Tag: Ann Aguirre

Joint Review: Strange Love by Ann Aguirre

Posted April 14, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Joint Review: Strange Love by Ann AguirreReviewer: Ames, Holly, and Rowena
Strange Love by Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 15, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 275
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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He's awkward. He's adorable. He's alien as hell.

Zylar of Kith Balak is a four-time loser in the annual Choosing. If he fails to find a nest guardian this time, he'll lose his chance to have a mate for all time. Desperation drives him to try a matching service but due to a freak solar flare and a severely malfunctioning ship AI, things go way off course. This 'human being' is not the Tiralan match he was looking for.

She's frazzled. She's fierce. She's from St. Louis.

Beryl Bowman's mother always said she'd never get married. She should have added a rider about the husband being human. Who would have ever thought that working at the Sunshine Angel daycare center would offer such interstellar prestige? She doesn't know what the hell's going on, but a new life awaits on Barath Colony, where she can have any alien bachelor she wants.

They agree to join the Choosing together, but love is about to get seriously strange.

Ames, Holly, and I are back with another joint review. Actually, I could have sworn we posted this last month but it’s nowhere to be found so maybe all of this clean air in California has me trippin’ but anyway, here we are again. It was Ames turn to choose our book of the month and she chose something a little different for us to read. Her choice was Strange Love by Ann Aguirre and it was my first alien romance.

Strange Love features Beryl Bowman, a human from St. Louis and Zylar of Kith Balak. Beryl was just minding her own business, cleaning up after a Ren Fare festival when a freaking alien abducts her and dog, Snaps. He takes her back to his home, an alien world where her and Snaps are implanted with a device that helps her understand what everyone is saying around her. Not only does she understand the aliens but Snaps can talk too!

Zylar was supposed to have picked up his intended but mistakes Beryl for his intended and because they can’t get back to Earth anymore, Beryl has to choose between staying with Zylar in this new place and trying her hand at the Alien Bachelor, which they call The Choosing, or she can go off on her own and try to survive in a strange place, on an even stranger planet. Things start heating up the longer Beryl is with Zylar. Who knew that she would fall head over heels in love with an alien.

Alright guys, what did you guys think?

Holly: This was a totally unexpected book from AA. She generally writes darker novels, but this was light and campy. I’ll be honest, I didn’t care for it at first. The whole “Alien Tinder/Mistaken Identity” was silly and pretty over the top. The Choosing got my attention, though. It was interesting watching Beryl and Kerr go through the challenges, and I thought Zylar was really sweet. Snaps (the dog) was pretty funny, too.

Ames: I’m glad I picked this one. From the moment Beryl was abducted and the translator was implanted I was cracking up at Snaps. AA definitely nailed how a dog would talk IMO. I liked Beryl’s character too. She had her inner freak outs about what she was going through but she practical at heart and that carries her through. Zylar was interesting. I liked how he wasn’t confident in himself and how Beryl helped him overcome his self-esteem issues. His freaking brother was the worst.

Holly: His brother was the worst. I didn’t like him at all.

I thought it was cute how Zylar struggled with his self-esteem and Beryl helped him. He was pretty adorable all the way around. Omg I cracked up when he kept calling her “Terrible One”.

Ames: Yes! Terrible One! And how he thought her smiles were scary!

Holly: And when she explains she’s showing she’s happy, not threatening anyone, and he’s like “Aww. Okay. That’s great. But maybe let’s not tell anyone about that…?” Haha.

Still, there were a lot of things that bugged me. It was pretty silly, which I wasn’t expecting. I didn’t like how Zylar’s family treated him, or the final resolution of the book. I guess I wanted something different from them.

Rowena: Like Holly, it took me a while to get into this one because it was silly and I didn’t really know what to expect from an alien romance but I’m glad that I stuck with it. I did enjoy getting to know Beryl, Zylar, and Snaps. I thought they were a lot of fun. I agree with you both about Zylar’s brother. What’s his name again? I wanted to push him off an alien cliff.

The ending was a weird one for me and though I can understand why we got that kind of ending, I wasn’t a real big fan. I thought Snaps was adorable. When he first started talking and seeing how excited he was, it had grinning like mad. I also loved how sure he was in Beryl. The way that he told Zylar that Beryl doesn’t get lost. She found Snaps. She found Zylar and they’re still found? I thought that was super sweet.

Holly: I thought Snaps was cute. How loyal he was. Such a good doggy.

Ryvken? That guy was a tool. I was glad to see how that played out, but I’m still irritated with the way the book ended.

Are you planning to read the next book?

