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Currently Browsing: paranormal romance
Jun
26

Review: Temptation in Shadows by Gena Showalter

Review: Temptation in Shadows by Gena Showalter Temptation in Shadows Author: Gena Showalter Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: D What I’m Talking About: *NOTE: Unfortunately when I saw the cover of this book, I made the assumption that it was a Lords of the Underworld novella. It is NOT. While it is paranormal romance in nature, it is completely unrelated to the LotU world. Briar Rose is an independent agency with ties to government. It is full of agents with supernatural abilities. They are safe and accepted there. Gabrielle Huit… is a loner. Kidnapped when living on the streets as a child, she was experimented on, and a crazy scientist turned her brain into a computer. Then, she was mysteriously let go. Gabrielle has tried to live a normal yet reclusive life, moving from place to place to keep any one from discovering who she is. Sean Walker is an undercover agent for Briar Rose, working at the nightclub that employs Gabby. He needs to gain her trust and bring her in because all of the previous subjects of the mad doctor have died when they become extremely agitated. Unfortunately, Temptation in Shadows was not the novella I was hoping for, especially since I mistakenly thought it was from the LotU series. However, even with that piece aside, it was not a very strong or enjoyable story. Sean Walker and his fellow agent, Rowan, do not seem to have enough practical intelligence to be “covert agents,” especially when their plan to earn Gabby’s trust is by kidnapping her and then saving her. I think I literally banged my head on my desk. Sean continues to make poor decisions throughout the novella (and what agent doesn’t care about leaving fingerprints behind?!), making it very hard to enjoy the story. Gabby is not much better. I do find the science-fiction part of the story interesting. The concept that her brain was manipulated to create a computer and that the scientist just let her go, created a fascinating potential storyline; however it didn’t evolve much beyond that. Understandably, Gabby doesn’t trust anyone, especially since she has access into their computers and can see what they don’t want anyone else to know. Yet, she seems to have no problem going along with Sean and giving him her complete confidence. Overall, Temptation in Shadows is mediocre at best. The couple goes from nada to full on “I love you’s” in way too short of a time. Although their sex scene is hot, I...
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Jun
25

Review: Heart of a Highland Warrior by Anita Clenney

Review: Heart of a Highland Warrior by Anita Clenney Heart of a Highland Warrior Author: Anita Clenney Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: As a warrior first and always, Anna MacKinley has always needed one thing: to kill demons. Having been made distrustful of nearly all forms of affection from an early age, she mostly keeps to herself, scoffing at the idea of being romantically involved with anyone or ever having a family of her own outside of her friends and fellow warriors. But, in a world where even the rules of time itself no longer apply, nothing is ever certain, and Anna begins to realize that accepting herself, along with the past, might finally set her free from the darkness that haunts her. Abandoning his mission to kill his assigned demon, Tavis Connor was willing to lose everything he knew and face a potentially terrifying future to help the brother he couldn’t stop caring for. Waking up with no memories, only to be tortured in a strange fortress, certainly wasn’t part of the plan, but neither was being defended by a barely-dressed woman with turquoise eyes. Thankfully, Tavis finds that destiny isn’t always cruel, and that navigating his way through this new world he’s found himself in might just balance out the losses and lead him to a happiness he never dreamed could be his. The Connor Clan series is one I’m happy to say I’ve followed since the first book, and one that definitely benefits from having read it from the beginning. Heart of a Highland Warrior picks up shortly after the end of the last story, Embrace the Highland Warrior, and introduces us to Tavis Connor, the previously thought to be deceased brother of the hero that started it all, The Mighty Faelan. As was true in Faelan’s book, some of the funniest parts of the narrative revolve around Tavis’ bafflement when confronted with modern women, Anna, most especially. By turns, however, the pain he feels over those he left behind is so meaningful because of the same circumstances, and Ms. Clenney does an admirable job of addressing these issues without the unnecessary repetition of obvious sentimentality. Tavis’ regret is sharp and clean, but his sense of purpose along with the relief he feels at the new connections he gains allows him to move forward. Anna I liked as well, and was glad to finally get to know more about her. I’ve always found the strength of the female characters in this series...
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Jun
16

