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Apr
6

Review: Sins of the Warrior by Linda Poitevin

Review: Sins of the Warrior by Linda Poitevin Sins of the Warrior Author: Linda Poitevin Reviewer: Una Rating: B  What I’m Talking About: Sins of the Warrior is the final book in the gripping Grigory Legacy series.  While I am chagrined to say I liked it – the ending was a bittersweet yet satisfying conclusion to this series of Armageddon. First, I wish I had the time to at least reread the previous novel. It has been a few years since I’ve read Sins of the Lost. It took me a bit of time to jump back in. The beginning was slow for me as I struggled to remember so much of what had happened over the course of the series. If you haven’t read the series or are interested, trust me, start from the beginning. But once my brain cells kicked in and I recalled the past, I soon found myself gripped by this novel. ****If you haven’t read the series, this review will contain spoilers.**** As the novel begins, we find Alex hunting for her niece.  Her steel core of honor and duty won’t let her give up on her niece or on the world.  Alex has sacrificed and suffered since the beginning of this series. This novel is no different.  She continues to exemplify true courage, loyalty and determination.  Alex balances on the razor’s edge of sanity as her world and her future falls apart. However, it is a sign of her platinum will that she holds herself together, continuing on the path of doing what is right; even though the effort and choices are excruciating.  Though in the end there is a bittersweet consolation, it was still sad. I enjoyed how Michael (or Mika’el) was more fully developed in this book.  We see more than just the gruff warrior exterior – there is so much more to him.  Through this novel, it makes sense the by-play between him and Alex.  They are both warriors cut from the same cloth.  They have the same loyalty, same courage and determination and sadly, the same ability to sacrifice, to make the hard choices.  Once they start letting down their guards, they discovered how much alike they are, that they are both working for the same goals. What keeps me from rating this higher is that it is sad.  The end of humanity is not something you can say you loved.  This is Armageddon – the absolute war. The losses in this war will be catastrophic; you...
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Apr
6

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Two Tales of the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Two Tales of the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: The Iron Druid Chronicles Book: Two Tales of the Iron Druid Chronicles Author: Kevin Hearne Narrator: Luke Daniels Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Iron Druid Chronicles #0.6 & #3.5 Genre: Urban Fantasy Source: purchased Two Tales of the Iron Druid Chronicles Two Tales of the Iron Druid Chronicles is just that – two shorter-length stories set in the Iron Druid Chronicles world that are tied to the series, but do not directly impact the overall storyline of the series. The first tale, Kaibab Unbound, takes place shorty before the start of the series. Atticus and his dog companion, Oberon, go north to the Arizona wilderness for some hunting time. However, their trip is cut short when the Kaibab elemental calls to Atticus for assistance, and Atticus must right the wrongs of a trio of witches. The short story is a glimpse into Atticus’s life and duties as the last Druid. It’s a self-contained short and good introduction to the series. It was enjoyable for this existing fan of Atticus and Oberon. Test of Mettle is a bit different because it is shared in the first person POV narration of Atticus’s apprentice, Granuaile. The story takes place concurrently with book 3, Hammered, when Atticus is in Asgard. Granuaile is keeping her promise to Sonora, the desert earth elemental, by ridding the river of an evasive species, when she is attacked by animals under the direction of the goddess of the hunt, Flidais. Test of Mettle was my favorite of these two tales because it gives a perspective we don’t normally experience. I liked seeing how Granuaile interacted with Oberon since she can’t hear him, therefore neither can I. I also enjoyed seeing her survive her trials and get a new perspective of her enjoyment and desire to become a Druid. HOWEVER… there is a dark side to Granuaile as she thinks about a time in the future when she will be able to destroy her stepfather. Eep! While the stories are both narrated by series narrator Luke Daniels, my first notice was that the narration was slightly different. The biggest difference was that Oberon came off a bit rough around the edges – more wild and goofy than I’m used to. I don’t know if it was recorded early on or if the narrator purposely changed slightly. Since we haven’t had a story told from Granuaile’s POV, I didn’t have a lot...
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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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Apr
3

