Genre: Paranormal Romance

Review: The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. James

Posted November 13, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. JamesReviewer: Holly
The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. James
Narrator: Mary Jane Wells
Publisher: NAL
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Library, Audible Escape
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Gothic, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 319
Length: 9 hours and 58 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

The award-winning author of The Haunting of Maddy Clare and Silence for the Dead, presents another mesmerizing gothic story of intrigue...

London, 1925. Glamorous medium Gloria Sutter made her fortune helping the bereaved contact loved ones killed during the Great War. Now she's been murdered at one of her own séances, after leaving a message requesting the help of her former friend and sole rival, Ellie Winter.

Ellie doesn't contact the dead—at least, not anymore. She specializes in miraculously finding lost items. Still, she can't refuse the final request of the only other true psychic she has known. Now Ellie must delve into Gloria's secrets and plunge back into the world of hucksters, lowlifes, and fakes. Worse, she cannot shake the attentions of handsome James Hawley, a damaged war veteran who has dedicated himself to debunking psychics.

As Ellie and James uncover the sinister mysteries of Gloria's life and death, Ellie is tormented by nightmarish visions that herald the grisly murders of those in Gloria's circle. And as Ellie’s uneasy partnership with James turns dangerously intimate, an insidious evil force begins to undermine their quest for clues, a force determined to bury the truth, and whoever seeks to expose it...

The Other Side of Midnight by Simone St. James is available for the Audible Escape package. I downloaded it after finishing Silence for the Dead, because I wanted more from St. James and because I enjoyed the narrator, Mary Jane Wells, quite a bit. This gothic romance is perfect for the fall season.

Ellie Winter is a psychic Medium. When a rival Medium, Gloria Sutter, is murdered and her brother shows up asking for Ellie’s help in finding her, Ellie agrees reluctantly. She and Gloria had been friends once upon a time, but Gloria betrayed Ellie in a devastating way and they hadn’t spoken in years. If Gloria hadn’t left a note with her brother “Tell Ellie Winter to find me”, Ellie probably would have told him no. As it is, despite her anger and hurt over Gloria’s betrayal, she can’t walk away.

James Hawley is an investigator for the “New Society”. He, and his colleagues, try to verify or debunk psychics. He was instrumental in declaring Ellie’s mother a fraud, but something about their case has always bothered him. As the only verified true psychic – something he helped prove – Gloria had a lot of notoriety in London. Discovering if his findings are part of the reason she was murdered has James helping Ellie.

This is the second novel by St. James I’ve read. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the first, but it was still a creepy, lovely tale. I quite enjoyed the setting – mid 1920s London – and the glimpse into the life of a true Medium who can see and summon spirits. Ellie’s talent in that regard came across well. I enjoyed her as whole, in fact. She was independent and strong, yet had a vein of vulnerability and loneliness running through her that made her easy to connect with.

I enjoyed the mystery of why Gloria Sutter was murdered, and by whom. I had the majority of things figured out, but still there were some twists and turns I didn’t see coming. This was a cozy, atmospheric Gothic novel not to be missed.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Reaper by Larissa Ione

Posted November 4, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Reaper by Larissa IoneReviewer: Casee
Reaper by Larissa Ione
Series: Demonica #19
Also in this series: Azagoth
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 15, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 325
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

THE DEMONICA SERIES RETURNS...

He is the Keeper of Souls. Judge, jury, and executioner. He is death personified.

He is the Grim Reaper.

A fallen angel who commands the respect of both Heaven and Hell, Azagoth has presided over his own underworld realm for thousands of years. As the overlord of evil souls, he maintains balance crucial to the existence of life on Earth and beyond. But as all the realms gear up for the prophesied End of Days, the ties that bind him to Sheoul-gra have begun to chafe.

Now, with his beloved mate and unborn child the target of an ancient enemy, Azagoth will stop at nothing to save them, even if it means breaking blood oaths and shattering age-old alliances.

Even if it means destroying himself and setting the world on fire…

Azagoth and Lilliana are happily mated. They also have a baby on the way. Both of them are pretty much deliriously happy. Then Lilliana faints and Azagoth knows he has to send her to Underworld General, a place that he can’t follow.

After finding out that she was poisoned, Lilliana knows that she can’t go back to Sheoul-gra. When she tries to leave UG, chaos ensues. There are Fallen Angels at the door and they are almost impossible to beat. Lilliana goes into the Harrowgate which will take her to safety. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen and Lilliana finds herself in hell.

