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Currently Browsing: paranormal romance
Dec
14

Review: Blood Vow by J.R. Ward

Review: Blood Vow by J.R. Ward Blood Vow Author: J.R. Ward Reviewer: Una Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: The Warden has truly brought us back to essence of what made her Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB) series so addictive at its inception.  Blood Vow is an emotionally charged, grittily gripping, and darkly sensual read. ****Please note that this review may contain spoilers from the previous Black Dagger Legacy (BDL) book as well as from previous BDB novels.**** I fully admit that I am a BDB addict.  Though I was very disappointed in a previous BDB novel that I will not name, I decided to continue the series.  On a whim, I volunteered to read the spin-off series since it was a “return” to the early feel of the BDB.  Blood Kiss grabbed me from the beginning and I felt like a return to the fold of BDB.  Long term fans, you will understand when I tell you, Black Dagger Legacy feels like home. In Blood Vow we follow the romantic journey of Axe – a new trainee with the BDB and Elise, the daughter of an Aristocrat.  Though it appears to be the usual highbred daughter who falls for a commoner tale, it is more than that.  Axe bears an understandable grudge against the aristocracy and with mating in general.  However, as he grows to understand himself and mature past the anger and disappointment, he finds his true inner strength. Elise is no shrinking violet; she is not the typical aristocrat’s prized daughter.  She is striving to be more than her station would deem her, as well as what thousands of years of cultural bias expect of her.  I loved Elise.  Most couples in romantic novels suffer from not communicating.  Elise has no problem communicating, but needs to work on listening and not projecting her own opinions on others.  However, she is the first to admit fault and seek forgiveness.  Her earnestness in trying to understand others and help truly defined her.  Though Axe and Elise’s story isn’t unique, their choices and personalities make it unique.  I really loved watching both of them grow and mature. One drawback that may be a cause of annoyance to some fans will be the connection between this series and BDB.  The story of Rhage and Mary did not end in The Beast.  It is continued in this story (surprise… surprise).  If this trend continues, I could see fans being irritated that they are not truly standalone series that...
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Dec
8

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Lucifer’s Daughter by Eve Langlais

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Lucifer’s Daughter by Eve Langlais Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: Princess of Hell Series Book: Lucifer’s Daughter Author: Eve Langlais Narrator: Rebecca Estrella Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Princess of Hell #1 Genre: Paranormal Romance / Urban Fantasy Source: Tantor Audio Lucifer’s Daughter Muriel just wants to live a normal life, but as the daughter of Satan and one of the Princesses of Hell, she finds normal isn’t achievable. Yet, she tries… living on the human plane, running a bar, and saving herself until she finds true love. She does have her naughty side, even if it’s not evil enough for Daddy. Lucifer’s Daughter is the first book in a light urban fantasy romance series from Eve Langlais. The story is shared in the first person POV of Muriel, and focuses on her adventures, which is why I call it an urban fantasy series; however, the entire first book is all about Muriel finding her true love, therefore – romance. Overall, I enjoyed meeting Muriel and watching her fall in love with the “wrong guy,” Auric, someone her father forbids her to see. Auric and Muriel have immediate, more-than-lust feelings, but I appreciate Muriel’s caution as she tries to find out if he’s “the one.” However, the lustful feelings overwhelm the storyline far too often. Muriel is obsessed with her virginal state and whether or not she should finally have sex. It was too much for me at times. I wanted more from the story than her nonexistent sexcapades. Additionally, Muriel is written to be a smart woman, yet at times she was utterly dense and a victim of her own ignorance, which felt false, since she is an intelligent character. Muriel’s love life aside, Lucifer’s Daughter got very interesting once Muriel wasn’t obsessing over Auric or her virginity. There is an unusual big-bad making moves to overthrow Satan, bringing chaos to the underworld. The glimpses we saw intrigued me greatly, and I need to know the connection between this mysterious new evil and Muriel’s early childhood. This alone is enough to keep me listening to the series. And honestly, I enjoyed Auric and Muriel’s romance, once they opened up and were honest with one another. New-to-me-narrator Rebecca Estrella provides the performance for Lucifer’s Daughter. At 1.5x speed, I enjoyed her vocalizations, and her “narrator Muriel” is strong. She seems to capture the entitled yet honest feel I think Muriel embodies. Ms. Estrella has a good mix for her male and female voices; nothing that...
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Dec
5

