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Currently Browsing: paranormal romance
Apr
10

Review: Sanguine Moon by Jennifer Foxcroft

Review: Sanguine Moon by Jennifer Foxcroft Sanguine Moon Author: Jennifer Foxcroft Reviewer: Nima Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Sanguine Moon is the second installment in the young adult paranormal romance Camazotz Trilogy.  It picks up right where Sanguine Mountain left off.  I appreciated the fact that this was not a filler book, but had its own, valid plot.  While it is a complete story, this is definitely a “read in order” trilogy, also setting us up for book three in the last chapter. With two years between the release of the first and second installments, there is a character list in the back to help the reader keep multiple players in order. I found the first story was unique enough that I did remember most of it and have been looking forward to this read. I’m enjoying continuing this alternate version of the vampire myth.  Camazotz are a species of shape-shifting vampire bats—more zoology, less Bela Lugosi.  They shun modern technology and outsiders in an effort to keep their secrets.  Main heartthrob Rockland “Rocks” is desperately in love with aeronaught (ordinary human) Connie Phillips. Unfortunately he’s also heir-apparent to leadership of his colony. Connie has her own troubles as the identity of her biological parents prove to be more than problematic. In fact, they become very adult problems which is why I was frustrated by Connie’s lack of faith in the adults in her life—parents who are perfect in a way only fictional characters can be.  Keeping them from the action of the story felt a little contrived, even if necessary.  Academy Award winning director Keith Merrill once said, “If you’re a screenwriter and understand the essence of drama, and you want to plunge your characters into conflict and keep them there, then you probably need to ‘lose the mom.’ Mothers go missing in movies because leaving them in the lives of characters in crisis makes sustaining conflict difficult. Mothers listen and understand, solve problems, and resolve conflicts. They are selfless and love without conditions. You want to stir up a heap of trouble and make it believable? Better keep Mom out of it.”  Foxcroft’s justifications for keeping good parents “out of it” wore very thin before being resolved.  To her credit, however, when we finally got there, it was almost a physical relief.  I hope it is appropriate to give them a larger support role in book three. Rocks has his own problems with his colony.  Their fear of the outside world, especially...
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Apr
4

Review: Between a Wolf and a Hard Place by Terry Spear

Review: Between a Wolf and a Hard Place by Terry Spear Between A Wolf And A Hard Place Author: Terry Spear Reviewer: B. Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: Picking up where the last in the series left off, Between a Wolf and a Hard Place follows the developing relationship between Ellie MacTire, one of the new owners of the Silver Town Inn, and Brett Silver, local news reporter and third–born of the Silver quadruplets. As it revisits the setting and characters that were established in the fifth Silver Town Wolf story, A Silver Wolf Christmas, slipping back into the world of the novel was easy to do. While I’ve really enjoyed this series, as well as those connected to it that I’ve had the pleasure of reading, this particular story didn’t draw me in quite as thoroughly as its predecessors. I can’t help but like the MacTire sisters so far, and the Silver brothers and cousins have all proven to be just as interesting, so the cause of my reaction wasn’t about the characters themselves. All of the wolves are memorable in different ways, and seeing the return of some of my favorites was definitely a nice benefit. Personality-wise, I think Ellie and Brett are a wonderful pair. Ellie’s gift is a secret, and rightfully so, given the reactions she’s experienced in the past. But, Brett has a few surprises of his own that come back to haunt him, the focus of which I thought only made them both more intriguing as a couple. I do wish, though, that their romance had been allowed to develop a little longer over a narrower range of happenings, rather than the multitude of issues they had to contend with. Which is where I felt a little lost on occasion. Rather than bonding with each other while facing down a single threat, and the complications associated with it, Ellie and Brett seemed to be dealing with four or five different conflicts, and at least one of those of their own devising. One thing, in particular, that concerned me was simply a misunderstanding that might have been resolved fairly quickly, but instead plagued the couple throughout the narrative. This, in addition to the reaffirmation of the discord between the MacTires and their troublesome cousins, along with a rescue mission on the side, and so on, distracted me from the main plot of Between a Wolf and a Hard Place more than once. Still, I was very happy with the resolution of the more romantic...
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Mar
29