When Azagoth is told about Lilliana, he is devastated and absolutely furious. His first instinct is to go after Lilliana, but he can’t. As the Grim Reaper, Azagoth has an unlimited amount of power, but only in Sheoul-gra. He also can’t leave Sheoul-gra. All he can do is call in his allies and prepare for war.

As a prisoner of a psychotic demon that wants Satan released, Lilliana doesn’t worry about herself. She only worries for her child. And Azagoth. Lilliana knows that Azagoth will not only never recover from their deaths, but revert back to the demon that she first met.

When Heaven decides the only course of action is to destroy Azagoth, things start going downhill. Still, Azagoth will do whatever it takes to save his mate. Even if he dies trying to get her back.

I really, really liked this book. Azagoth is sort of an anti-hero. He’s evil, but there’s goodness in him. He never expected to mate and it’s obvious that he’s thrown and is trying to deal with feeling so much for one person. Still, Lilliana an Azagoth somehow make it work. The action in this book is amazing. Larissa isn’t afraid to take risks. In Reaper, her risks paid off.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.



four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Reaper by Larissa Ione

Posted November 3, 2019 by Casee in Features | 5 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

I’ve been a long time Larissa Ione fan. I started reading this series when the first book came out. I’ve been hooked ever since. Reaper is about Agazoth, whom we have already met. I read and reviewed Agazoth back in 2016. I really, really enjoyed him and Lilliana. I think this book is going to be a great addition to this series. If you like a good, sexy paranormal romance, this is definitely the series for you. If you give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Sunday Spotlight: Reaper by Larissa IoneReaper by Larissa Ione
Series: Demonica #19
Also in this series: Azagoth, Reaper
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 15, 2019
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 325
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

THE DEMONICA SERIES RETURNS...

He is the Keeper of Souls. Judge, jury, and executioner. He is death personified.

He is the Grim Reaper.

A fallen angel who commands the respect of both Heaven and Hell, Azagoth has presided over his own underworld realm for thousands of years. As the overlord of evil souls, he maintains balance crucial to the existence of life on Earth and beyond. But as all the realms gear up for the prophesied End of Days, the ties that bind him to Sheoul-gra have begun to chafe.

Now, with his beloved mate and unborn child the target of an ancient enemy, Azagoth will stop at nothing to save them, even if it means breaking blood oaths and shattering age-old alliances.

Even if it means destroying himself and setting the world on fire…

Excerpt

Lilliana woke to someone tap dancing on her bladder.

Groaning, she rolled over and bumped into Azagoth. Pleasantly surprised that he was still in bed, she ignored her need to pee and curled up against him.

She’d missed this so much while she was gone.

“Good morning,” he murmured, his husky voice even more gravelly than usual.

“Morning.” She snuggled into his shoulder. “I’m surprised you’re not working.”

He yawned. “You wore me out last night.”

Smiling against his skin, she trailed her fingers along the hard ridges and deep valleys of his abs.

“I wanted to show you how grateful I was that you threw me a baby shower.” And she’d done it without getting too active. Eidolon couldn’t begrudge her one orgasm, right?

“Mmm.” He pressed a kiss into her hair. “You must have been very grateful.”

She slid her hand under the sheet and meandered her way to the curve of his hip. She might be a million months into her pregnancy, but her sex drive didn’t care in the least.

“I’m still grateful.”

He hissed as her knuckles brushed his shaft. “Not complaining.”

It truly had been sweet of him to gather together the denizens of Sheoul-gra for a big celebration of food, drink, and games in the traditions of people from the human, demon, and angelic cultures. She’d suffered two more bouts of intense nausea and some cramps, but they’d passed quickly. What hadn’t passed was Azagoth’s concern.

Which was probably why he was still in bed with her.

It was cute the way he hovered. Annoying at times, but cute.

“I just want you to know that you’re my life,” he said. “Without you, I’m a monster.”

“And what are you with me?”

He gave her a rare, boyish grin, made even more playful by his mop of bedhead. “A happy monster.”

“I’m very happy about the happy.” She rubbed her eyes and yawned.

“Things are good, Lil,” he said. “I never thought much about being a partner, let alone a parent, but I want to do these things with you.” He settled his hand on her belly and smiled with wonder. “This will be my first child born without a predetermined future. He or she can be anything. Do anything.”

