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Currently Browsing: paranormal romance
Jan
11

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: One True Mate by Julie Trettel

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: One True Mate by Julie Trettel Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Reviews: Westin Pack series One True Mate Author:  Julie Trettel Narrators:  Carly Robins and Joe Hempel Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x Series: Westin Pack #1 Genre: Paranormal Romance Source: Tantor Audio One True Mate is the first novel in the Westin Pack series – a new paranormal romance series.  Though the premise was interesting, I feel it fell a bit flat. The mythology of the wolf shifters that Ms. Trettel crafted was interesting.  However the belief that female Alpha wolves need to be destroyed at birth was disturbing.  What I feel was more bothersome is the acceptance by the shifters that this is an acceptable practice.  I find it hard to believe that the females would blindly believe that this was okay.  Maybe if the threat of Alpha females was better conveyed, I could have swallowed plot element better.  But as it seemed, it was a belief that female alphas have no control (and some have special powers that corrupt them). The romantic journey between Kelsey and Kyle was overall satisfying.  The romantic tensions between them as well as witty moments were entertaining.  However, the timeline of their “courtship” was a tad clunky.  We experience their meeting and then fast-forward two years.  It seems that not claiming a mate for this long is completely against the shifter culture.  It would have been interesting to see the tense interactions between them.  Or perhaps it would have been better to have the introduction be a shorter prologue to catch the reader to the now.  I just felt that due to this jump and a few others later on, the story lacked fluidity.  In a couple instances I felt that we missed some important character development/interaction.  That being said, Kyle and Kelsey’s relationship was gripping to watch develop once she understood she wasn’t a lone shifter.  They truly are well paired and I hope to see more of them in the next novel. With the novel written from both Kelsey and Kyle’s point of view, I enjoyed having the dual narrators.  However, I felt Ms. Carly Robins’s narration was stronger than Joe Hempel’s.  It seem Carly did an excellent job of conveying Kelsey’s personality in her narration which added a depth to the story.  Mr. Hempel’s narration was a tad stiff which felt a little in contrast to Kyle’s personality.  That being said, the story was stronger for the dual narrators. Though...
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Jan
10

Review: Blood Fury by J.R. Ward

Review: Blood Fury by J.R. Ward Blood Fury Author: J.R. Ward Reviewer: Una Rating: A What I’m Talking About: The latest offering in the Black Dagger Legacy series, Blood Fury is, suffice to say, awesome.  The twin love stories combined with the on-going background original story lines is gripping, especially as the romantic journey of the couples is the stronger focal point. Originally the Black Dagger Brotherhood was one of my most favorite dark urban fantasy romance series.  However, as the series has progressed, the romance portion/drive has diminished.  Thankfully J.R. Ward has given us the Black Dagger Legacy series that truly is a spin-off that is back to the “old school.”  This series works as a way to revisit the original characters as well as introducing new characters to the series.  Though it is called a spin-off, this series is truly a companion to the main series.  I cannot see reading either series as a solely… they do need to be read together as characters and plots overlap between them.  Case in point, in Blood Fury, we are finally given Saxton’s happily-ever-after. What I loved about this book is the fact that Saxton, Blay’s ex-lover finally finds his happiness.  Though the book blurb focuses on Petyon and Novo…the novel gives equal page time to both Saxton and Ruhn’s romance as it does to Petyon and Novo’s.  I really enjoyed each of their journeys as well as seeing previous characters make cameos.  Each couple has their own romantic challenges to overcome.  This focus is what makes this series feel more akin to what I loved when the original Black Dagger Brotherhood series started. Though Peyton had quite of bit of maturing to do, he truly ends the story on the road to responsibility.  This was greatly lacking in his character in the previous novels.  However, just as Peyton was lost, Novo was equally lost.  She had found her solace in fighting and training while Peyton found his in recreational drug and alcohol consumption.  But through each of their own soul searching (and facing of their growing attraction and attachment) they help each other heal and find a new path. Similarly, Saxton and Ruhr have their own growth and soul searching to do.  Saxton, the King’s lawyer and advisor, begins the novel as an empty shell.  Since Blay, his former lover, chose to be with Qhuinn, Saxton has not been able to move on with his life.  It is slowly suffocating him.  He seems stuck in...
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Jan
8

