4 star review

Review – Mind Magic by Eileen Wilks

Mind Magic

FBI agent Lily Yu’s mind is a dangerous place to be in the latest Novel of the Lupi…

Thanks to the mindspeech lessons she’s receiving from the black dragon, Lily is temporarily benched from Unit Twelve—until her brain acclimates and the risk of total burnout passes. At least she has her new husband, lupi Rule Turner, to keep her occupied.

But when her mentor calls in a favor and sends Lily to a murder scene, she’s suddenly back on active status—despite the hallucinations she can’t keep at bay. With one touch, Lily knows the man was killed by magic, but her senses don’t warn her how far the conspiracy goes…

A shadowy force within the government wants to take Unit Twelve down, and they don’t mind killing to achieve their goal. With none of her usual resources, Lily is up against impossible odds–because with her mind in disarray, she can’t trust anything she sees.

I’m not entirely sure why I waited so long to read this one. Some of it was me, I hadn’t been feeling well and was rather blah, but for the rest I was unaccountably nervous about this one. I was weirdly nervous about starting the last one too, but I figured it was because it was focusing on alternate characters. This one focused on Lily and Rule, so I am not sure why I was nervous, but I am starting to think it may just be this series. It makes me nervous. Even after 12 books now, it is always something unexpected (as an aside, don’t start with this book, it would be impossible). And then I read some reviews that made me more nervous. So, I kept putting it off.

Once I did get to it, the beginning didn’t begin to make me feel any better than the blurbs or the reviews I read had. It took a couple of chapters for me to really get into it because we started out in someone else’s head and I couldn’t understand why. But then once I did, it was Whoa Nelly.

There are some seriously surprising plot twists in this story, and Lily and Rule spend an unprecedented amount of time apart. But since we get to learn so much more about both dragons and brownies, it was forgivable. And those parts were amazing. I missed many of the usual characters, but their lack was only really evident in retrospect. And the one new major character is really interesting and I hope we see more of her.

And this story was really, really good. Amazing really. But I don’t quite understand how or even if this furthers the overall story arc of the series. I’m going to have to admit that I am quite baffled at this point.  I mean, I get where some of the odder threads have been leading to now, but where we go from here is slightly baffling. And there are a few threads that are far from tied up, beyond the overall story arc. But considering how Wilks has pulled it off in the past, I’ll just have to go with it. Eileen Wilks said of the differences between her initial novella and the first book, that she “can’t step into the same stream twice”, and I think that is true, maybe in more ways than she meant at the time. Most series are strongly linear, by both time and events. Hers is oddly non-linear, in a way that I can’t quite describe. I’ve described it as a tapestry before and that seems as good a description as any.

And holy heck this went to some really dark places, even compared to the places Wilks has taken us before. It wasn’t really gratuitous, but it stung a little. Some of it was expected, but the rest was almost completely out of my frame of reference.

So, where do I stand as far as opinions? It isn’t my favorite story of the series. Yes, moments were amazing and magical and fascinating, but not all of it was. And I’m not talking about the things that hurt, because they seemed necessary. But there were some rough spots. And this isn’t going to make my re-reads for any old reasons shelf. But it was certainly better than just solid, and it is very necessary for the series as a whole I think, even if I can’t quite see how right this moment. So I am going to give it 4 stars and hope the next one comes out soon.

Mind Magic (World of the Lupi, #12)

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3 star review

Review – Some Were in Time by Robyn Peterman

Some Were in TIme

All I wanna do is marry Hank, have 2.5 beautiful little Werewolf babies and live happily ever after while having sex on a very regular basis. Oh…and I still want to shoot stuff occasionally.
Apparently no one got the memo.

Instead of complaining about the price of flowers, cakes and the fact that my gay Vampyre BFF, Dwayne insists on wearing a dress at my nuptials, I’m locked and loaded trying to ascertain who wants my ass six feet under. With Hank at my side and some surprising allies at our disposal, we will take on the bad dudes…one bloody clusterhump of a sucktastic battle at a time.

No one ever said the Werewolf life was going to be easy, but this week we couldn’t catch a break if it bit us in the ass…

The gang is back and more ridiculous than ever. I’m almost sure this book is offensive to everyone everywhere…or is that every were? Anyway, between the Gay Vampyre Dwayne and gender ambiguous, deadly farting, were cows….I just can’t, literally, I can’t. And frankly that doesn’t even begin to skim the surface of the over the top insanity that is this story. There are plot holes large enough to ride a were cow through, particularly when you add this installment to the events to the last one. It is just something you have to go with.

