Tag: Paranormal Romance

Review: Shadow Reaper by Christine Feehan

Posted October 12, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Shadow Reaper by Christine FeehanReviewer: Holly
Shadow Reaper (Shadow, #2) by Christine Feehan
Series: Shadow Riders #2
Also in this series: Shadow Reaper, Shadow Reaper
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 400
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three-stars

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Christine Feehan returns to her scorching-hot series starring a Chicago crime family that has built its empire in the shadows...

Billionaire playboy Ricco Ferraro knows no other life. Being a shadow rider is in his blood--but so is a haunting desperation stemming from the secrets of his dark past. His recklessness puts not only his life at risk, but also the future of his entire family. To save them all, he must find a woman who can meet his every desire with a heat all her own...

Just when Ricco has given up hope, he meets her--a mysterious woman whose shadow connects with his. She's someone looking for a safe haven from the danger that has stalked her over the last several months. In Ricco's embrace, she finds one. But the darkness in which they so often find sanctuary can also consume them...

Shadow Reaper is the second book in Feehan’s Shadow series, featuring the Ferraros, a Chicago family who are Shadow Riders – they’re able to slide and travel via shadows. They’re thought to be a crime/mafia family, but in truth they’re vigilantes. As Shadow Riders, the Ferraro brothers and sister can only mate/marry someone who can also ride the shadows, otherwise they won’t be able to produce shadow-riding children.

Ricco is one of the wilder brothers. He’s known as a playboy who races cars and often goes crazy partying. He’s into the art of Shibari – Japanese erotic bondage. After a terrible crash takes him out of commission for awhile, he reevaluates his life and decides to focus more on Shibari and finding a mate, and less on acting the playboy. When the perfect woman answers his ad for a rope model, Ricco figures it’s too good to be true, but he can’t stop himself from falling for her.

I enjoyed the first book more. This one was slower paced and didn’t hold my attention as much. I really like the Ferraro family, along with their neighborhood. I liked the heroine and her backstory, but the romance wasn’t as exciting. Nor was the overall story. I wanted to like it, but I was mostly just bored.

Although this one didn’t work as well as the first, I’m hopeful the next book will pick up.

3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: The Witch’s Quest by Michele Hauf

Posted October 9, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Witch’s Quest by Michele HaufReviewer: Tracy
The Witch's Quest by Hauf Michele
Series: The Saint-Pierres #9
Published by Harlequin
Publication Date: October 10th 2017
Genres: Paranormal Romance
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three-half-stars

The witch's redemption...

Kelyn Saint-Pierre always had a bit of a thing for Valor Hearst. But after he makes a harrowing sacrifice to save the tomboyish witch from a gruesome death, Kelyn's certain that any spark between them is gone forever.

Valor wishes she'd known about Kelyn's crush before she ruined everything. There may be a way she can repay her smoking-hot champion...but it won't be easy. Circling the globe on a dangerous mission that pits them against deadly magics and dark creatures, Kelyn and Valor are pushed scorchingly close together. But surrendering to passion may only further bind them in pain...

Valor is a witch and is trying to do a spell in an enchanted forest to make herself more lovable.  Unfortunately she’s caught by one of the enchanted trees and is slowly being sucked into the ground.  The only way to free her is to have someone in Faery push her out from the other side.  Too bad she doesn’t know anyone who can actually get into Faery.

Kelyn Saint-Pierre is part Faery but has never been able to get into Faery.   He would love nothing more but it’s not in the cards.  When he comes across Valor he wants to help her and the only way to do that is to sacrifice his wings to a demon who has agreed to help.

Once Valor is free she knows she has to get Kelyn’s wings back and goes about trying to find a spell that will open a portal to Faery for them.  Kelyn’s up for it and the two set off on a grand but scary adventure that brings to two closer together then either thought possible.

I really liked the premise of this book and it was set up nicely to start.  I instantly felt the connection between Valor and Kelyn and was rooting for them throughout the book.  The things they went through, for the most part, were pretty harrowing and I admired their determination.

There were a couple of parts in the book that I thought were superfluous but maybe that was just me.  I didn’t care for Kelyn’s attitude once they were in Faery and the fact that Valor forgave him so quickly once he apologized kind of bugged me.  I wanted him to grovel more because he’d been an ass.