Review: Elizabeth’s Wolf by Lora Leigh

Review: Elizabeth’s Wolf by Lora Leigh Elizabeth’s Wolf Author: Lora Leigh Reviewer: Jen Rating: B What I’m Talking About: If you’ve followed by reviews for any length of time, you know I have a love-hate relationship with the Breeds series by Lora Leigh. It’s my crack – not always providing substance, but hard to quit. I started the series with Megan’s Mark (book #7), so I missed out on a few of the early, world-building titles. Berkley Publishing and the author are re-releasing Elizabeth’s Wolf, in preparation of this fall’s release of Cassie’s book (Cross Breed). Hear the cheer from fans around the world! Dash, posing as a human solider, was injured in the line of duty, losing his men at the same time. Feeling hopeless, his world turns around when he starts receiving letters from a little girl named Cassie. He knows instantly that Cassie, and her mom Elizabeth, are his to claim, but he needs to find and save them from the bad men first. Elizabeth escaped her good-for-nothing ex, but has been on the run for two years from the sadistic man who killed her ex in front of her daughter, Cassie. Cassie, with the aid of her invisible fairy friend, reaches out to Dash and is convinced he’ll help rescue them from the evil haunting her mother and her. Going back in time (for me) to near the beginning, it was a fun look to see how things have progressed and changed in the Breeds series over the course of several years. I like how simple this early story is. Dash knows who/what he is, but doesn’t know about the mating issues for Breeds. He knows Elizabeth is his mate. She’s strong, and he respects that – recognizing she would need to match him and be his equal in order to fight along side of him. He is alpha, but not as much of an asshole as many of the Breeds are later in the series. I love how tough the young Elizabeth is. She’s very weary of Dash, but knows that he’s their only hope, right now. She will do what it takes to keep her daughter alive. As the pair spend time together, they don’t fight their growing attraction and fall head-over-heels for one another. Their journey to HEA is relatively smooth, and I like that they don’t fight the mutual pull. In the end, I enjoyed going back to the beginning. I didn’t read the original version (although...
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Dec
22

Review: Wolf Hunger by Paige Tyler

Review: Wolf Hunger by Paige Tyler Wolf Hunger Author: Paige Tyler Reviewer: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: Wolf Hunger is the seventh title in the SWAT series.  In this novel, Max meets Lana and their story plays out differently from the previous couples in the series.  We liked the contrast. Max is the youngest member of the SWAT team and the most volatile.  He has a tougher time keeping his wolf in check. Despite having one of the worst noses of the pack, he is able to pick up a scent that no other teammate is able to at an awards banquet.  It seems a wolf can always sniff out its mate. Lana is at the awards banquet for her father, the Deputy Chief of Police.  When he sees the connection between Max and Lana, he does his best to keep them apart.  Lana doesn’t understand the animosity her father has, since he is a police officer too. We liked the smoothness of Max and Lana’s journey.  Although it wasn’t without pitfalls, their romance seemed to have fewer personal issues.  Well, once Lana understood what she was.  It was funny to watch Max trying to discuss how much they have in common only to have Lana reply with, “you’re a pescatarian too?”  It was gripping to learn how Lana’s werewolf DNA was triggered and how she has been able to live with it without knowing it.  Woven with their romance is the plot of the werewolf hunters.  It came to a shocking showdown in this novel, but we know it is not over. We are intrigued to see what happens next. If you enjoy your werewolves to be hot SWAT team members, a little police drama with your paranormal romance, then pick up the SWAT series.  We think you’ll enjoy it. Our Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: She’s all the wolf he’ll ever need When SWAT Officer Max Lowry meets Lana Mason, he falls fast and hard. He’s positive she’s The One. And Max’s favorite part? Lana’s a wolf shifter too, so they can skip the awkward reveal and head straight to the happily ever after. There’s just one problem: Lana doesn’t know that she’s a werewolf.  To make matters worse, hunters with intent to kill have tracked Lana to Dallas. Max has to figure out how to keep Lana safe, show her who and what she really is—and just how much she means to him. Release Date: December...
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Dec
18

Review: Where a Goddess Belongs by Stephanie Julian

Review: Where a Goddess Belongs by Stephanie Julian Where a Goddess Belongs Author: Stephanie Julian Reviewer: Jen Rating: C+ What I’m Talking About: Kari is the Etruscan Goddess of Health, and although she and her sisters are mostly forgotten by the modern world, Kari has been able to maintain a high level of power. Allowing herself to remain captive for three months, Kari is waiting for the right time to share the truth, and her love, with the two men she knows she was meant to be with. Jacoby and Den have been friends since childhood, both coming from dark magic Malandante families. They’ve kept hidden their true abilities, waiting for the best time to make a break from their evil families. Now is crunch time, and they have to decide if they can trust Kari and the Lucani wolves. While it’s been a few years since the previous book, I was able to jump back into the Forgotten Goddesses series with relative ease. Where a Goddess Belongs is part of the larger series plot, forwarding the story arc and involving characters from both this series and the Lucani Lovers series. However, it’s written to be a standalone romance and contains enough backstory and detail that one could jump in with this book. As I read on, bits and pieces of the world filtered back, filling in any gaps. The romance between Kari and her men is the focus of the book. As with most paranormal romances, the characters connect quickly, as if fate brought them together for a purpose. In fact, Kari even says a quick prayer to her sister, the goddess of fate, thanking her for bringing Jacoby and Den to her. Having been their “captive” (she could have easily escaped) for a few months gives some weight to the speed at which the coupling occurs. Each had been observing the other, lusting after the other, knowing their pairing would occur eventually. (They are a ménage but no m/m.) While the romance aspect of the story has a clear path, the overall story arc feels a bit incomplete, or rather like a few chapters from a larger tale. The Mal are trying to take Kari and force her powers on to one of their own children, giving them control. But we’ve yet to fully understand the Mal’s goals and intent. And while the romance finalized by the end of the book, there is no closure on much of the other elements of the book—things brought...
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Nov
22