Ames: I will read the next book. I liked the characters and the world-building. Holly had mentioned earlier this wasn’t AA’s typical style of writing but since its been a while since I’ve read AA, I didn’t recall enough to compare it to her past work. I do like my sci-fi romps so I really enjoyed this one. Although I agree with Wena over the ending – I was hoping for better for them.

What did you guys think of Helix, the AI? I think that’ll be interesting to see how that character develops. I will say this, the secondary characters were excellent. I liked Kurr and Helix. AND! Snaps tiny dirt babies. Seriously, Snaps was the star here. haha.

Holly: Ha! As soon as Snaps gained the ability to talk, I knew he’d be your favorite. Oh man, the dirt babies. I literally laughed out loud.

I’m curious to see how things develop with Helix, as well. I didn’t love how things happened with him, but I do want to read the next book. I agree that the secondary characters were good. I wonder if we’ll see more of Kurr in future books?

Rowena: I knew that you’d love Snaps too, Ames. It was hard not to since he was super adorable and super funny. When he first started talking, I immediately thought that it was exactly how I thought dogs thoughts would be. And the dirt babies!! Haha!

I really liked the growth in Zylar’s character. His insecurities made me want to kick some serious alien ass but I liked the way that Beryl was able to help him.

As much as I enjoyed Zylar, Beryl, and Snaps, like Holly, I thought a lot of things were silly and Zylar’s family pissed me off. I’m not sure that I would continue this series. I did like Helix and am curious about his character growth, but I think that I would actually just bug you guys to tell me about it then read it myself. I’ve never read an alien romance before and I don’t know, I guess I prefer my Sci-Fi stories to be a little darker, a little more serious. Am I the only one in that camp?

Holly: No, I’m with you. I generally prefer my SF to be darker. I did enjoy this story as a whole, but I’m not sure if I’ll continue. Maybe at some point in the future. Never say never, right?

I think I’m going to give this 3.25-3.5 out of 5.

Rowena: Yeah, same here. I might read it eventually, but I’m not in a rush to.

This one gets a 3.25 out of 5 from me.

Ames: I liked this one a teeny bit more than you two. I’m giving this one 3.75 out of 5. I would recommend.

Holly: You know what I forgot to mention? How effing annoying the “Butt Stuff” joke that ran throughout the book was. The first time, okay. The second…eh. But after that? So much no. Every time she woke up, or turned around “Well, nothing is in my butt”. WHY???

Rowena: LOL! Yeah, I didn’t even think it was that funny the first time she said it.

Holly: I didn’t laugh the first time, either, but I saw her joke. After that? Nah. Miss me with that.

Ames: I must have skipped over those. I didn’t find those funny either.

Ames: 3.75 out of 5
Holly: 3.25 out of 5
Rowena: 3.25 out of 5


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Throwback Thursday Review: Shady Lady by Ann Aguirre

Posted September 27, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Shady Lady by Ann AguirreReviewer: Tracy
Shady Lady (Corine Solomon, #3) by Ann Aguirre
Series: Corine Solomon #3
Also in this series: Agave Kiss (Corine Solomon, #5)
Publisher: Roc
Publication Date: May 12, 2011
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy!

This review was originally posted on April 5, 2011.

There is someone out to kill Corine Solomon and it’s none other than a drug lord. Due to events from a previous book Montoya has it out for Corine and he’s not gonna stop until the job is done. Corine has the protection of Kel aka God’s Hand, who has been sent to protect her from death. They manage to escape several horrifying events before they decide that they need to fight fire with fire and seek out Montoya’s rival drug lord, Escobar, for assistance.

Escobar sends Corine off on a “test” to fully check her abilities and if she passes he will offer to help her in bringing Montoya down. Kel and Corine head off into the jungles of Peru fighting exhaustion, dehydration, demons…you know, the regular. Lol During this time Corine becomes closer to Kel in a way that she never thought she would. She finally realizes after her and Kel go their separate ways that certain people come into your life for a little or a long while but they’re always there for a reason – we just have to figure out what the reason is.

Eventually Corine has to start to become someone doesn’t like all that much in order to do what she needs to do to stay alive, and how will these events effect her after all is said and done.

This was yet another wonderful addition to the Corine Solomon series. I just love Ms. Aguirre’s writing and the way she slowly ends up telling the reader about all of the different people in Corine’s life from the previous books but not in the way that you would expect. It’s all part of the story and the happenings in this book but I just love the way she does it. This story took a little longer for me to get into than the previous books but after about the 3rd chapter I was completely sucked in. I loved that the story wasn’t afraid to take Corine’s life places that you never would have thought they’d go. With Kel, with Shannon and with Jesse – it was both exciting and heartwrenching.