Review: Dark Protector by Katie Reus

Review: Dark Protector by Katie Reus Dark Protector Author: Katie Reus Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: After seeing the connection between Aldric and Natalia in the previous novel, Hunter Reborn, Gikany and Una eagerly anticipated seeing their courtship and conclusion.  Overall we liked this last full novel in the Moon Shifter series. We have to admit, Aldric is a stubborn, overbearing Alpha male.  He stupidly walked away from Natalia, breaking her heart.  However, he redeems himself by: 1) knowing he was an idiot for walking away, 2) apologizing for being said idiot, and 3) working to prove through his actions not only his remorse at hurting Natalia, but winning her back.  We understood that he was previously mated, and that Aldric needed the time to work thorough his feelings and see how his previous mate is different from Natalia.  What makes this work is that he communicates this (finally) to Natalia once he proves himself. We loved Natalia.  She is a strong and intelligent woman.  Her determination to not simply give in and forgive Aldric is awesome.  She makes him work for it…as he needs to.  Just as she needs to not compromise her heart, letting Aldric not only prove to her, but himself what she means to him.  Their journey is both passionate and honest.  We liked how they slowly figured it out despite the demands of the mating instinct. The mystery of the kidnapper was intriguing.  Although for once in the series we were given very little of the adversary’s point of view, it might have been more intriguing to have their identity know.  As Natalia and Aldric investigated, we would have been more attentive as the investigation narrowed down the suspects.  Although it was a bit surprising who the culprit is, we were a bit disappointed that the background of the nemesis’s motive was not fully realized.  We were not truly given the how or the why, which left us a bit frustrated. We have liked this series and are a little sad that this was the last full novel, though we are eager to read the final novella that comes out in a few weeks.  Dark Protector was a passionate and fulfilling romantic journey for Aldric and Natalia. Our Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: He walked away once; he won’t do it again. Wolf shifter Aldric Kazan is no stranger to pain. Since the loss of his mate a century ago, he won’t allow...
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Nov
29

Review: Wolf Unleashed by Paige Tyler

Review: Wolf Unleashed by Paige Tyler Wolf Unleashed Author: Paige Tyler Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: A- What We’re Talking About: Gikany and Una really enjoyed this latest installment in the SWAT series.  Wolf Unleashed was a well-rounded, suspenseful, and passionately sweet story. Alex and Lacey’s story sticks out as the best so far in the series.  We really enjoyed their ordinary meeting.  So far, most couples in this series have meet under nefarious conditions.  Lacey is a vet and who Alex just happened to meet when he took the SWAT pet in for his check-up.  This sweet romance was different from the previous pairings, and we enjoyed the normalcy of it.  Alex and Lacey’s experienced enough romantic complications that this normal meeting and early stirrings of romance sweetened their journey giving them a realistic foundation. Alex is a great guy.  We enjoyed his gentle determination in courting Lacey.  His devotion and patience was admirable.  He listened, giving her space and respecting the issues he sensed. Although Lacey is thrown a bit by his world, Alex never threatened her.  We understood her fear, even though we thought she was being a bit pigheaded. Gikany and Una both liked Lacey’s relationship with her sister.  Although Una thought Lacey might have been a bit clueless or naïve, Gikany enjoyed her willful disbelief when it came to the sisterly pitfalls. We enjoyed the overall plot of the dog fighting and the new dangerous drug hitting the streets.  The plot line and the suspects were compelling.  We respected Lacey’s determination to not only rescue the four-legged victims of the dog fighting ring, but her determination to bring it to a stop.  However, the connection between the different plot lines was both overly complicated in nature and awfully convenient. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed Wolf Unleashed.  Lacey and Alex’s story was a sweetly ordinary blossom in the paranormal realm.  The overall nefarious plot lines were compelling, and we look forward to the next story in this world. Our Rating:  A- Enjoyed A Lot About the Book: Wolf shifter Alex Trevino has fallen hard for veterinarian Lacey Barton. Getting her to agree to a date is a lot of work—and winning her heart proves even harder. Lacey can’t deny her crazy attraction to Alex, but she has no intention of letting herself fall for him. In her less than stellar experience, men don’t stick around. When Lacey’s sister is kidnapped, it’s up to Alex to crack the case—and prove to Lacey that...
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Nov
29