Review: Azagoth by Larissa Ione

Review: Azagoth by Larissa Ione Azagoth Author: Larissa Ione Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: “There’s very little that frightens me more than the Grim Reaper when he’s horny.” Azagoth, also known as the Grim Reaper, once was a powerful angel but now runs the demon “hell” called Sheoul-gra. Although Azagoth purportedly volunteered to fall from grace, it is obvious that there is more to the story, and only Azagoth knows the truth. After spending centuries being used by the Heavens as a breeder of a special class of angel called Memitim, angels that watch over humans who are important to the fate of the world, Azagoth demands that it end AND that Heaven send him a female mate. Lilliana, a warrior class angel, works in the Time Travel Operations Department. She committed a grievous offense, but she claims it was due to extenuating circumstances: she was kidnapped and forced to do horrible things. Archangel Raphael doesn’t want to hear her story and gives her a choice: either mate with Azagoth and spend eternity in Sheoul-gra, or be stripped of her powers and reduced to nothing. However, she may reenter heaven within 30 days if she steals Azagoth’s chronoglass (time travel device). Azagoth is a delightful romp into the devilishly sexy and entertaining world of the Demonica series. Although one could read and enjoy the novella as a stand-alone story, I feel that it will mean much more to those that have read the series – especially the previous full-length novel, Reaver. Ms. Ione does a marvelous job filling in some of the background of a few lesser known characters, as well as give the reader clues as to what’s going on between the Heavens and Sheoul-gra. The romance between Lilliana and Azagoth is nothing short of flaming hot! I adored their head-spinning lust, which is further fueled by their discovery of common ground. Although the pair experience a few bumps because of hidden secrets, they enjoy a speedy courtship based on learning to open up and be themselves. While the romance is quick-paced and swoon-worthy, there are well-placed conflicts that keep the story interesting. First, there is Lilliana’s struggle between freedom via stealing the chronoglass and her desire to do what is right, which then evolves into the desire not to hurt the man she has befriended and is falling for. Also, we meet Azagoth’s disgruntled son, Methicore, who is out to destroy Azagoth. Without knowing the truth behind Azagoth’s...
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Jun
13

Review: Grim Shadows by Jenn Bennett

Review: Grim Shadows by Jenn Bennett Grim Shadows Author: Jenn Bennett Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Having truly enjoyed the first story in the Roaring Twenties series, Bitter Spirits, I was both excited and a little anxious about the second novel, Grim Shadows. As it turns out, I liked it just as much. This time, we get to know the younger Magnusson brother, Lowe, who’s taken his older brother’s knack for illegal activities in a different direction by forging (not entirely) lawfully obtained Egyptian antiquities and passing them off as originals to various interested parties. In addition to bringing back the Magnusson clan, we’re also introduced to Hadley Bacall, an “oddball” museum curator whose only desire is to be named her father’s successor as head of the antiquities department at the museum where she works. Lowe is definitely my favorite character in Grim Shadows, his playfulness and apparent absence of any real caution masking a deeply rooted cynicism and pervasive self-loathing. Part of what makes Lowe so entertaining, however, is that his unspoken observations, about Hadley’s physical attributes, in particular, are hilariously similar to those of an eighteen-year-old boy. Of course, once Hadley demands to be treated as if she were a man in terms of the quest they’ve undertaken, Lowe shrugs off any sort of filter at all. While he is, technically, a grown man, Lowe is in no way an adult in the beginning of the story, preferring to evade the consequences of his actions by any means necessary rather than own up to making them in the first place. Yet, his desire to make things right, combined with his ardent hope for something more with Hadley, made me want things to work out for them very much. Hadley is yet another entirely unique character, and can be quite intimidating in her own right. Well-educated, isolated, sometimes feared, and rightfully bitter about the lack of opportunities afforded her despite her qualifications, she has little tolerance for anything remotely frivolous. Not only does she have to contend with the unceasing biases against her, especially given the time period and her field of expertise, she has a very real curse to bear. Her relentless grip on her self-control is exhausting, but it’s her best defense, which makes Lowe an extremely dangerous ally, not to mention the most fascinating man she’s ever met. One of the things I was most pleased about was that Ms. Bennett continues to multitask exceptionally well in Grim...
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Jun
4