If you haven’t started this series yet I would recommend that you pick up book 1 and start reading – darned good books, all.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Corine Solomon


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Review: The Leopard King by Ann Aguirre

Posted August 28, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Leopard King by Ann AguirreReviewer: Holly
The Leopard King (Ars Numina, #1) by Ann Aguirre
Series: Ars Numina #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 28th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 271
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Series Rating: four-stars

Proud. Imperious. Impassioned.

Until three years ago, those words applied to Dominic Asher, the leader of Ash Valley. His family has ruled the feline branch of the Animari for hundreds of years, guiding the pride through perilous times. Unspeakable loss drove him into seclusion, a feral beast nobody can tame. Now he’s wrecked, a leopard king in exile, and he wants nothing more than to die.

Fierce. Loyal. Determined.

Fortunately for Dom, those words still apply to Pru Bristow, his dead mate’s best friend. She’s had her heart broken too, but she never quits. With the conclave approaching, alliances with the Pine Ridge pack and Burnt Amber clans on the verge of collapse, she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to drag their leader back, before his second can start a war.

At best theirs seems like a desperate alliance, but when their mate bond turns hot and fierce, there’s no end to the questions and the doubts. Neither of them expects to fall in love. But sometimes people don’t know what they’re looking for until they find it.

The Leopard King is the first book in Ann Aguirre’s Ars Numina series. Ahh, the angst! The first few chapters of this book were Intense (with a capital I). It lightened up some after that, but overall this was a pretty dark read. I really enjoyed the way the romance and the story arc progressed.

Dominic Asher was the leader of the Ash Valley shifters until his wife was murdered. For the past three years he’s been hiding away in a mountain retreat, slowing wasting away. When Pru, his dead wife’s best friend, shows up and says he needs to return to the pack, he wants nothing to do with her or his place as leader. Pru is a Latent (meaning she can’t Shift), so Dom tells her he won’t return until she can Shift and go back as his mate. Something he knows will never happen.

Pru spent years trying to force the change. The best way is through some kind of strong emotion, so she’s tried everything from slitting her wrists to jumping off buildings to make it happen. She’d given up years ago, but for Dom and the good of the pack she’s willing to try again.

Dom didn’t expect to have such a visceral reaction to Pru hurting herself. Nor did he realize the depth of her inner strength or her stubbornness. It isn’t long before her attempts to Shift firmly pull him back into the land of the living.

Pru really made this book for me. Dom was great, don’t get me wrong, but I adored Pru. She was calm and level-headed under pressure, fierce and strong when she needed to be, and stubborn enough to get any job done. There were a few times I got frustrated with her for rushing into things without thinking them over, but overall she was pretty awesome.

Dom’s anger and grief over hist lost mate was heartbreaking and visceral. Those early chapters just slayed me. His slow transition back into the land of the living with Pru’s help was fabulous to read about. I’m telling you, Aguirre really knows how to hit those emotional high notes.

The action lacked a little something. I’m not sure what. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the action scenes, exactly, just that I felt like something was missing from them. It was almost like they were glossed over in some ways, which lessened their impact on me as a reader. Aside from that, I really enjoyed the way the story progressed and all the secondary characters. I’m really looking forward to starting the next book.

Danger, intrigue, heartbreak, healing and love….The Leopard King has it all.

4.25 out of 5


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Review: The Shape of My Heart by Ann Aguirre

Posted January 23, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Shape of My Heart by Ann AguirreReviewer: Holly
The Shape of My Heart by Ann Aguirre
Series: Apartment 2B #3
Also in this series: I Want It That Way, As Long As You Love Me
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: December 1st 2014
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 384
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Series Rating: four-stars

Some people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school—only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney's social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she's made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate, Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore. 
Max knows about feeling lost—he's been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it's time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney's the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything…. 
It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that's ever been broken, there's another that can make it complete.

Courtney and Max made out once or twice at various parties, but it didn’t go any farther than that. Which is good, since they end up roommates. When Max is called home to attend a funeral, he can’t face it alone and asks Courtney – who has become one of his best friends –  to go with him.

Courtney has no problem helping Max out, especially since she’s never seen him so tense. Most people see Max as nothing more than a motorcycle-riding bad boy, but she knows he has hidden depth. Neither is prepared for how close they get during their trip, or how much their attraction for one another grows.

I love Max. I just need to put that out there right up front. He was such an awesome guy. He grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, but he did his best to pull himself out a bad situation. He was determined to make something of himself, and he wasn’t afraid to put himself out there. I wanted to wrap him up and put him in my pocket I loved him so much.

Courtney was also a great character. Her parents are very wealthy and she grew up with a lot of money, but she didn’t look at their money as hers. Yes, they were paying her way in college, but she didn’t consider their achievements her own. That was a big deal when it came to her mess up with Max. She didn’t tell him how wealthy her parents were, so he was blindsided when they went to visit for the first time. He felt, justifiably, angry that she’d kept something so huge from him. I might not have been able to forgive her for making him feel so bad about himself, if not for the fact that she just didn’t see their wealth as her own. Yes, they made money. No, that didn’t reflect on her at all.