Review: Daring Fate by Megan Erickson

Review: Daring Fate by Megan Erickson Daring Fate Author: Megan Erickson Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Reese and younger brother Jude have escaped their werewolf pack and its sadistic alpha, Xan. However, their sister remains behind, and with the threat that Xan will mate her in a month, the pressure is on Reese to save her. The problem: Dare, the alpha of the Silver Tip Were pack. When his Pack Guard found and rescued two werewolves from the Noweres, the last thing Dare expected was to find his True Mate. But Dare embraces Reese as his mate and over time, the pair form a deeper bond beyond the sex of mating. As Reese learns more about the once-feared Silver Tip Alpha, he is torn between protecting his mate and adopted pack and rescuing his sister. Daring Fate is the first book in Megan Erickson’s new Silver Tip Pack series. Ms. Erickson successfully introduces readers to a twist on the shifter mythology. A century ago, there was a virus that killed all of the humans and two-thirds of the Weres… but those Weres that died became Noweres, an undead version of the warrior Were form. Werewolves and Weres live in isolated packs, remaining fairly solitary and at peace with one another, as long as they leave the one another alone. What remains after the virus are three species: werewolves, who shift between human and a wolf; Weres, who shift between human, wolf, and a huge wolf/human hybrid; and Noweres, the undead monsters. Dare and Reese are a rare True Mated couple. While Reese’s werewolf parents were True Mates and equal lovers, he wasn’t old enough to understand what the bond meant before they were killed before his eyes. Dare knows of no True Mated Weres, and neither know of a cross-species situation. This leaves both men lost, without a clue what is normal or to be expected with True Mates, and I like that both are a bit terrified of doing something wrong. I feel the story was made stronger with both Reese and Dare fully accepting and embracing the mating bond, and that the mating was done right up front, rather than a constant, reluctant pull throughout the story. They are completely sexually compatible, and as time goes on, they discover they are compatible in all important matters of the heart. The True Mate aspect, as well as the complex shifter mythology, give the story a strong sense of a traditional...
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Nov
10

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: About a Dragon by G.A. Aiken

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: About a Dragon by G.A. Aiken Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: Dragon Kin Series Book: About a Dragon Author: G.A. Aiken Narrator: Hollie Jackson Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Dragon Kin #2 Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Romance Source: Tantor Audio Talaith lived the same dead-end life, day after day for sixteen years, with the town’s people afraid of her and a dimwitted husband who thinks she’s the devil. She’s been sent to this little town by her goddess, waiting for the day Talaith is called to perform an act of sacrifice on her behalf. But the day that Briec passes through her town, everything changes. Briec, a powerful and arrogant dragon, sees Talaith and demands she join him, even after she tells him she’s married. Right from the start he finds himself obsessed with her and wants his own human plaything. And when the town’s people decide to riot and kill Talaith, Briec gets his chance, saving her and stealing her away. About a Dragon picks up about three years after the first book, with Annwyl the Bloody as queen, and dragons and humans forming an alliance. However, none of this news reaches Talaith’s small town, and as the book unfolds, we learn how Talaith’s human goddess has manipulated events in Talaith’s life. Likewise, we learn more about the dragon deities, and the history of the dragons. This expansion of mythology is equally interesting and exciting. It gives the book weight and increases the fantasy appeal. Although still not one to rate in my top of lists, the Dragon Kin series, its characters, and even the narration have grown on me. I enjoy following the adventures of this crazy, unconventional family. Their rudeness and barbaric, bloody behaviors make it a unique and compelling listen. However, after three pairs of males and females who constantly argue, I really hope for something a bit different stories. As the book went on, I grew to like Talaith, especially as her motives were unveiled. She’s a strong woman, as are most in this series. I also like that Annwyl’s character didn’t grow softer, if anything, she’s more crazy as she leads the kingdom these days. Additionally, the introduction of Izzy brings promise of fun adventures in the future. The males of the series, including Briec, seem a bit rough around the edges, yet are mesmerized and perplexed by their chosen females. I enjoy that they succumb to their feelings and revel in being with strong females. The narration by Hollie Jackson still isn’t my favorite, but by...
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Oct
26