Despite that I liked the book and thought it was a fun read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Bring the Heat by G.A. Aiken

Posted September 15, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Bring the Heat by G.A. AikenReviewer: Jen
Bring the Heat by G.A. Aiken
Series: Dragon Kin #9
Also in this series: Light My Fire, Dragon on Top, Bring the Heat
Published by Zebra
Publication Date: August 29th 2017
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 416
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four-stars

HE SAYS . . .I, Aidan the Divine, am . . . well, divine. My name was given to me by the Dragon Queen herself! I’m a delight! Cheerful. Charming. And a mighty warrior who is extremely handsome, with a very large and well-hidden hoard of gold. I am also royal-born, despite the fact that most in my family are horrendous beings who don’t deserve to live. And yet, Branwen the Awful—a low-born, no less—either tells me to shut up or, worse, ignores me completely.

SHE SAYS . . .I’ll admit, I ignore Aidan the Divine because it annoys him. A lot. But we have so much to do right now, I can’t worry about why he keeps staring at me, or why he always sits so close, or why he keeps looking at me like he’s thinking about kissing me. We have our nations to save and no time for such bloody foolishness . . . no matter how good Aidan looks or how long his spiked tail is. Because if we’re going to win this war before it destroys everything we love, we’ll have to face our enemies together, side by side and without distractions. But if we make it out alive, who knows what the future will hold . . .

My minute or so of lazy Googling didn’t give me a definitive answer, but this book feels like a partial conclusion (or at least a pivot point) in G.A. Aiken’s long running Dragon Kin series, since it resolves a couple conflicts in the series and checks in with tons of past characters. If you haven’t read the whole series, I’d argue you can still pick up the book and enjoy yourself, but I do think you’ll get more out of it if you’ve read at least a couple other books from the series. (You especially should read book 1 because that’s Annwyl’s book, and I love me some Annwyl!)

This time, the hero is Aidan the Divine, and the heroine is Branwen the Awful. If you’ve ever read a Dragon Kin book you know the names are totally ridiculous (and OMFG so hard to keep track of), but I do love the way the women are usually given brutal and powerful titles while the men often get the pretty and silly ones. In the grand tradition of the series, Branwen does indeed live up to her brutal name. She’s a tough, deadly military leader, but I really loved that she also has a lightness that some of the other heroines of the series don’t have. And Aidan is a cute match for her. He’s gorgeous and kind, and he is clearly smitten with Branwen even at the start of the book. He knows he has to wait patiently for Branwen to come around, though, and it showed how perfect a match he was for her.

But, this series isn’t really about relationship development. There’s no deep dive into characterization, no slow build up of tender feelings. All the books follow a similar formula, with lots of sex and lots of the woman being too busy kicking butt to realize that maybe she actually likes the guy attached to the penis she’s been enjoying, until she finally gets a clue and it’s the end. The appeal of this series for me is the way it’s so female-centric. The tone was set in book 1 with Annwyl, who is the baddest of all the badass warriors. (Seriously, she makes a major appearance in this book and she literally single handedly conquers hell. This lady ain’t messing around.) There’s been a lot of talk about female rage in fiction recently, and this series has that in spades. The women don’t get victimized, don’t get pushed around, don’t get dominated. They are the meanest, the strongest, and the smartest, and they rule the world. It is an incredibly satisfying fantasy, and I love to pick up a Dragon Kin book after I’ve read a few too many books about women getting held back, abused, slut shamed, and murdered. 

I think this book is one of my favorite installments in this series because I liked seeing the past characters and I enjoyed Branwen and Aidan. If you’ve read any of the others I think you might like it too. If you have read some and didn’t enjoy them, or if you don’t like raucous, funny, violent fairytales, you should probably move along.

Grade: 4 out of 5

 

four-stars


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Guest Review: How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn Sparks

Posted July 31, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days by Kerrelyn SparksReviewer: Jen
How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days (The Embraced, #1) by Kerrelyn Sparks
Series: The Embraced #1
Also in this series: So I Married a Sorcerer (The Embraced, #2)
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: March 7th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 396
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three-half-stars

Luciana grew up on the Isle of Moon, hidden away because of her magical powers. But when her father arrives, he offers her a choice: remain on the island or return with him and marry the Beast of Benwick in order to save their legacy—and her father's life.