Review: Jaguar Hunt by Terry Spear

Review: Jaguar Hunt by Terry Spear Jaguar Hunt Author: Terry Spear Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Tammy Andersen takes her job as an Enforcer seriously, yet she has a reputation for ditching her male partners and solving their cases by herself. Since they’ve all either tried to seduce her or have wasted their time patronizing her, who could really blame her? David Patterson is a battle-tested member of the Golden Claw JAG Elite Force, but when his assignment aligns with that of the stubborn loner he’s heard so many rumors about they get off to a rocky start. Though he’s determined to prove himself a worthy partner, nothing could have prepared him for his own reaction to the sexy she-cat, or the ties their current case has to his own past. Add in the teen shifters who are far too clever for their own good, and the entire case might just be more than they can handle. I liked Tammy and David very much. Tammy is adamant about proving herself to David, as well as anyone else, and, while David is certainly protective towards Tammy, he recognizes her abilities and accepts her role as an equal partner in their investigation. Tammy is sometimes inflexible, but not recklessly so. She is confident in her abilities, levelheaded in a crisis, and adept at doing her job. Likewise, David is no cartoon caper Alpha male. His instinct to take the majority of the risks is evident, but his trust in Tammy’s capabilities keeps him in check. He is loyal and devoted, and when he gives of himself, he doesn’t hold back. Tammy and David fit one another nicely, making theirs both a good professional partnership, as well as an excellent romantic match. Not just a romance, Jaguar Hunt has quite a few interesting secondary characters, especially the teen shifters, whose antics I really enjoyed. They, too, proved themselves perfectly able to handle themselves when trouble started, outmaneuvering the “grown ups” in the story repeatedly. Ms. Spear adeptly offers several convincing possibilities for our nemeses, thereby keeping the mystery of the betrayal at the heart of all the trouble intact for nearly the entire story. Once revealed, however, these bad guys were absolutely loathsome and irredeemable, and I found the ending to their part of the story especially satisfying. As is true in the other Heart of the Jaguar stories, the romantic involvement of the two main characters is a given, but what makes these shifters...
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Jun
2

Review: Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh

Review: Shield of Winter by Nalini Singh Shield of Winter Author: Nalini Singh Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Shield of Winter opens shortly after the fall of Silence and the world-altering events of the previous book, Heart of Obsidian. Kaleb Krychek has taken a leadership role for the Psy race now that their once-ruling council has been disbanded. He believes the empaths (E-designation Psys) are the key to stopping the horrible disease that is infecting the PsyNet – the psychic fabric that connects all Psys and provides the biofeedback necessary for the race to survive. Krychek wants to run an experiment with targeted volunteers (gone are the old ways of force) in the Snow Dancer-Dark River territory. Enter Vasic and Ivy Jane. Ivy Jane is a damaged empath with extraordinary potential. She agrees to help Krychek to see if the E’s can save the Psys. Because of the social unrest after the fall of Silence, an Arrow is assigned to assist and protect each E-Psy. Vasic is charged with Ivy’s care, and the pair begin to develop a partnership and friendship. However, with time running out on multiple fronts, it is unclear if the group of E’s and Arrows can overcome the problems they face. I found Shield of Winter to be an enjoyable follow up to the powerhouse story of Heart of Obsidian, and although it had the feel of a transitional book, the romance was sweet and the story engaging. I enjoyed learning more about both E’s and Arrows – two groups that until now, have not been looked at in much detail. In addition, I found the solution presented to cure the problems of the crashing PsyNet to be realistic within the parameters of the world. The journey to discover the solution was intense, although at times a bit drawn out, but overall, I enjoyed the plot. Before this book, readers didn’t know much of Vasic, other than cryptic bits and pieces. I found that Ms. Singh did an excellent job of “humanizing” Vasic without changing his core personality, and without repeating the journey other hardline Psys like Kaleb and Judd took to find their freedom from the ties that bind. Right from the start, Vasic is shown as someone who is in the fight for his comrades, trying to give those like him a better life. By accepting his own fate (he has faltering tech attached to his body and only weeks to live), yet fighting for others...
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May
15