Review: Cooking with Kandy by Peggy Jaeger

Review: Cooking with Kandy by Peggy Jaeger Cooking with Kandy Author: Peggy Jaeger Reviewer: Jen Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Cooking with Kandy is the EBC’s number one food show, making Kandy Laine a highly successful woman, and apparently a target. Kandy is self-driven with high standards and an incredible work ethic. While she is extremely busy, family always comes first; she is giving, caring, and would do anything for those in her inner circle. So when threats on Kandy’s life grow more serious, she’s honestly perplexed that it could be coming from someone close to her. Josh Keane was hired to protect Kandy and get to the bottom of the threats. While he has always put his job first, his instant attraction to and growing friendship with Kandy messes with his head and heart. Will getting to the bottom of the danger signal the end of his time with Kandy… or will it start the beginning of something more? Cooking with Kandy is an enjoyable combination of sweet romance and light mystery/suspense. As the first title in Ms. Jaeger’s new Will Cook for Love series, readers are introduced to Kandy and her entire extended family, ninety percent of which seem to work for her in some capacity. The author has created a warm, genuine environment, which should serve well for the series setting. Kandy and Josh are two peas in a pod (food reference intended!); both are driven individuals who have their own fair share of baggage. While each has found success and happiness with their career paths, it isn’t until they are put together that they truly see some holes and loneliness in their lives. Although they are forced by circumstance to be together, they develop a genuine bond, and the nature of the events surrounding their pairing lends itself to a rapid opening up and sharing of innermost thoughts and desires. Josh and Kandy are sweet together. They are like the couple that finishes each other’s sentences. And while it took a little while for the steam to build, once the couple allows themselves to indulge in desire, the heat factor raises quickly. Kandy’s world is full of characters, and at times it was difficult to remember who was who. This is important because not only is the book a romance, there is a pretty serious mystery which gives way to a bit of suspense. Ms. Jaegar establishes a solid problem, complete with clues and red herrings. I enjoyed piecing together the...
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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
28

Review: The Enforcer by Stephanie Julian

Review: The Enforcer by Stephanie Julian The Enforcer Author: Stephanie Julian Reviewer: Jen Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Jess Gardiner has hockey in her blood. With the best scout in the NHL for a father, Jess learned the game inside and out at a young age. The problem is, women aren’t scouts in the NHL. So she works as the promotion manager for the Redtails, honestly loving her job, and feeds her scouting side by making recommendations to the coach on the side. Will is a veteran player without much time left playing the sport he loves. However, after a recommendation to give him a look, the Redtails pick him up to be a leader for its young team. And from the moment he meets the intriguing Jess, he’s hoping he’ll stay with the Redtails for a while. The Enforcer is a quick, enjoyable story with equal parts romance and hockey. Hockey isn’t just a setting for the book, but rather the story is infused with the ins and outs of the sport. It’s clear that Ms. Julian understands and loves hockey as much as her heroine, Jess. Right from the start, Jess and Will experience a strong pull and mutual attraction, accompanied by the sudden realization that something has been missing in their lives. However, Jess was burned by immature hockey players in the past, and she’s worried about the impacts to her credibility on the job if she dates someone on the team. Yet, she cannot deny herself the joy of being around Will. Similarly, Will recognizes he’s getting older and doesn’t want to play games when meets a woman he really likes. Yet, he is respectful of her concerns and willing just to be friends because he enjoys her company – totally swoon-worthy. Their romance is quick, sexy, and sweet, and I really enjoyed their story. My biggest issue with The Enforcer is the number of apparent continuity errors within the storyline. I can adjust to one or maybe two issues, but I found a handful of situations that seemed in clear conflict with something stated later in the story. For example, in a scene early in the book, Will discusses an upcoming game with teammate Justin and how a player named Mason will cause Will problems. Mason plays for Syracuse. Yet later in the text, we find out that the Redtails are playing Milwaukee. While not important to the overall story, continuity issues like this drive me nuts, and I...
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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
16

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Hammered by Kevin Hearne

Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: Hammered by Kevin Hearne Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook review: The Iron Druid Chronicles Book: Hammered Author: Kevin Hearne Narrator: Luke Daniels Audio Speed: 1.5x Series: Iron Druid Chronicles #3 Genre: Urban Fantasy Source: purchased Hammered Making good on his promise to the powerful witch Latcha to obtain a fabled apple from a Norse god, Atticus finds a “backdoor” into Asgard, then weaves a ridiculous tale of the Roman pantheon aiming to hurt the Norse pantheon to lay blame for the tragedies he causes while on his task. But Atticus isn’t done! He follows up these acts by heading back into Asgard with friend Leif and a handful of scorned immortals, fulfilling his promise to assist the vampire in his quest to kill Thor. Hammered is an interesting and exciting adventure for Atticus. Honestly, I’m still a bit dumb-struck over the events that occurred. Let’s just say that Atticus makes some really, really awful decisions this time around. The story has a different feel as Atticus takes on the Norse pantheon. The author expands beyond the limited look at the Tempe area and tosses about all sorts of new-to-the-series mythology. I appreciate that the majority of the world-building is presented as fact, rather than trying to convince the reader through telling. The book has a bit of a transition feel to it as Atticus concedes it is finally time to move on. His reflection on his reasons for always moving and never loving again are profound. We find out that he was married and experienced deep, true love for two centuries and had 25 kids! It’s been over 500 years and he’s afraid to set roots and love again. But he does love Oberon. And now he has a friendship with the Widow MacDonagh and his obligations to Granuaile (his apprentice). And he feels obligated to repair the damage to the land that happened back in the first book. It’s actually a very moving self-reflection as he makes the decision to leave Arizona. Another reason Hammered comes off as transitional is that as Atticus says his farewells to companions and friends, everything from the previous two books makes an appearance. Things like the Hammers of God, the witch coven, his friends, the shop; they are each dealt with in a manner that is mostly permanent, yet leaving room for reemergence one day. However, it was his farewell to the Widow MacDonagh that had me in tears. It was well done...
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