Tag: Paranormal Romance

Guest Review: Otherworld Renegade by Jane Godman

Posted March 30, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Otherworld Renegade by Jane GodmanReviewer: Jen
Otherworld Renegade by Jane Godman
Series: Otherworld Series #2
Also in this series: Otherworld Challenger
Published by Harlequin, Harlequin Nocturne
Publication Date: May 1st, 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 304
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four-stars

Claiming her felt like his destiny…but could prove to be his ultimate undoing.

Desperate to flee a horrific arranged marriage, Princess Tanzi turned to the only man who could help. Lorcan Malone, infamous necromancer, had vowed to come to her aid whenever she needed him. And even as they traveled from the mortal world into the fantastical Otherworld, Tanzi knew her true need ran deeper than just a rescue.

She was his enemy’s daughter. A renegade like Lorcan had no business craving a Fae princess, one intended for a greater calling. Yet he was powerless to resist the pull to do more than protect Tanzi…

Back to the Otherworld and my favorite book in the series! As I mentioned in my review of book 1, things get more exciting in book 2. We met Lorcan in Otherworld Protector, but here we get to know him even better. He’s a friend of Cal’s and a powerful necromancer in his own right. He’s a comedian who can always lighten the mood, but of course it hides the fact that he’s tortured and can never love anyone. In the big final battle in book 1, Lorcan saved Tanzi Moncoya, the daughter of the evil Faerie King. Tanzi stayed behind after her father escaped and started participating in the new reconstruction government Cal and Stella were organizing, but when her father arranges a truly despicable marriage for her, she knows she has to run. Unsure about who to trust, she runs to the human world and to Lorcan, hoping he’ll save her again. When it becomes clear she can’t hide, Lorcan agrees to help her escape to the one place her father could never reach her. But will either of them be able to let go once they get there?

My favorite part of the book was Tanzi. She and her sister Vashti were groomed their entire lives to serve Moncoya. Both trained with the Valkyries and are brutal fighters, and Moncoya used them as propaganda tools to intimidate and awe his enemies. Both girls also knew that some day they’d be expected to marry to further their father’s ambitions. Moncoya was a cruel and love-less father, but until he left they didn’t realize the scope of his evil activities. At the start of the book, Tanzi feels torn because he’s still her dad, but the marriage he arranges finally lifts the veil from her eyes, and she understands he is just plain a bad guy. Throughout the book she learns even more about the truly awful things her dad has done, and she has to come to terms with the role she played in his power, even if it was largely inadvertent. Even though she’s a trained warrior, she’s mostly lived a sheltered life, and it was nice to see her take control of her own destiny and have new experiences. I found her story very compelling. I really liked Lorcan and Tanzi together, too. Lorcan is patient and thoughtful, especially once he recognizes Tanzi’s life wasn’t what he thought. Seeing them come together, despite the fact that they both knew it was probably not a good idea, was sweet. Lorcan is also really committed to helping Tanzi on her quest, and their dangerous journey was exciting and gave a lot of time for them to fall in love.

Annoyingly, there’s a secret Lorcan keeps from Tanzi throughout the book, and it was kind of silly. First, the secret isn’t even that big a deal, and I don’t know why Lorcan thought Tanzi couldn’t handle it. Second, instead of having a conversation about it Tanzi pushes Lorcan away and of course ends up in danger. It was contrived and frustrating. In my review for book 1, I had mentioned that this felt like the kitchen-sink of mythology, mixing tons of different myths, stories, and traditions, and that continued here. The problem is, these are category romances, so there’s just not the page space to go too deep. Consequently, it felt like everything was painted with big broad strokes (both characters and the world) instead of finely wrought details. It’s maybe a little too ambitious to take on in a shorter book, even a trilogy.