Review: My Soul Immortal by Jen Printy

Review: My Soul Immortal by Jen Printy My Soul Immortal Author: Jen Printy Reviewer: VampBard Rating: B What I’m Talking About: My Soul Immortal was definitely not what I expected. The story is well-told, and engaging. Polished. I’d classify it as NA. Everything is quite chaste, and I wouldn’t have a problem with my daughter or my older high school students reading it. There’s several things, such as references to pot use, drinking, and suicide that make me nix it for those less mature. Leah, the not-so-crazy female love interest in this title, is artistic. And darn it, as much as I didn’t want to like her, to see character flaws that would make me look at her as a whiner, I couldn’t find any. Attending college to obtain an art degree, she paints what she knows. And the paintings are full of emotion and breathe life. She’s logical, down-to-earth, and I loved the way she handled things throughout the course of the story. Jack, the immortal hero of the novel, is pretty darn close to perfect, in my opinion. He works in a used bookstore, is willing to work, is well-read, and has a decent head on his shoulders. He’s not afraid to cry. He thinks about others. He has a conscience. Since he’s been alive for 170 years, he should have learned all those lessons over the course of his lifespan. While he doesn’t know exactly **why** he’s immortal at the onset of the title, he does learn and is beginning to pick up details from a stranger that has made appearances throughout his nearly two-century lifespan. A crazy Immortal Council, ‘gathering’, and a cool dude named Artagan make things interesting. Once I got into My Soul Immortal, I appreciated the gentlemanly ways of Jack. The reader gets to experience a book full of want and desire, without the sex. Makes me wonder if Jack is a virgin. **ponders** Deeply rooted in the ways of the ‘old world’, he’s simply divine. His manners come from a time long past. Reading about a true gentleman makes me yearn for a return to chivalry and the rules of society. Probably because I’d be the first to break them. 🙂 Overall, this is a great **clean** book marketed to the adult paranormal romance market. If you’re looking for erotica and/or steamy sex scenes, keep looking. However, if you’re looking for beautifully written scenes that immerse the reader, this is the title for you. Looking forward to reading...
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May
13

Review: Warrior’s Curse by Alexa Egan

Review: Warrior’s Curse by Alexa Egan Warrior’s Curse Author: Alexa Egan Reviewer: Una Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Warrior’s Curse is the third book in the Imnada Brotherhood series.  It is a rich paranormal story set within a historical novel.  I jumped into this book without reading the previous two titles, and it did affect my enjoyment.  Although I found myself liking the story of Gray and Meeryn, I do wish I had read the previous titles. It is always best to start a series from the beginning however, when I signed up for this one, I somehow missed that it was the third in a series.  I have found that jumping in on the second book is not terrible.  World-building takes place typically (heavily) in the first and second books.  By the third book, the author assumes you have the gist of it.  Sadly, I did not and could feel the holes in the narrative.  Although I caught up, it was an uphill battle.  I also wish the index of terms had been at the beginning rather than the end.  I did not notice it until the end and it would have been a serious aid in reading.  Even without all of the backstory, I was sucked in.  I liked the different races involved and the secrecy all woven into this historical period. The story centers on Gray who is working to end the curse from which he and two of his friends suffer.  The camaraderie between the friends was not as strong for me since I sensed that I was missing some important background regarding Mac and David and their connection to Gray.  Their stories are the previous two novels, respectively.  We also have a very fascinating character in Lucian.  I was utterly entranced by him and wanted more of his tragic story.  Gray’s commitment to ending his curse and finding peace for his race is admirable.  The turmoil between him and his grandfather was heartbreaking.  But what had me hooked was his draw to Meeryn, their history, and his desire to keep her safe. Meeryn was a wonderful character.  I loved her inner monologue.  How lost she feels in a position she thinks she is not qualified for.  Yet, watching her become that which the Jai Idrish, the sacred crystal of the Imnada, knew she could be was inspiring.  The chemistry between her and Gray was off the charts.  The dance they lead each other on was frustrating, heart wrenching, and...
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May
2