Do I recommend this though? That is a tough one, it isn’t going to be for everyone that is for sure. But if you like the ridiculous, zany, and over the top, this may be the book for you. We’ve got heart warming happily ever afters for a large number of characters, villains were vanquished, mysteries were solved, and I can’t even begin to explain what all else.

Jesus Hesus Christ, where does Peterman come up with this stuff? And where the heck are my happily ever afters for Dwayne, Junior, Dami and Granny? Because I seriously want them.

Some Were In Time (Shift Happens #2)

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4.5 star review

Review and retrospect – Burning Wild by Christine Feehan

Burning Wild

So after the debacles which were Cat’s Lair and Wild Cat, I just had to finally go back and re-read an earlier one to see if I was so very mistaken or if my preferences had changed so dramatically.

Born into a world of twisted monsters, Jake Bannaconni is shaped and molded into a cold, revenge driven man. Honed in the fires of hell, he controls his world and rules with an iron hand. He has everything and anything money can buy. He’s ruthless, merciless and considered a man to leave alone. His hidden legacy, that of a shapeshifter, makes him doubly dangerous in the corporate world.

Emma Reynolds is a woman who knows how to love and love well. When their two worlds collide, Jake’s plans for a complete take over, may just come tumbling down.

I was really afraid it wouldn’t live up to my memories. But no, this is really almost as good as I remembered, and it is nothing like the most current Leopard series.

I mean there are some surface similarities. The heroes are super dominant and not always likable and the heroines are somewhat dependent. But deeper, there is a wide chasm of difference.

Jake may be aggressive, dominant, and emotionally closed off, but we as readers know PRECISELY why. He is more of a “real” character than later ones. We learn him through his history, and even his wrongheaded actions match up well with his history, his perspective in life, and his emotions. Plus, he at least often tries to moderate the worst of his impulses and he acknowledges his internal damage and sets up an escape hatch for Emma clearly explaining, should I ever hurt you, you go to these people for help leaving me and you never-ever return to me. And after the initial “let me make you dependent on me” stratagems, he was rather upfront with Emma.

And Emma feels reasonably real too. She has a spine, albeit a cat’s hyper-flexible one, but she does have agency, and she will stand up to him, and there is much more to their relationship besides sex. She makes decisions, she sets things in motion, and she does some of the actual fighting and tracking.

While the sex is still kind of dark and the relationship between Jake and Emma isn’t exactly a healthy one, it is miles away from what happens in later books.

I sincerely don’t know what has happened to this series. The later books seem to have lost characters, plot, history/culture/mythology, and the sex got weird. Where is the emotional connection to the characters, where’s the depth? What happened to the Leopard culture and the reincarnation thing? And damn it, why do I feel like I am reading those creepy old skool historicals where the heroine is a teen and still a child when she marries with all the patriarchal BS included?

So for any of you out there fearing going back to the earlier books, re-read unabashedly, we aren’t crazy and this doesn’t seem to be the same series anymore.

Burning  Wild (Leopard People, #3)

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4 star review

Review – Indirect Lines by Dana Marie Bell

Indirect Lines

There’s only one way to win this game: break the rules.

Halle Shifters, Book 5

James “Barney” Barnwell is losing his ever-loving mind. Between the threat to the white shifters and a riddle he’s been ordered to solve, he can actually go for ten whole minutes without thinking about Heather, the woman destined to be his mate.

As much as he burns to get the redhead under him, the safest place for her is far away from him. If the bad guys catch the barest hint of her scent on his skin, she’ll become a target.

The way Heather sees it, the quicker she helps the stubborn Bear solve the riddle, the quicker he’ll bite her—literally. But when she’s hurt while protecting her cousin from an attack, she finds herself right where Barney never wanted her: smack dab in the middle of the investigation.

Like it or not, Barney is forced to bring her fully into his crazy world. With his mate’s life in his hands, he’s in a race against time to solve this maddening riddle before the enemy discovers that the Hunter has finally been caught by love.

Warning: This book contains explicit sex, graphic language, lots of questions and maybe even some answers. Remember: Fox holds the key.

I have been reading this series for a while now (well really it is three series, the Halle Pumas, Poconos Pack, and Halle Shifters), and I am not sure why I haven’t reviewed it here before. They tend to be shorter but highly satisfying reads and while the first two series or more traditional paranormal romances, the Halle Shifters has had a mystery threaded through the romances. While the last book wasn’t my favorite in terms of the romance, the overall mystery has me very intrigued.

And I am pleased to say the romance was hot, I liked the characters, I liked the new characters we have been introduced to, and the mystery has just been blown wide open. War is coming.