Review: Legacy Lost by Jillian David

Review: Legacy Lost by Jillian David Legacy Lost Author: Jillian David Reviewer: Una Rating: B What I’m Talking About: I was excited to find that the second novel in the Hell’s Valley series would be Shelby and Eric’s story.  With Shelby’s potent ability, I wasn’t sure how she would find a happy ending with anyone.  Though there were pitfalls, I did enjoy their story. Both Shelby and Eric are very strong personalities. I wasn’t sure how they were going to make their relationship work in a healthy way. With Shelby’s empathic abilities, I didn’t think she could make it work with Eric. Though I did like how they tried to communicate with each other, they did sometimes run hot and cold. That being said, it was true to their personalities, and I enjoyed watching them grow and try to figure out how to make it work. Eric’s ability to compartmentalize seemed to be what could help them, though I liked how (realistically) no one could keep all their feelings and thoughts bottled up. Without giving anything away, I liked how the ending wasn’t a miracle, “every thing is fixed” conclusion. There will still be challenges, but the fact that they are going to be stubborn together is the “big red bow”. Though Shelby and Eric’s journey was strong and gripping, I felt a bit lost with what is going on with their neighbors, the Brands. It is implied that the threat is demonic, and I wonder at the connection to the Brands and how it will eventually play out.  With the introduction of a new couple to help at the ranch, I hope in the next novel we will learn more about what seems like an ancient feud.  I was happy that the lost eldest brother (Vaughn) has returned.  It appears his story may be next and I can’t wait to learn more about him and the tension between Vaughn and the emergency room doctor. Overall I liked Legacy Lost, the second novel in the Hell’s Valley series. Though Shelby and Eric could run hot and cold, the story was true to their personalities, and I loved how they found their common ground.  I continue to be intrigued by the dark demonic plot and hope to learn more in the next novel as well. My Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: Growing up as an honorary Taggart, Eric Patterson found the family he’d always wanted. Almost. He couldn’t ever manage to see the clan’s...
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Mar
22

Review: Midnight Unbound by Lara Adrian

Review: Midnight Unbound by Lara Adrian Midnight Unbound Author: Lara Adrian Reviewer: Jen Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: A loaner and one of Dragos’s Hunters, Scythe doesn’t belong among humans or his own kind. Yet when his brother, Trygg, requests his help, Scythe agrees to protect Chiara Genova and her young son. Chiara’s life has been filled with danger ever since marrying her now deceased mate. When a crazed Breed breaks into her home and threatens to force her blood bond, the Order realize there is more going on than appears and send in the one male they trust to protect her. The story of Chiara and Scythe actually begins in the previous novella, Midnight Untamed, when the pair meet and sparks are evident. Midnight Unbound completes their story as the pair is once again tossed together in a deadly situation. This time around, the pair are forced to spend days together, alone, and after a week, they can no longer deny their burning attraction and physical needs. Midnight Unbound is an entertaining, straight-forward paranormal romance. Predictable maybe, but enjoyable certainly. He saw her and longed for her. She saw him and wanted him. He’s tender and caring under his tough exterior. She isn’t the fragile flower she appears to be. After being cooped up together for a week trying to fight their attraction, bam… sexual explosion and uncovering of feelings. Sharing of pasts. Working together for a future.  Midnight Unbound can be read as a standalone, although the general Breed background mythology may make it more enjoyable. I liked the straight forwardness of the tale and enjoyed the tie into the previous novella. My Rating:  B+ Liked It A Lot About the Book: A lethal Breed warrior is called upon by his brethren in the Order to bodyguard a beautiful young widow he’s craved from afar, in this new novella in the “steamy and intense” (Publishers Weekly) Midnight Breed vampire romance series from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Lara Adrian. As a former Hunter bred to be a killing machine in the hell of Dragos’s lab, Scythe is a dangerous loner whose heart has been steeled by decades of torment and violence. He has no room in his world for love or desire–especially when it comes in the form of a vulnerable, yet courageous, Breedmate in need of protection. Scythe has loved–and lost–once before, and paid a hefty price for the weakness of his emotions. He’s not about to put...
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Mar
21