“Incredible, isn’t it?” She pushed up on one elbow and leaned in to kiss his chest. She’d kissed every inch of him last night. Maybe she’d lick every inch of him this morning. “And our baby will be born to parents who love each other.”

Determined to show him how much she loved him, she kissed her way lower. Her lips whispered over his nipple, but before she could taste him, a cramp wrenched her insides. She sucked in a harsh breath, her hand going to her belly.

“What is it?” Azagoth jackknifed up, his expression dark with worry. “Is it the baby?”

Fierce heat swelled beneath the surface of her skin as her abdomen tightened. “I think it might be Braxton Hicks,” she said between panting breaths.

“What?”

“Cara had them.” Closing her eyes to stop the room from spinning, she eased back onto her pillow. “They’re like practice contractions.”

She didn’t remember Cara complaining about being hot and sweating buckets, though. Another cramp streaked through her, and she moaned. Cara had said they were painful, as if someone were squeezing her intestines.

This was more like someone was driving a red-hot blade through them.

“You’re white as a ghost, Lilli.”

Something’s wrong.

No, nothing was wrong. She was being paranoid.

Azagoth rested his palm on her forehead, testing her temperature. “Are these Hicks things supposed to be like this?”

She heard the panic in his voice but not the words. Her ears were buzzing. Her head was pounding. And, suddenly, a wave of agony wrapped around her and squeezed so hard she screamed. Vaguely, she heard Azagoth call out her name as a warm gush spread between her thighs.

“Lilliana? Lilliana!” His voice droned in and out as the room began to tilt. There was shouting. More pain. Her thoughts fragmented.

And then, finally…nothing.

Demonica



Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: November 2019

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Larissa Ione

Air Force veteran Larissa Ione traded in a career in meteorology to pursue her passion of writing. She has since published dozens of books, hit several bestseller lists, including the New York Times and USA Today, and has been nominated for a RITA award. She now spends her days in pajamas with her computer, strong coffee, and supernatural worlds. She believes in celebrating everything, and would never be caught without a bottle of Champagne chilling in the fridge…just in case. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her retired U.S. Coast Guard husband, her son, a rescue cat named Vegas, and her very own hellhounds, a King Shepherd named Hexe and a Belgian Malinois named Duvel.


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Review: Aris by Sarah J. Stone

Posted October 21, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Caution: This book may include potentially sensitive content, including but not limited to: Sexual Violence or Abuse.
Review: Aris by Sarah J. StoneReviewer: Holly
Aris by Sarah J. Stone
Narrator: Connor Brown
Series: Stratham Dragons #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 19, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Length: 3 hours and 17 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
one-star
Series Rating: one-star

Aris and his brothers have been sick their entire lives. Every day Aris comes closer to finding a cure. One day his visions show him that the key is a human woman in need of help. He must find her.

Sophie has spent the last seven years of her life locked away and abused by a man who promised to always take care of her. She’s nearly given up hope on ever getting free until she makes contact with the man of her dreams. Is he actually real or is she going crazy?

Can Aris save her from herself and help her heal before it’s too late for both of them?

Content Warning: Explicit love scenes, and piles of sexy shifters. Intended for mature audiences only.

I like how the content warning in the blurb doesn’t mention the massive amounts of on page abuse and sexual assault the female MC suffers.

Content Warning: Explicit love scenes, and piles of sexy shifters. Intended for mature audiences only.

TRIGGER WARNING! Sexual assault and abuse galore.

I found this while browsing the Audible Escape package and thought I’d give it a try. The narration, blurb and cover made me think this would be a lighter PNR, but that wasn’t the case. The book opens with the heroine trapped in a basement being sore abused by her step-father. She mentally connects with our hero, Aris, who turns out to be a dragon shifter suffering from some sort of illness.

He and his brothers-of-the-heart – five boys who banded together – are all suffering from the same thing, yet none of them know why or how to fix it. Aris connects with his biological mother in a dream and learns he’s a half-breed dragon – half Black dragon and half Golden. According to dream mom, until he accepts both halves of himself and finds the missing third part of his soul (the heroine, natch), he – and all his “brothers” – will die.

Sophie has been a captive for 7 years, since she was 14 (so it says in the beginning of the book) or 15 (end of the book). She’s been plotting her escape and trying to keep hope, but she’s almost at the end of her rope. She’s been dreaming of Aris (though she didn’t know his name) for years, but didn’t think he was real until they connect in a dream and he sees her as well. Now she’s determined to hang on until he can rescue her.

