very funny. Cat is a great character and the perfect match for Hades. Both characters have a bit of good and bad inside, creating a lovely balance. I like that Ms. Ione’s bad-boy characters don’t lose their edge when they fall in love! The pair works well together, both a bit unsure yet confident, and they click right away. I admire Cat’s determination to make things right. The novella also gives some insights into how things are going for Revenant now that he’s taken over hell. There is also a scene, which felt a bit out of place, sharing the POV of Zhubaal, another of Azagoth’s servants. I’m thinking his story will be next. Overall, Hades is an entertaining story and a very quick read. Action-packed, yet fun; intense, yet silly, Hades is an enjoyable novella and a must read for Demonica series fans. My Rating:  B+ Liked It A Lot About the Book: A fallen angel with a mean streak and a mohawk, Hades has spent thousands of years serving as Jailor of the Underworld. The souls he guards are as evil as they come, but few dare to cross him. All of that changes when a sexy fallen angel infiltrates his prison and unintentionally starts a...
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Jun
11

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Shards of Hope Author: Nalini Singh Narrator: Angela Dawson Listening Speed: 1.0x Reviewer: Una Audiobook Source: Tantor Media What I’m Talking About: Nalini Singh is one of my favorite writers, and I am an avid follower of her Psy-Changling series.  This is the first time I’ve listened to one of her new releases via audio book before reading a hard copy.  It was an interesting experience.  Not only did I enjoy the story, but I learned about what type of reader I am. Overall, I liked Shards of Hope, even though it wasn’t quite what I expected.  I feel that the romance of Aiden and Zaira was not balanced within the overall plot of the future of the Arrows.  Their story felt like the background to Aiden trying to secure and create a family or pack for the Arrows.  Though I really enjoyed the plight of the Arrows, the predominance of this plot line gave the book a more urban fantasy feel than paranormal romance.  Aiden and Zaira’s journey had similarities to a few other previous pairings, though there were enough unique characteristics that though it felt familiar, it still was fascinating and touching. This story starts very slowly as compared to some of the other novels in the series.  In fact, I felt that it was moving very slowly until about the fifty-percent mark.  It was then that the story really started moving, the action and romance barreling towards the conclusion.  There were quite a few different groups that needed to come together and there were quite a lot of pieces to get into position before the story could reach its climax and begin the resolutions.  All of this, although it slowed the progress of the book, was very fascinating and intricate.  I found the political ramifications very intriguing.  The ending resolution was surprising and holds such promise for more in the future novels. Nalini Singh is an expert writer.  Until this experience, I never realized the nuances and subtlety of her writing, or rather how many I’d miss by listening to the title before reading it.  I’ve listened to a Psy-Changling novel via audiobook after having read it a thousand times or more via my ereader.  I enjoyed the experience of hearing it, but the plot and the characters were familiar if not memorized.  This time around, I felt as if I were missing...
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Jun
1

Review: Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh

Review: Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh Shards of Hope Author: Nalini Singh Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Opening shortly after the conclusion of the previous book, Shards of Hope shares the story of a post-Silence world, one which sees the fierce and deadly Arrows trying to adapt. Arrow leader Aden, along with one of his top commanders, Zaira, is taken captive by an unknown group, resulting in a temporary disconnect from the PsyNet. This opens up the opportunity for Aden to learn from a Changeling pack and begin to implement post-Silence ideas into his “Arrow pack.” Overall, I enjoyed Shards of Hope as a transitional book, bringing the Psy and whole world from Silence into post-Silence. While I enjoyed Aden and Zaira’s romance, it was very slow moving (which is expected being a Psy-Psy pairing), but more than that, I felt it took a backseat to the rebuilding of the Arrows, and the other subplots all too often. However, individually, I found both Aden and Zaira strong and likable characters. I was interested in their personal growth and development, which was well-written. Ms. Singh spends a lot of time bringing readers inside the Arrows and running us through the different worldwide groups and groundbreaking changes. Aden is a wonderful leader and the perfect man to take this group of the most damaged Psy into the post-Silence world. Taking actions to mirror that of an alpha of a changeling pack, Nalini is successful in creating a relatable group for the reader. Yet, so much time was spent on the transition that I found myself getting a bit bored with it. Similarly, I enjoyed reading about the familiar powerful players work through misunderstandings generated by the mischievous Consortium. Knowing that this dangerous and dark group would have been successful in its endeavors to throw the world into chaos just a few books ago, makes the changes all the more rewarding for longtime readers of the series. Yet the multiple POVs and various situations began to weigh down the story and push out the romance. The other big subplot that took time away from the romance is that of a missing changeling child. I liked this one most of all because it strongly parallels Zaira’s own development as she grapples with what Aden wants and needs from her as a partner and lover. As Zaira tries to save the missing girl, Zaira is also saving the lost little girl inside of her own psyche....
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May
29

Review: Protective Instinct by Katie Reus

Review: Protective Instinct by Katie Reus Protective Instinct Author: Katie Reus Reviewer: Gikany & Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: For fans of the Moon Shifters series, this novella is a must. It nicely ties up Ryan and Theresa’s relationship. Gikany and Una enjoyed it. We have been interested in seeing Ryan and Theresa finally consummate their mating.  Of course, Ryan has to be sure his abilities won’t cause the same tortured relationship his parents had.  However, once Ryan started listening to his mate, the pieces finally fell into place.  We enjoyed seeing them finally come together. The antagonist for the story was evil, her path for vengeance palpable, and it really was a great overall story. This overarching plot line for the story really helped to bring Ryan and Theresa together.  The reasoning behind the antagonist’s vengeance made perfect sense, and we enjoyed how she calculated her revenge and was ultimately thwarted. We wouldn’t recommend Protective Instinct for newcomers as it is the culmination of a relationship that started in previous novels. It was a great and fun read.  The vengeance storyline was gripping and believable.  Though Ryan was being pigheaded and dense, it was great when he finally woke up and went after his mate. Our Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: A woman worth fighting for…  Wolf shifter Teresa is blown away by her packmate Ryan’s honesty about his past and his rare empathic powers. She wants him in her bed—and her life. The only problem: Ryan insists they wait, because the last thing he wants is to recreate the hellish family he grew up in. Frustrated, Teresa jumps at the chance to assist a packmate off the ranch—far away from Ryan.  On the way, their vehicle is run off the road—and it wasn’t an accident. Ryan rushes to Teresa’s side, determined to protect her. But there’s a dangerous enemy lurking in the shadows, and if Ryan doesn’t break out of his old thinking and put his faith in his and Teresa’s love—and their ability to overcome obstacles together—it will be too late. Release Date: May 19, 2015 Publisher: Self-published Series: Moon Shifters #5.5 ISBN: # 978-1942447061 Genre: Paranormal Romance, novella Format(s): paperback (158 pages), e-book Book Source: author Purchase Info: Protective Instinct (Moon Shifter #5.5) Reviews in the Series: Alpha Instinct by Katie Reus (Moon Shifter #1) Primal Possession by Katie Reus (Moon Shifter #2) Mating Instinct by Katie Reus (Moon Shifter #3) His Untamed Desire by Katie Reus (Moon Shifter...
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