Review: Undiscovered by Sara Humphreys

Review: Undiscovered by Sara Humphreys Undiscovered Author: Sara Humphreys Reviewer: Gikany and Una Rating: B- What We’re Talking About: All in all, Undiscovered is a good start to a new story arc in the Amoveo series.  Gikany and Una found the mythology of the dragons interesting and Zander and Rena’s romance satisfying although there were a couple of rough elements. In the Amoveo series, dragon shifters were believed to be extinct.  However, they are not.  Zander and his identical twin brother Zed are the only dragon shifters left.  A curse has left Zander stuck in his human form and Zed in hibernation in dragon form for the last 500 years.  What little we learn of the dragon shifters is interesting, although we wondered if Zander’s beliefs about the mates of identical twins are true or just an “old wives’ tale”.  Zander’s desperation to save his brother was utterly compelling, especially when he was determined to sacrifice everything (even his own happiness) to save his brother.  However, considering his act of martyrdom includes another person, it seemed just a tad presumptuous.  Thankfully Zander’s mate, Rena, doesn’t allow him to get away with it. Rena is one of the strongest and engaging characters in this series.  We really liked her down-to-earth nature.  Despite her beginnings, the past does not own her.  Rena has made something of herself, learning to trust and become a truly upstanding citizen.  However, how wonderful she is stood out in stark contrast to how she is treated for most of the novel.  The one man who is like a father to her, we come to find out, had nefarious, or at least selfish reasons, for caring for her.  Gikany and Una debated about the level of betrayal that Rena suffers in this novel.  She is truly steadfast and resilient to navigate through such traitorous waters and still find the strength to not only forgive but fight for her mate. Although Undiscovered started a little slowly with a dream sequence (nothing like starting a novel feeling lost) it gradually picked up the pace.  Overall, we liked this new story arc with the introduction of the dragons, especially with the introduction of Rena.  Even with the few odd notes we still enjoyed Rena and Zander’s happily ever after and look forward to the next novel in this series. Our Rating:  B- Liked It, but we had a few small issues About the Book: He’s the man of her dreams A long time ago, Zander...
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Mar
16

Review: Wake a Sleeping Tiger by Lora Leigh

Review: Wake a Sleeping Tiger by Lora Leigh Wake a Sleeping Tiger Author: Lora Leigh Reviewer: Jen Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Cullen Maverick is a recessed gene Bengal Tiger Breed who has lived among and worked with the Navajo Nation as the Commander of the Navajo Covert Law Enforcement Agency. After losing his wife to cancer ten years ago, he’s kept himself closed off, even from the woman he suspects may mean more to his hidden Tiger. Chelsea Martinez has been in love with Cullen for as long as she can remember, and has even worked for him for the past four years. But he’s put off her need to do more than push papers in the office, so she’s decided it’s finally time to leave the Law Enforcement Agency. Yet her resignation may push the recessed Tiger in Cullen to rip free and take over. Prior to starting Wake a Sleeping Tiger, I went back and read my notes from the previous couple titles and realized that I had all but given up on the Breeds series, as it had become convoluted, full of new characters I didn’t care about, and frankly the editing left much to be desired in the storylines. But since I’d already picked up this title for review, I decided to go in with as much of an open mind as possible, and wow, am I glad I decided to read Wake a Sleeping Tiger! Overall, the writing and story are MUCH tighter than the previous books. There wasn’t really any wandering and meandering from thought to thought, but rather the story stayed focused on the romance between Cullen and Chelsea, as well as her work and the related story of the Cerves. Cullen and Chelsea made a fantastic pair. Their romance was hot, and the story was filled with amazing sexual tension. And although there were definitely times when the couple kept their innermost true feelings to themselves, it didn’t dominate the story nor was it a reason they stayed apart from one another. Chelsea was very open from the beginning, telling Cullen: “Just go home and stop trying to protect me. It was never your protection that I wanted.” She shared her fears over the mating, yet didn’t fight him about it. I did get a little frustrated with Cullen because he didn’t share his fears and frustrations with Chelsea, but his inner-thougths conveyed to the reader his own fears and limitations. One thing that I’ve learned from...
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Mar
15