Review: Her Perfect Mate by Paige Tyler

Review: Her Perfect Mate by Paige Tyler Her Perfect Mate Author: Paige Tyler Reviewer: Gikany & Una Rating: A- What We’re Talking About: Her Perfect Mate is the fascinating debut novel in the new X-Ops series.  We enjoyed this wonderful mix of military and paranormal romance with just the right amount of humor thrown in. We have to say that we were delightfully surprised by Her Perfect Mate.  Many of the citizens in this world have animal DNA in their genes, however, it is not active in all – almost like a recessive trait.  Those that have it active are recruited by the DCO – Department of Cover Operations.  The DCO is a hush-hush organization within the U.S. government, handling those situations where absolute discretion is a must for national security.  Those with active animal DNA are considered EVAs – Extremely Valuable Assets.  It seems that these EVAs are new enough that they do not know everything about them.  We have a feeling as the series progresses we will learn more about them, as they learn about themselves.  It was a refreshing difference in this mythology.  We look forward to learning more.  The EVAs are always partnered with a human counterpart so that if the situation goes FUBAR, the human counterpart can ensure that the EVA does not get captured… alive. Her Perfect Mate centers on Ivy, a feline EVA and her new partner Landon, a Special Forces Captain.  Their attraction from the moment they meet is electric.  We absolutely loved both of them.  Ivy is a strong woman, even without her active feline DNA.  She is intelligent and courageous and is fully capable of watching out for herself.  Landon is a just as strong and capable.  He is a natural leader, loyal, and smart.  He doesn’t immediately discredit Ivy.  We really loved how he was patient, waiting to gather the facts and before forming his opinions.  He was really just a perfect balance to Ivy.  Watching them dance around their attraction (and attempt to abide by DCO guidelines by not having a relationship) was almost comical as it was a great source of sexual tension. The characters are all varied and just as interesting.  We loved Ivy’s best friend, Kendra and the love triangle that seems to exist.  We can’t wait to see how that pans out, but we hope she finds romance with Declan.  Although we hated Clayne when we met him, we know there is more to him and his story.  We hope...
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Apr
30

Review: Burning Dawn by Gena Showalter

Review: Burning Dawn by Gena Showalter Burning Dawn Author: Gena Showalter Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Burning Dawn is the latest title from Gena Showalter’s Angels of the Dark series which follows a group of desperate and dangerous angel-like “Sent Ones,” each whose status within the heavenly plane is in serious jeopardy. This “Army of Disgrace” is in need of some redemption or they will be permanently kicked out of the heavens. The book picks up shortly after the closing events from the previous story, Beauty Awakened, and I recommend a quick refresher before you dive into this one. Thane, a warrior Sent One, was captured and enslaved by his ex, Kendra, the phoenix princess of Clan Firebird. The book opens with Thane heavily drugged and out of his mind with lust for Kendra. Realizing that Thane is probably her only hope of escaping, another captive, Elin Vale (outwardly human, but half-phoenix), decides to help Thane break from the addictive poison Kendra is feeding him. The story quickly shifts back to a more “heavenly plane” setting once the pair gain their freedom, and Thane is reunited with his besties: Xerxes and Bjorn. In addition, the reader is introduced to a healthy cast of characters (I took notes to help keep me straight.) From this moment on, I was thoroughly and completely hooked. Burning Dawn stands out as a bit different than the first two books in the series. While the previous books focused heavily on the necessary redemption aspect of Army of Disgrace, Burning Dawn hardly mentioned this need at all. In addition, the female lead is not human and she is well aware of paranormal life, unlike the prior books. Finally, the book stayed almost completely focused on the main couple – sharing the story only from either Thane’s or Elin’s POV. I feel that all of these points, especially the last one, made for a more streamlined and engrossing story. Other than some confusion in the opening of the book, about what was going on while the pair was still at the phoenix camp, the overall story flowed well–blending humor, action, and romance in near perfect balance. One of the best things about Burning Dawn is the easy camaraderie Thane shares with his closest friends, and Elin creates with her new coworkers and roommates. There is a lot of easy banter and outright humor that left me laughing out loud more than once. Here is just one of the...
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