I liked the premise of this story, but honestly it was a hot mess. Inconsistencies galore. At first she was raped, then not. She was in the basement for 5 years, then 7. She was severely traumatized by her abuse (understandably so!), then she was strong so it didn’t matter. Things were glossed over or hinted at. Honestly, I could have let a lot of that go, but about halfway through we suddenly switched to the step-dad’s POV and that was just too much. I ended up finishing it, because I was curious to see what would happen with Aris’ illness, but I’m sorry I wasted my time.

At first the narrator bothered me, because he’d occasionally stumble or pause in strange ways/places, but after reading some of the reviews on GR, I’m convinced it was the poor writing in the book. Needless to say, I won’t be continuing with the series.

Rating: 1.0 out of 5

Stratham Dragons

one-star


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Review: First Contact by Kat Green

Posted October 11, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: First Contact by Kat GreenReviewer: Holly
First Contact by Kat Green, Kat de Falla
Narrator: Kate Tyler
Series: Haunts For Sale #1
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: August 11, 2014
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Length: 5 hours and 25 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
one-half-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

Sloane Osborne is a paranormal realtor in the business of selling haunted houses but, in truth, she’s only searching for one ghost. And her time is running out. It’s the 366th day after her fiancé’s death. Michael used to like putting things off for “a year and a day”—so tonight’s the night. Sloane will do anything to make contact with him before the clock strikes midnight. When she gets a call to check out a home in Waukesha, Wisconsin, it’s the last place she thinks Michael would contact her. Sloane is dead wrong.

I really liked the premise of this story. A paranormal real estate agent who checks to make sure haunted houses are safe to live in before she sells them? One who is looking for a chance to contact her dead fiance just one more time? I’m here for that. Unfortunately, it wasn’t well executed. I found this on the Audible Escape package. The narrator was okay. I liked some of the voices she used for the characters, but I don’t think she put a lot of emotion into the story. Things that should have been sad, or scary, came across as kind of flat. She was also very slow. I generally listen at 1.85x speed, but I ended up bumping this one to 2.10x speed.

Sloane Osborne was on her way to pick up her marriage license with fiance Michael when they got into a car accident and Michael was killed. He always joked that everything would happen in “A Year and a Day”. For the past year, she’s been working as a Paranormal Real Estate agent. She sells haunted houses, but first she makes sure they’re safe to live in (that the ghosts aren’t evil or angry). She’s also been searching for Michael’s ghost. It’s been exactly a year and a day since the accident, so Sloane is convinced she’ll be able to finally make contact with him tonight. She got a tip about a house in Wisconsin that’s up for sale, so that’s where she heads. It turns out the house is very haunted, and she’s able to make first contact with spirits..and Michael is one of them.

More often than not Sloane was TSTL (too stupid to live). Her dead fiance’s best friend, Jonah, is a cold case investigator with the FBI, and also a strong medium. She used to hunt ghosts with him until her fiance died and she retreated into herself. She called him once she made first contact with the spirits in a house in Wisconsin, because she suspected girls had been murdered there. He asked her to wait for him before venturing back into the house, or speaking to anyone about her suspicions. She thinks to herself, “I should wait..but I’m not going to.” She also thinks to herself several times that she’s in over her head, yet she still continues on her merry way. It was no surprise to me when she ended up trapped in a hole in the floor for her stupidity.

The villains were easily picked out from the first, and honestly they were both such dumb-asses I’m surprised they got away with anything as long as they did. The only reason I kept reading was because I was interested in the ghosts themselves. I was hoping we’d see more of their backgrounds and they’d be a bigger focus of the story. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. It mostly focused on Sloane and she bumbled her way into danger.

There were also a lot of inconsistencies in the story. Michael, the dead fiance, was a paragon of male worthiness and nothing could ever live up to his memory..except he sounded like a controlling asshole a lot of the time and she even thinks to herself at one point that things may not have worked with them long-term after all. Except, wait, he was the LOVE OF HER LIFE. She was a paranormal real estate agent and, according to her, the market was hot and a lot of people wanted to buy haunted houses. Yet she hadn’t made a single sale yet and was on the brink of starving and being homeless. Things like that really pulled me out of the story and kind of drove me crazy.

I did really like Jonah, however. He kind of made the story for me, though he spent more time off page than on. Although the premise is interesting, I don’t believe I’ll continue on with the series. Watching Sloane stumble around and make dumb decisions mostly just gave me a headache.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

Haunts for Sale

one-half-stars


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