Review: Her True Match by Paige Tyler

Review: Her True Match by Paige Tyler Her True Match Author: Paige Tyler Reviewer: Una Rating: C  What I’m Talking About: After Her Rogue Alpha, I wasn’t sure what to expect in the next X-Ops novel.  This review has been tough to write.  I wasn’t sure how to articulate my feelings on it.  Though I eagerly wanted to see the story of Dreya Clark, I was a bit disappointed with Her True Match. I’m completely torn about this novel.  On the one hand I felt it was a bit lackluster.  The romantic journey of Dreya and Braden reminded me too much of Ivy and Landon.  Though there are distinct differences in plot points, the essence of it was too familiar.  The premise of the cop falling for the thief was alluring, and I did enjoy that part of their story.  However, though I am no expert in police procedures, there were moments that completely suspended my disbelief.  Some of Braden’s actions did not seem realistic.  Nor was his almost gilded invitation to not only keep an eye on Dreya but be her partner.  The latitudes taken were too much for me and the world lost me.  I was also taken a back that no one warned him about Dick.  Really?  No one warned him not to trust him?  At the very least I would have thought his cop-spider-senses would have clued him in that Dick was off. There are a few plot lines running in this novel as seems to be the case later in the series.  I was surprised at how quickly Dreya took to training, especially working with a seasoned cop like Braden.  It felt like the story “jumped the shark” when, after an incredibly short time, they were sent on missions.  I understand being short-handed, but the work they do is really not for amateurs. This was especially apparent when they send out basically two rookies without the oversight of a veteran.  I found the continuing hunt for the crooked members of the DCO’s oversight committee, as well as the tracking down of the rogue scientists, fascinating. Yet, the cliffhanger event at the end was a complete surprise. Though I don’t believe all is as it seems, this would be my only reason for reading the next novel. As much as I loved the premise of this series at the beginning, the last two novels have disappointed me for different reasons.  I did like Dreya and Braden and felt satisfied that they found...
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Mar
7

Review: Haunting Highland House by Kathryn Hills

Review: Haunting Highland House by Kathryn Hills Haunting Highland House Author: Kathryn Hills Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A+ What I’m Talking About: Wait. What just happened here? Kathryn Hills is a new-to-me author and this is her debut novel If you adore well-written prose that’s descriptive and not over-done, she should be on your TBR. Her voice—and that of her characters—captivated me, and kept me entrenched in the story. Bonus points for distracting me from The Walking Dead. It seems like there’d be a lot going on, what with the whole ghost thing and the time travel thing. Seems like it’d be easy to gloss over things, or have aspects underdeveloped. TOTALLY not the case here. There are a lot of threads flapping in the wind with this title, but the knotwork Ms. Hills skillfully managed—to tie everything together—is impressive, to say the least. I loved the set-up for the story. When I read a PNR, I need that. It helps me learn the world as well as the characters. Let me tell you, I adored both Sam and Robert. When I was reading in their POVs, I felt as though I was IN the story. I felt what they felt. Their experiences were vivid, and emotional. The secondary characters were so well developed I can’t wait to see more of them, and I may be jumping up and down because Haunting Highland House is the first book in A Time Traveler’s Journey series. This is one of those complex, intertwining plots. There were layers of plot and character building that eventually revealed all the things I wanted to know. Ms. Hills definitely captured me as a reader, and at the end? **blinks** That’s where the ‘What just happened here?’ comes in. I could’ve been knocked over with a feather. Fans of paranormal romance—especially ghost stories—with historical and time travel elements should DEFINITELY get their one-click on for this title. I know I can’t wait for the next book in this series. My Rating:  A+ Personal Favorite About the Book: She’s looking to escape her man troubles. Instead, she finds the man of her dreams. There’s only one problem – he’s dead. Living in a haunted house and uncovering a gateway in time were not in the job description when Samantha Merrill agreed to be the property manager of Highland House. Old photos of the reclusive master of the manor captivate her, yet she’s terrified when he appears out of nowhere. How can Robert Pennington be making...
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Mar
2