Lord Leofric, the Beast of Benwick, has not been touched since he was a child. Born with the power to harness lightning, he is a danger to everyone he touches. When he meets his betrothed, he expects a loveless, lonely marriage...until he discovers she's vastly more powerful than he realized. But is she strong enough to withstand his touch?

If they can survive, their love will alter the future of the kingdom. But will their extraordinary powers cost them everything?

This book is somewhat inspired by Beauty and the Beast, though to be honest it’s only very loosely related. In this story, the man with the Beast moniker is Lord Leofric, Leo for short. Leo is one of The Embraced, people born with supernatural powers. Normally The Embraced are killed when they are born because the world fears them, but Leo escapes that fate because he’s part of the royal family and because he’s so dangerous that he’s hard to kill. He can harness the power of lightning, and one touch of his skin can kill (and has, many times). He uses his power to protect his people, but they all are terrified and basically shun him. Luciana is also Embraced, but she escaped death by being hidden away in a convent her entire life, thinking her family was dead. It turns out they’re not, though, and because of political machinations by the cruel king, the only way she can save her father is by marrying The Beast. Luciana could be killed if she reveals the truth of her story to Leo, but if they don’t work together they can’t stop the king’s evil plots.

If you like tortured heroes, Leo should appeal! He does have a few friends, but for the most part he lives in isolation. People literally turn away from him in disgust and fear, yet he soldiers on using his power to protect his people even though they think he’s the one causing danger instead of stopping it. Moreover, harnessing the lightning is excruciatingly painful, and he’s pushing his body to its limits by doing it because he wants to protect others, which is a hell of a position for him to be in. Perhaps most heartbreaking of all, he can’t touch. He can’t be hugged, can’t hold hands, can’t even get a pat on the head, because even through clothing his power will injure or kill. Luciana is the only person apart from a few friends who sees the good Leo does instead of believing the rumors. There’s one scene where bystanders once again misinterpret a situation and think Leo is behind something dangerous, but Luciana loudly and publicly defends him. That scene just made my heart melt. It was clearly the first time anyone had ever stood up for Leo before; I’m smiling just thinking about it. The sexual tension between them is great, too. As you can imagine, “no touching or you’ll die” is quite the conundrum in a romance! I won’t tell you the hows and whys, but I can assure you this book is sexy.

I liked Luciana a lot as well. Her power is that she can talk to the dead, which comes in handy when she’s trying to learn about her new life. She’s sweet and kind and patient, but she’s not a particularly deep character. Really, though, neither is Leo. He has a lot of pain, but I almost felt like it didn’t impact his character as much as one would expect. He has been very isolated, yet he still is perfectly socially adept, flirting with his bride-to-be, handling the management of his estates, working with his army, etc. I just didn’t see a lot of consequences to his isolation.

Luciana has to lie to Leo and everyone else to save her father, which is perfectly understandable. She obviously didn’t know Leo and would have been foolish to trust him quickly. However, I really wanted her to come clean sooner, simply because I wanted to see her and Leo’s relationship develop further. Leo basically figures it all out on his own (and I appreciate that he absolutely accepts why she’s lying and doesn’t act all butt hurt about it), but the actual conversation between the two is a long time coming. Combine the secrets with the draggy pace in some parts and the fairly limited contact Leo and Luciana have for part of the book and you have a romance that never goes quite as deep as I would have liked.

I am extremely interested in the world Sparks has created, and I am hoping that future books won’t need to do as much world building as this one, leaving more time for developing the characters and relationships.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Spellbinder by Thea Harrison

Posted July 26, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 7 Comments

Guest Review: Spellbinder by Thea HarrisonReviewer: Jen
Spellbinder by Thea Harrison
Series: Moonshadow Series
Published by Thea Harrison
Publication Date: July 18th 2017
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 428
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four-half-stars

From author Thea Harrison comes the latest story in the New York Times bestselling Moonshadow trilogy….

Kidnapped while on tour, musician Sidonie Martel is transported to the mystical land of Avalon. A human without magical ability, she is completely vulnerable to the deadly forces surrounding her.

When she defies her captors and refuses to share her music, an act of violent cruelty leaves her broken, her ability to play silenced, maybe forever. Her only hope is a whisper in the dark, gentle hands that offer healing, and a man who refuses to show her his face yet who offers advice she dare not ignore.