But still, I am having such a good time reading these books! They aren’t perfect, but boy are they fun. They hit the right notes of adventure/paranormal/fantasy/romance for me, and I love the premise and the characters.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars

Guest Review: Otherworld Protector by Jane Godman

Posted March 29, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Otherworld Protector by Jane GodmanReviewer: Jen
Otherworld Protector by Jane Godman
Series: Otherworld #1
Published by Harlequin Nocturne
Publication Date: December 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 293
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three-stars

When Stella Fallon journeys to Spain for a dream job, she never suspects that a cataclysmic confrontation is looming. Or that she is the last in an ancient line of dark sorcerers. For her new employer--an electronics billionaire--is actually a Faerie King desperate to harness Stella's powers so he can rule the Otherworld.
The only one who can protect Stella is a man she once thought her guardian angel. Cal becomes human, but his centuries-old secret could destroy her trust. Still, the pair cannot deny their white-hot attraction as they seek refuge in a cave to prepare for a battle of epic magnitude...

The set up: The Otherworld is an alternate world that exists alongside the world we all know. (The mechanics aren’t entirely clear, nor are they very important!) Who lives in Otherworld? Magical and fantasy creatures, like faeries, vampires, werewolves, sorcerers, etc. The Otherworld is at a crisis moment, though, and the evil Faerie King is trying to take over. He is also making evil inroads to the human world, and he needs to be stopped.

This book focuses on Stella Fallon, a video game designer. She moves to Spain to do an internship at a big game company owned by the mysterious Ezra Moncoya. She brings with her someone she likes to think of as her “protector”, a mysterious figure who literally hangs around her peripheral vision (she can sense him but never quite see him full on) and has been saving her from catastrophe her entire life. When it’s clear Moncoya wants Stella for more than just her programming skills, her mysterious protector intercedes and finally shows himself to be Cal, a sorcerer sent to guard her. Cal tells her that she’s actually a powerful necromancer and the key to saving the Otherworld. As Cal and Stella grow closer, she must learn to control her powers and figure out what role she and Cal must play in the coming confrontation.

I loved the premise of this book. I am always up for the “person thinks they’re ordinary but really they’re the key to saving the world” storyline. It is great to see Stella learn about her powers and about the world she never knew existed. I was fascinated by the Otherworld, too. It mixes so many different fantasy concepts. At times that does get a little bit like the kitchen-sink of mythology (Christian-like angels, necromancers, Valkyries, vampires, etc all in the same book?), but it’s still great fun. I also enjoyed Cal and Stella together. The sex was steamy, and I liked the way Cal was hesitant to get involved with Stella but helpless to avoid her pull.

Unfortunately, this book suffered from a little too much info dump. This is a complicated world, probably too complicated for the length of the books, and this first book in particular feels a bit plodding sometimes because of all the information. It’s also kind of hard to escape the fact that it’s a little creepy for Cal and Stella to fall in love. Cal has been watching Stella since she was a child, but suddenly he’s thinking about banging her. You really can’t think too hard about that part or it’s kind of skeezy! While there was a lot of info dumping about the world, there wasn’t much about Stella’s powers, and that disappointed me. She is supposedly so powerful, but we don’t see a ton of her work. She learns quickly and with few hurdles, and she has little trouble adjusting to the whole situation. I thought there were some major missed opportunities for character development there.

Really, this book is simply ok. However, the series gets much better in books 2 and 3, so I am very happy I kept reading. Because there’s so much world building in this book, I can’t recommend skipping it. All I can say is that if this premise interests you, consider reading Otherworld Protector so you can move on to books 2 and 3 (reviews to come).

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars

Guest Review: Immortal Defender by Lisa Hendrix

Posted October 27, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Immortal Defender by Lisa HendrixReviewer: Tracy
Immortal Defender by Lisa Hendrix
Series: Immortal Brotherhood #4
Published by Berkley, InterMix
Publication Date: October 18th 2016
Genres: Medieval, Magic, Paranormal
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three-half-stars

Return to the realm of the Immortal Brotherhood with a new paranormal romantic adventure featuring a crew of Viking warriors condemned to live out eternity as were-creatures...

In her Defender's strong arms, she has no defense...