Review: Saved by Darkness by Katie Reus

Review: Saved by Darkness by Katie Reus Saved by Darkness Author: Katie Reus Reviewer: Jen Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Saved by Darkness is the sixth title in Ms. Reus’ entertaining paranormal romance Darkness series. This traditional PNR features a wide variety of shifters, vampires, demigods, and demons, each with a happily ever after. While each book is a standalone romance, the characters and mythology have been developed over the course of the series, making it a richly detailed world, one which is best experienced from the start. This time around the story focuses on half-demon, half-dragon shifter Ian, whom we met a couple books ago. He fell in love with dragon shifter Fiona over fifty years ago, but she walked away from him and mated another in order to protect him from her family. Yet it’s been discovered that she’s been running a preternatural shelter for abused paranormals at the edge of Finn Stavros’s territory, a place Ian has come to live in recent months. Now that Finn is reaching out to Fiona, can Ian give her up a second time? Right from the start, I found myself fully submersed in Fiona and Ian’s story. First, I enjoyed the flashbacks to the couple’s initial meetings and early connections. Even though the reader knows the outcome of their past, it’s lovely to see how they fell in love, while running parallel to their reunion. Second, I adore how heroic and strong Fiona and Ian are, both in their mutual pasts and in current day. They each have a formidable moral compass, coupled with the need to protect those they love. Yes, a bit of maiming and killing of enemies is sometimes necessary and definitely a-okay! Fiona and Ian’s attraction and love runs deep. Demonstrated through the flashbacks to their initial meeting, we learn that they have a love-at-first sight relationship that developed quickly. This makes their reunion so much sweeter, knowing that they have experienced an unfulfilled love for over fifty years. The author does right by the pair by allowing them to express their feelings for one another early on in their reunion, rather than drag things out or keeping up pretenses. The impact is that I cheered even harder for the pair to make it through the trials they faced. Even though the love story is the most prominent part of Saved by Darkness, the couple, along with Finn’s werewolf pack, must deal with a new threat uncovered while making connections with Fiona....
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Mar
1

Review: How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks

Review: How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days Author: Kerrelyn Sparks Reviewer: Una Rating: A What I’m Talking About: After enjoying several of Ms. Sparks vampire series, I thought I would check out her new paranormal/fantasy series.  The Embraced series is off to a great start with How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days. This world is intriguing: though it is fantastical in nature, it has a bit of a historical feel.  I enjoyed the mythology of the embraced moons.  In this world, a child born is born with special abilities if born on the night of the embraced moons (when the two moons eclipse).  These special children are called the embraced.  One would think that they would be revered when in fact they are reviled.  If the nobility discover them, they are typically killed.  Many who are unable to kill their children have secretly exiled them.  The world is composed of a series of patriarchal continental kingdoms, which worship the sun god, and one island kingdom that is matriarchal and worships the moon goddess.  It is there on the island that such embraced orphan children are hidden away. Luciana is one of these orphaned children.  Raised with several other young embraced girls, they consider themselves family.  Each girl has a special ability but all seem to have a touch of foresight to some degree.  Luciana’s ability is to commune with the dead.  She is able to converse with spirits, which comes in quite handy when her father comes to have her fulfill the king’s decree that she marry his nephew, The Beast of Benwick (Leo).  She must hide the fact that she is not only embraced, but is actually a twin of the intended sister.  Twin embraced children are even more feared by the patriarchal society.  Her father comes for her only because her twin sister has died and he must have his daughter marry Leo or lose all his holdings to the king. Leo is also an embraced child, but due to his ability to absorb and harness the power of lightning, he has been allowed to mature.  The king has used him since he was a young teenager as his warlord and pawn.  Leo has yearned for a woman of his own but due to his abilities he is unable to touch another without killing them.  He is loyal to his people and diligent in his duties.  Watching as Leo met his match in Luciana...
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