And frankly that is kind of all I can say without spoiling the plot for the whole series. I am a ridiculous person who thinks they are going to hop in and review book 5 (well book 5 in the series, book 12 overall) first. See, completely ridiculous.

But seriously, this is a fun paranormal series, and it tends to be a less expensive one as well. So if you like shifters (and don’t mind fated mates, mystery, and family/pack bonds, definitely check them out.

Indirect Lines (Halle Shifters)

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3 star review

Review – When an Omega Snaps by Eve Langlais

When an Omega Snaps

Leo is the calm guy. The nice guy. The one nobody screws with. So could someone explain that to Meena so she stops driving him insane—with desire.

When Meena literally throws herself at Leo and declares he’s her mate, his first reaction is to deny—and run far, far away. This lion/tiger mix doesn’t do drama and chaos. Problem is, once he sets eyes on her, he can’t help but want the vivacious blonde with plus-sized curves, perfect for a big man like himself.

He wants her even if it breaks all his rules when it comes to women.
Wants her even if she destroys his serenity.
Wants her more than a perfectly grilled piece of steak with a dash of garlic, pepper, and salt.

Thing is, someone else wants her too.

This poor omega is about to have his world turned upside down, which means everyone better watch out because when Leo experiences love, jealousy, and frustration for the first time, he doesn’t just snap—he roars!

This is the 3rd book in Langlais’ Lion’s Pride series. Whereas When an Alpha Purrs just irked me, and When a Beta Roars made we want to stand up and cheer and then sigh a happy little sigh, this one just made me smile.

What’s a big accident prone lioness to do when she finds her mate, a luscious giant of a liger with a stick up his butt? Why chase him, chase him till HE catches HER. Seriously, this book is just a ton of fun, though I’ll admit that if the hero acted the way the heroine did, constantly invading his space and making declarations and manipulating him into situations, well I probably wouldn’t like that hero much at all. But that is a double standard to unpack for another day.

Meena has always been a walking catastrophe. She’s a big girl and quite missed out on the usual feline grace. But whatever catastrophe life throws her way she meets head on with can do take one day at a time attitude. And despite her brash attitude she has a big, soft heart, as well as other parts which serve to make her irresistible to our hero.

Leo is zen. Very zen. As the Omega of the pack it is his job to keep everyone in line, something he isn’t afraid to back with fists on top of his voice. He is very proper, and buttoned up, and stick up his butt sort of hero. Until the heroine prompts him to let loose with his wild side. In that he kind of reminded me of Nalini Singh’s Riley. But he is absolutely determined to treat her with respect and like she is his dainty princess. Adorable!

This is a cute, sexy, short story, and yes it absolutely made me smile. There is no real conflict or mystery, just two very different people seeing just how right they are with each other. It will be interesting to see how Langlais “redeems” Teena’s (Meena’s twin sister) mate Dmitri, which exhibits all the characteristics I just said I would decry in a male, because right now, I am just not seeing it.

When An Omega Snaps (A Lion's Pride Book 3)
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4 star review

Review and Giveaways – Laird Wolf by Vivian Arend

Laird Wolf

I received an ARC of this book from the author, this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

This is the second book in the Takhini Shifters series which is a spin off from the Takhini Wolves series. The first story in this series, Copper King, was one of the earliest things I reviewed. I liked that story a lot, but my reviewing certainly didn’t do it justice, so I hope I can do better this time. Plus, this time we have fabulous prizes. There’s a massive tour wide contest with plenty of excellent prizes, and a second contest where you can win a copy of Copper King.

Vivian is giving away one 6” Kindle, along with an assortment of shifter books, AND a wolfie in a kilt!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And to enter to win the digital copy of Copper King, just comment on the blog, either about this story, your favorite Vivian Arend book, or anything at all. Just comment and I’ll randomly draw a winner!

Now, on to the blurb and the review!

Blurb:

He’s a wolf in a kilt. That pretty much says it all…

Pulling off a rescue mission at a remote castle in Scotland should be an easy task for lone wolf Damon Black. He’ll flash some muscle, show a little Alpha power, and do whatever it takes to ease Addie MacShay’s fears. But the woman who throws herself into his arms and cries boyfriend is more intriguing than anticipated. The sexy she-wolf’s got more curves, more tantalizing scent, more of everything he desires.

Addie’s job cataloguing an estate at the Sterling-Wylde Manor is complicated by the ongoing discovery of new wills and the two creepy heirs who won’t leave her alone. But her fake boyfriend turns out to be a far greater threat—not only is he fun and flirtatious, he looks delicious in a kilt. She craves his touch, but with her empathic skills on overdrive, touch is the last thing she needs.