Review + Blog Tour: Of Flame and Light by Cecy Robson

Review + Blog Tour: Of Flame and Light by Cecy Robson Of Flame and Light Author: Cecy Robson Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: Gikany and Una have been anticipating this novel since we met Taran in the first Weird Girls novel, A Curse Awakened. We loved this mouthy, confident woman. We found it fascinating to see the world of the Wird sisters through Taran’s eyes. Taran’s persona is just a façade. Taran’s history (which we hope to learn more about in future books) has taught her to show a tough-as-nails façade to hide her brittle self-esteem. She is terrified of being in love. This fact is illustrated through her frustrating relationship with Gem. One would think that since they are mated, she would have nothing to fear, but Taran is afraid that if she loves Gem, mate or not, he will leave her. Taran is hopelessly in love with Gem but to protect herself she has rejected him because of the injury she suffered in A Cursed Bloodline. A great recap of Taran’s story can be read in the prequel novella, Of Flame and Promise (review link below). Taran’s injury was grave: she lost her arm. The werewolves were able to use pack magic to give her a new arm, however, Taran’s new arm did not grow back exactly as it was. This new arm is wreaking havoc with her “Wird girl’s cursed” magic. It is almost as if the arm has a mind of its own. To make matters worse, it even looks different. Due to this, Taran feels disfigured and no longer attractive. It doesn’t help that Gem seems to avoid touching or even acknowledging this arm. Now to make things catastrophic (a norm for the Wird sisters), the arm seems to be causing Taran’s magic to backfire when she is emotional. With the current stress of her non-relationship with Gem, she is an emotional mess and her magic is going crazy. Taran is forced to turn to the witches (who she loathes) to learn to control her magic. The witch coven is a cross between a stereotypical sorority house and a horror novel orphanage. The animosity between Taran and the head witch, Genevieve, is seething since Genevieve is lusting after Gem. With Gem spending a lot of time there, and the rumor mill running full force, Taran suspects she has been replaced. Although she tries to make things work at the coven, the Wird sister luck strikes every time making things worse...
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Oct
25

Review: Seneca’s Faith by Abigail Owen

Review: Seneca’s Faith by Abigail Owen Seneca’s Faith Author: Abigail Owen Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: Seneca’s Faith is the fourth novel in the Shadowcat Nation series.  This interesting take on shifters seemingly comes to a close with this book.  Although there may be more books to come in the series, Gikany and Una liked the conclusion we found with Seneca and Gage’s journey. Seneca has appeared in previous books in the Shadowcat Nation series, but we didn’t learn much about her.  As the novel begins, we find out there is much more to Seneca than anyone knew.  Since the evil Rick Delaney is her father, Seneca has been forced to hide who she is and to pretend to be a submissive latent.  Her mother, before she was killed, impressed upon her the necessity of hiding her true self.  When Seneca is thrown together with Gage, she is used to keeping her secrets, relying on herself, and pretending.  But Gage isn’t fooled.  Although it is understandable due to her history, the constant deception with Gage started to grate after a while.  We began to wonder how much more Gage had to prove himself before Seneca would realize the earnestness of his sincerity and commitment to her. At the beginning of Seneca’s Faith, Gage is engaged to Seneca’s sister and is fighting his attraction to Seneca.  From the beginning Gage is honest and forthcoming with Seneca.  Although he does try to protect her, he doesn’t lie to her.  It felt like it took Seneca forever to realize the gift that Gage is to her.  Seneca’s deceptions made Gage’s protectiveness of Seneca understandable.  This book almost had the feel of A Comedy of Errors.  The innate goodness of Gage and Seneca gave us hope that they would finally break down the barriers and come together in heart and soul. The overarching plot regarding Rick Delaney and the animosity of the mountain lions reaches its conclusion in Seneca’s Faith.  The twisting and turning of the plot was fascinating.  The plight of the Shadowcat nation has been resolved.  The clans have stabilized, the new leaders all seem to be on the same page. Seneca’s Faith was a nice capstone to the strife that began in Andromeda’s Fall, the first novel in the Shadowcat Nation series.  Gikany and Una liked the series and wonder what other stories might be told in this world. Our Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: The Delaney Dare needs...
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Oct
25