Review: Vampire Fight Club by Larissa Ione

Review: Vampire Fight Club by Larissa Ione Vampire Fight Club Author: Larissa Ione Reviewer: Jen Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Nathan (Nate) Sabine, a rare, daywalker vampire, has worked at an underground fight club for decades hoping to bring it down from the inside, ever since the owner, Fade, killed his wife. But Nate has become apathetic and has lost sight of his need for revenge. He hates himself. Vladlena (Lena) Paskelkov is a nurse at UGH. She’s working when one of the paramedics brings in her brother all torn up. They discover he was killed at an underground fight club. Lena decides to go undercover as a medic for the fight club’s legitimate front, the Vampire nightclub Thirst, to seek revenge for her brother’s murder. Although previously released, Vampire Fight Club is one of the few (only?) Demonic stories I hadn’t read. I absolutely enjoyed diving into the old school Demonica tales. The story is set mid-series, after the original crew have their stories, but before most of the Lords of Deliverance characters are mated. It’s fast, simple, and fun. Nate and Lena share an instant attraction, although it sort of horrifies Lena as she’s not certain if Nate had anything to do with her brother’s death. But their pull is undeniable, and it gives Nate a reason to live again. It also helps Lena fulfill her own shifter needs. Vampire Fight Club is independent of the original series and can be enjoyed as a standalone or introduction to this awesome PNR series. As for fans of Underground General Hospital, this story is an entertaining, sexy addition to the Demonica series. My Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: When a wave of violence that hits too close to home forces shapeshifter and underworld nurse Vladlena Paskelkov to go undercover, her first stop is a haven of vice—with a dangerously sexy vamp in charge…  Legendary, jaded, Nathan Sabine is the manager of Thirst, a wildly popular vampire club—and secret underground blood arena. But Nathan, a rare daywalker, possesses other, even more explosive secrets, as does his beautiful new medic, Vladlena. The one thing they can’t conceal is the lust that simmers between them… Now, in an underworld divided by revelry and violence, debauchery and vengeance, Nate and Lena will discover which risks are worth taking—and which desires demand surrender… Release Date: November 28, 2017 Publisher: Lyrical Press Series: Demonica #6.5, Lords of Deliverance #1.5 Genre: Paranormal Romance, novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: NetGalley Purchase...
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Oct
24

Review: Drop Dead Gorgeous by Juliet Lyons

Review: Drop Dead Gorgeous by Juliet Lyons Drop Dead Gorgeous Author: Juliet Lyons Reviewer: VampBard Rating: B What I’m Talking About: This is the second title I’ve read by Ms. Lyons, and I do love her voice. There’s something about reading a story set in London and having the history aspect for a vampire whose lived several centuries that makes me a bit giddy—especially when the details are on-point. I really like the premise of this series, and I hope to read more. There were a couple things I read in Drop Dead Gorgeous that might’ve been caught in another round of editing—or it’s something I missed about the world-building in the first title that I just glommed on to. Honestly? It probably wouldn’t be a big deal at all to anyone, like, ever…but I’ve recently done some world building for my own vampire book series and it snagged me and held on tight. Really—it’s insignificant and probably a ‘me’ thing. That’s the only reason this isn’t an A rating from me. Mila is an interesting character. She’s a little less self-reliant than the usual female MCs I prefer. Vincent made MY heart stop a few times, what with the chivalry and all that. But, hey. What should I expect from a dude that’s been around since the French Revolution? Even with the one teeny, tiny snag, I did adore the characters and plot from Drop Dead Gorgeous. As I read through the title, I always wished I had more time to sit and enjoy the title. I may have snapped off the heads of a few people who interrupted me (this is why there are headless people running around…) when there wasn’t blood or impending death. I think I like the change in the series name, too. My Rating: B, Liked It About the Book: SWIPE RIGHT FOR MR. BITE Mila Hart’s first experience with the hot new vampire dating site is a complete disaster. Turns out, her date is wanted for murder! But things turn around when she’s rescued by dashing vampire cop Vincent Ferrer. Dangerous and drop dead gorgeous, he’s just the vampire hottie Mila was hoping for. Haunted by his past, Vincent can’t risk falling in love again, even if Mila charms him more than anyone he’s ever met. But when the killer from Mila’s first date seeks her out, Vincent is the only one who can protect her. Protecting his heart is a different story… Release Date: October 3, 2017 Publisher:...
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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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