Damon’s fighting his unruly inner beast. Addie’s fighting their incredible sexual pull. They’ll both have to lower their guard to make this more than a Highland fling.

Wolfie in a Kilt, really that says it all, and don’t worry, you find out exactly what (or rather what he doesn’t) have on under that kilt.

On a more serious note, Addie has a photographic memory and an inconvenient quirky legacy from her two Omega parents. When she gets into an uncomfortable situation during her job as an estate cataloger, her best friend (the heroine from Copper King) sends in the calvary. Damon is an unlikely sort of hero, because that is the last thing he ever wants to try to be again, but man does he rock a kilt.

Both of these characters have strong reasons for not wanting to get into a relationship, but the chemistry and personal enjoyment in each other is palpable. And what I really enjoyed with this particular pair, is it WAS NOT an issue of insta-mate. They found out they liked each other, could work together, and grew to love each other, all without their beasts input. That isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy a good insta-mate story, because I do, but that sort of connection just wouldn’t have worked for Addie and Damon.

So, if you think you’d enjoy a story where the heroine doesn’t go all naval gazing over the hero and can stomp him in chess without drooling over him or even interrupting her work day (but really knows how to work the evening, if you know what I mean), a hero who doesn’t get all bent out of shape when he gets stomped in chess by a woman – and knows how to have fun and rock a kilt, and if you didn’t know Highland Tigers are a real thing, then this may just be the perfect book for you.

(BTW, Highland Tigers are totally real, and my life is now complete because I know this. After you read the book check them out.)

Buy links:

Amazon Barnes & Noble iBooks Kobo All Romance eBooks GooglePlay

Laird Wolf (Takhini Shifters #2)

About the Author: Vivian Arend in one word: Adventurous. In a sentence: Willing to try just about anything once. That wide-eyed attitude has taken her around North America, through parts of Europe, and into Central and South America, often with no running water. Her optimistic outlook also meant that when challenged to write a book, she gave it a shot, and discovered creating worlds to play in was nearly as addictive as traveling the real one.  Now a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of both contemporary and paranormal stories, Vivian continues to explore, write and otherwise keep herself well entertained.

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3.5 star review

Review – Diamond Dust by Vivian Arend Book 3 Takhini Wolves

Diamond Dust

The best laid plains don’t always turn out how you expected them to. Book 3 in the Takhini Wolves series is the culmination of the bear politics that have been woven through this series so far. Caroline Bradley has had a hell of a time lately. She schemed (lovingly and with good intents for all involved, but still she schemed) herself into a position of power as the lover of the Takhini pack alpha in order to straighten out his problems and to help establish a safe place for her sister. Only, it turned out her sister didn’t need that kind of help, and now the alpha has sniffed out his mate. She certainly isn’t sorry about that, because all they have ever been to each other is very good friends, but still, it puts her at loose ends.

And the Bear Convocation has rolled into town bringing with them mayhem and one hunky bear shifter. Tyler Harrison, owner of a wildly successful diamond mine and other financial interests is looking for ways to take leadership of the bears. Only he can’t do it alone. But Caroline, a human who is more like a shifter than most but ostensibly neutral to the bears, is perfect for the job of liaison and assistant. She’s also perfect for him, not that he is willing to admit it at first.

For some reason, bears are at the top of my list when it comes to shifters. Unlike wolves, everyone seems to do them a little different. Maybe not as different as honey badgers (still my favorite shifters), but still they tend to be a bit unique in every shifter author’s universe. So I really enjoyed exploring the differences with this particular group. Change is in the wind and sometimes it takes an outsider to see a way out, and Caroline, caretaker that she is, is completely prepared to step right in and resolve the matter. So it could have been disastrous, she could have been stuck in just a political game (and damned if these aren’t the most political bear shifters I have ever read of), but Tyler pulls it off to a satisfying conclusion. For all his clout and his political lacumen, for all his alpha dominance and power, he was really just a sweet old teddy bear when it comes to Caroline. How do you take care of a woman who takes care of everyone else? This bear has it right, you listen. He could have “beared” his way in, but instead of taking or pushing, he just let her take what she needed, express what she wanted. And Arend did a delightful job of making this seem like an integral characterization even in such a dominant and alpha individual. That is no mean feat.

It was a perfect, though perfectly surprising conclusion to this particular story arc.

And if you have made it with me so far with my journey with the Takhini Wolves in preparation for Wolfie in a Kilt (review and giveaway to come 07/28/2015), you might enjoy taking a step back into the past in my blog to my review for the conclusion of this particular series, Moon Shine, where you can meet one of my all time favorite Vivian Arend heroines.

Diamond Dust (Takhini Wolves, #3)

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