Her views were a little ..let’s say sheltered, but Max was quick to point out what a princess she was being. And she was quick to accept responsibility for the way she was acting and to try to change her behavior. She was going to prove to Max she was worthy of him, which I thought was great considering she could have been a spoiled rich girl instead, trying to force him to come to her.

Her sorrow over the loss of her high school boyfriend, and her subsequent addiction to pain killers, was really well done. I actually felt her sorrow, and I thought her stint in rehab really shaped the person she became and the choices she made in her relationship with Max. She really grew over the course of the novel, and I ended up with a lot of respect for her.

Max is the reason I loved the book, though. He was a little self-conscious and hesitant about his feelings for Courtney at first, but once he was in, he was all in. He didn’t try to make her work for it, or hide what they had. He also didn’t let her get away with anything. When she was unsure about their relationship, he reassured her. When she pulled back or tried to use humor to cover her feelings, he called out. Max also did some growing over the course of the novel, but he had less to do in general. He was pretty darn perfect right from the start, to be honest. I just adored him.

The secondary characters were all wonderfully drawn. We saw the original roommates and the couples from previous books, plus a few new friends they made along the way. Max’s family made an appearance, and so did Courtney’s. Each added flavor to the story, rather than detracting from the main plot and characters.

Although there were times I wanted to beat some sense into Courtney, I can’t deny I was emotionally sucked in from beginning to end. I loved the two of them separately, and I really loved them together. I laughed, I cried, I wanted to scream in frustration and joy – this was a stellar read all the way around.

4.5 out of 5


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Review: As Long As You Love Me by Ann Aguirre

Posted November 20, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: As Long As You Love Me by Ann AguirreReviewer: Holly
As Long As You Love Me by Ann Aguirre
Series: Apartment 2B #2
Also in this series: I Want It That Way, The Shape of My Heart
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: October 1st 2014
Genres: Fiction, New Adult
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

Most people dream about getting out of Sharon, Nebraska, but after three years away, Lauren Barrett is coming home. She has her reasons—missing her family, losing her college scholarship. But then there's the reason Lauren can't admit to anyone: Rob Conrad, her best friend's older brother. 
Football prowess and jaw-dropping good looks made Rob a star in high school. Out in the real world, his job and his relationships are going nowhere. He's the guy who women love and leave, not the one who makes them think of forever—until Lauren comes back to town, bringing old feelings and new dreams with her. 
Because the only thing more important than figuring out where you truly belong is finding the person you were meant to be with.

Rob isn’t the guy you see just reliving his glory days from high school, but no one really expected much out of him and he hasn’t really gone far. He didn’t go to college, he’s still working construction with his dad, and he has no plans to secretly go off to college or get a higher education. He is really good with his hands and excels at carpentry, and someday he’d like to do that full time.

Lauren struggles with social anxiety, which has only gotten worse since she went away to college. In order to deal with the overwhelming panic she felt being around so many strangers, she started drinking pretty heavily. When she realized she was starting to like being drunk a little too much and her anxiety wasn’t lessening at all, she deliberately flunked out of college so she could go home. She’s been in love with Rob most of her life, but she didn’t expect him to see her as anything but his kid sister’s best friend. Especially since he has a girlfriend when she gets back.

As they spend time together, working on his house and teaching her to drive, Rob realizes there’s more to Lauren than he ever thought. When he’s offered the chance of a lifetime, Lauren breaks it off. She knows she won’t be able to deal with his new life with her anxiety, but she doesn’t want him to give it up for her.

It was interesting to see a pretty-boy hero who isn’t very smart. He isn’t dumb, he definitely has common sense, but he isn’t book smart.He’s not very confident and kind of has low self-esteem.  I think too often we see the dumb jock from high school totally redeemed as this super smart guy who was just misunderstood. My heart hurt for him, because he wasn’t so dumb that he didn’t understand all the snide remarks and put-downs he overheard through the years.

Lauren’s “ultimate sacrifice” rankled, because I hate it when a character makes decisions for others, but it was hard to be angry at her when she clearly had a mental health problem. Her emotional and mental growth through the book was one of the better parts for me. She realized she couldn’t continue to live her life alone and afraid, and she chooses to do something to improve herself.

The side-plot featuring Rob’s ex-girlfriend was also well done. I really enjoyed the secondary characters and the small-town setting.

This book was surprising in its emotional depth and character development. Though it has some flaws, I was pulled in from page one.

4 out of 5 


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