Review + Excerpt: Archangel’s Heart by Nalini Singh

Review + Excerpt: Archangel’s Heart by Nalini Singh Archangel’s Heart Author: Nalini Singh Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Opening two years forward from the conclusion of the previous book, it’s been a fairly quiet time since the Ancient Alexander awoke early and the world last saw Lijuan. The Cascade has paused, and everyone is waiting for things to get hinky again. Because of the potential imbalance in the Cadre with Lijuan missing, the Luminata, an independent, neutral, secretive group, has called the Cadre together. The Cadre must decide if she’s dead, Sleeping, or other, and what to do with her Territory. With the meeting being held in the homelands of Elena’s maternal grandmother, she decides it is time to do some digging into her own little-known past. Archangel’s Heart is another great story in what has become one of my favorite series! I absolutely LOVE the Guild Hunter stories, most especially when they are Elena/Raphael-centric. While overall I’d still call it a paranormal romance series, this go-around is more on the urban fantasy side of the equation. Raphael and Elena’s relationship is now one hundred percent solid, and while they will continue to experience growing pains and have to deal with changes, their romance wasn’t the focus of the book. This time the focus was on Elena’s past and Cadre politics. It was exciting and gripping, but also tender and sweet. I continued to enjoy Raphael and Elena’s many-tiered encounters: intelligent dialogue, playful sparring, tender moments, sexual and sensual lovemaking. It’s all so three-dimensional and fulfilling on multiple levels. One of the things that stood out most this time is how the powerful Archangel of Manhattan is embracing his touched-by-mortality heart. Not only does he respect his Guild Hunter angel, but Raphael listens to her counsel and allows her to take her own risks. He changes are most apparent as Raphael helps Elena understand the politics of the Cadre, and how mortal lives have little meaning to these immortal Archangels. His earnest efforts to protect human lives is directly the result of Elena’s influence. I hope to see a shift in the thinking of the Cadre as Raphael’s powers grow during the Cascade. While the tone of the Guild Hunters series has always hovered a shade or two darker than Ms. Singh’s other PNR series, this time around, I also found it to be heart-stoppingly suspenseful. While staying with the Luminata, Elena and Raphael uncover dark secrets that tie into Elena’s own past....
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Oct
20

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Dragon Actually by G.A. Aiken Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: Dragon Kin Series Book: Dragon Actually Author: G.A. Aiken Narrator: Hollie Jackson Audio Speed: 1.5x & 2x Series: Dragon Kin #1 Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Romance Source: Tantor Audio I have heard very good things about G.A. Aiken’s Dragon Kin series, so when I saw it was being release on audio by Tantor media, I jumped at the chance to review the titles. Dragon Actually, the first story in this paranormal/fantasy romance series is actually two books in one. The primary story, Dragon Actually, creates the settings and develops a world full of waring humans and powerful dragons. The second, short story, Chains and Flames, shares the backstory of two dragon characters we meet in the primary tale. Dragon Actually shares the story of Annwyl the Bloody, the bastard sister of the current, malevolent king. She is the fearless and heralded leader of the rebellion, which is growing with each passing day. However, her brother, with the help of a powerful warlock, grows close to capturing Annwyl. Just as some of his troops are about to deliver the mortal blow to Annwyl, Fearghus the Destroyer, a powerful dragon, steps in to save her. Dragons are rarely seen these days, and many believe they are just a myth, something the solitary Fearghus thinks is just fine. However, after he feels compelled to save Annwyl, nursing her back to life and agreeing to assist in her battles against her brother, he finds he cannot stay away from her. Overall, Dragon Actually is a solid and entertaining paranormal/fantasy romance. I like the mythology and admire the strong female hero. Annwyl is her own person and doesn’t apologize for her attitude or behaviors. She is known as “the bloody” for a very good reason, cutting down her enemies without remorse as any male leader would. Fearghus is the only male who could be her equal and that makes them a good fit. I enjoyed their companionship and the times they let their guards down to talk. I did feel that there was a high “cheese-factor” in this story, both in the romance and in the interactions between several of the characters. I felt the story was dated in terms of tone, and my tastes in PNR have changed in the past 10 years. One thing I did not care for was the abruptness of the ending! Without giving spoilers, the ending felt incomplete. I would have liked...
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