One of the most feared and powerful sorcerers in history, Morgan le Fae serves a Queen he despises, Isabeau of the Light Court. Once a famous bard and an advisor to kings, Morgan has been enslaved to Isabeau for hundreds of years, acting as enforcer and the commander of her deadly Hounds.

Sidonie’s music touches Morgan in places he had abandoned centuries ago, and her fiery spirit resurrects feelings he had believed long dead. For Sidonie, trapped in captivity, passion offers a comfort she cannot resist.

But Isabeau holds Morgan bound in magical chains that only Death can break. And in the court of a cruel, jealous Queen, the only thing that burns hotter than love is revenge…

*Spoiler alert: I can’t talk about this book without giving a little spoiler for some of Harrison’s earlier books, but the cover copy of this book gives the spoiler too so…just fair warning.

Morgan Le Fae is the hero of this book, which might stun those of you who read the other books where he’s a villain. This isn’t so much a story where Morgan redeems himself but a story where we finally get the full picture of Morgan’s situation. Turns out he’s magically enslaved to Isabeau, the Queen of the Light Fae, and he’s been forced to follow her orders to the letter for centuries. He’s been searching for an out the entire time, and when he finally gets a reprieve due to a poorly worded order from Isabeau, he’s hopeful he can find something to end his enslavement. However, he ends up putting it all on the line when a human musician he’s developed an attachment to gets kidnapped and turned over to Isabeau. Sidonie Martel is a genius musician, but when she’s brutalized by Isabeau, Morgan can’t look the other way. As he starts helping her, the two get closer, and both end up making decisions about how much they’re willing to risk for the other.

OMG Morgan. He is a total badass and an incomparable magician, and, finally, we get to see that he’s also an amazing person. He is entirely isolated from everyone by Isabeau’s machinations. Because of her orders and the fact that no one knows he’s enslaved, he’s seen as ruthless and scary, so naturally nobody wants anything to do with him, even at the Light Court. He’s spent centuries performing atrocities without being able to stop or even explain himself. Can you imagine what that would do to a person? He was so lonely and traumatized it made my heart hurt. The tenderness and genuine caring he shows Sidonie, though, reveals his true character, and it’s so clear why Sidonie falls in love.

While Morgan is really the heart of the story for me, Sidonie is also fantastic. She knows almost nothing about the Light Court or the Elder Races, so when she’s captured she’s in way over her head. She’s a quick learner, though, and with Morgan’s help she survives. In part because she has no prior knowledge, she’s the only one who isn’t afraid of Morgan and really listens to him, and it allows her to figure out what is happening and communicate with him in a way no one else has. I love it when both characters do everything in their power to protect the other one, and this book had that in spades. While Sidonie can’t do much for most of the book, she makes the tough call for Morgan in the end. I just ate it up.

Another thing I loved about the book was that Morgan isn’t the only complex character. A lovable character from the first book in the series is back, though he doesn’t always make such lovable choices here. Isabeau is a bit more complicated than just “cartoon evil queen” as well. I’m not saying I liked her, but it was interesting to understand how she too was kind of trapped by her enslavement of Morgan. Even the war between the Light and Dark Courts that makes up the central conflict of the series was cast in a new light. Innocent people like Morgan have gotten caught up in the war, and this book showed that most of the Light Fae are just regular citizens trying to live life as best they can. It makes for a rich and interesting world to read about. 

This book is pretty dark and angsty, which makes sense given the horror of Morgan’s situation and the cruelty of Isabeau. However, it did make it kind of heavy reading sometimes. I longed for some more lightness to counteract all the pain. Frankly, I was also pretty frustrated that the lovable character I mentioned earlier didn’t do more to help Morgan once he understood what was happening. Couldn’t he get some reinforcements or do more to help plan? I guess if this book has one lesson, it’s that trauma is messy, complicated, and long lasting, and people don’t always make the best choices in those circumstances.

I am totally torn about future books. On the one hand, I would love to see Morgan again, but on the other hand, I hope both the Dark and Light Fae just leave him the hell alone because he’s suffered enough for their war! I really, really loved reading this book. It was smart and moving and made me look at book 1 in the series in a whole new light.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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