Part of a band of Viking warriors cursed by an evil sorceress, Torvald has searched for years for a magic that can free him from his fate—to live forever as a were-creature, a man by night, a stallion by day. While studying with the alchemist to Queen Elizabeth, Torvald meets the lovely widow Josian Delamere and hopes she might be the one woman who can save him.

Unwilling to give up the independence of her widowhood, Josian expects to become merely lovers, but Torvald's tender seductions make her yearn for more. Just as she’s poised to surrender her heart, a hidden enemy reveals Torvald’s secret to her—and she flees the dark magic that surrounds him, in fear for her very soul.

The proud warrior can win any battle, but he cannot surmount the pain of losing Josian. Yet when her life is threatened, he will risk it all to come to the defense of the one woman who means more to him than his own salvation...

Torvald is a Viking warrior who was cursed long ago, alone with many others, to live a life of half man, half stallion.  By day he is man but when the sun sets he turns into a white stallion.

He is in London staying with a friend when he meets Josian Delamere.  They find a mutual desire in each other and some months later he heads to her home and they begin a tryst.  Unfortunately, not long after they begin Josian comes across Torvald and his friend Ari at sunset and sees Torvald turn into a stallion and Ari turn from a raven to a man.  She leaves her home and runs to her family’s estate.

Her brother-in-law is losing his mind and he decides to head to London to spout his ravings about the queen and his disloyalty to her.  Of course if one of the family is disloyal that means the entire family is disloyal as well, right?  So the entire family gets hauled off to the Tower – including Josian as she was staying with them.

Torvald feels responsible for her being there but he also finds himself falling for her. He works to get her freed from the Tower but once he does Josian is determined to find the papers that will prove the rest of her family is innocent of any wrong-doing and is loyal to the crown.  Torvald, Ari and two other cursed Vikings all help Josian in her quest and while they are together Josian finds herself falling in love with Torvald.  Could she be the woman who could break his curse?

I have to say I waited a darned long time for this fourth book in the Immortal Brotherhood series.  It’s been five years since book 3 was released but I really liked the series back then so thought I’d give this one a shot.  It was hard to remember all of the characters but I soon got into the story.  The first part of the book was slow for me.  I picked it up and put it down several times until I finally got into it – so be warned.

Torvald was a great hero.  He was strong and caring, conscientious and protective.  When Josian first sees Torvald changing she thinks he’s a demon and continues with her disdain through a goodly portion of the book.  I didn’t care for that but it didn’t sway Torvald or his feelings toward her.  He just did his best to help – not matter how Josian felt about him personally.

Josian was a bit much to take at some points in the book.  It was hard for her to deal with the whole changing thing but once she saw how her cousin dealt easily with the changes she opened herself to hearing what the men really were.  Imho that took too long into the story as I would have loved to have seen Torvald and Josian together for longer but that didn’t happen.

Overall it was a good story and definitely was interesting once Josian and her family were arrested.  I will definitely be reading the next in this series as I like the concept so much.  Hopefully we won’t have to wait another five years. 😉

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

Guest Review: Vikings Untamed by Kate Pearce, Anne Marsh, Crystal Jordan, Zoe York, Holley Trent, Dayna Hart & Sela Carsen

Posted November 16, 2015 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Vikings Untamed by Kate Pearce, Anne Marsh, Crystal Jordan, Zoe York, Holley Trent, Dayna Hart & Sela CarsenReviewer: Tracy
Vikings Untamed by Kate Pearce, Anne Marsh, Crystal Jordan, Zoe York, Holley Trent, Dayna Hart, Sela Carsen
Series: Not Your Mother's Vikings #2
Published by Vikings Unleashed Collective
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance, Paranormal
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four-stars

Hide your virgins...AGAIN! The original Bad Boys are BACK and they're hotter than ever!

These are not your mother's Vikings. Seven biker, shifter, sci-fi and paranormal Viking erotic romances: modern, sexy versions of the original alpha male bad boy heroes.

 

Viking Claimed by Kate Pearce

Awakening from four thousand years encased in ice in an alien world is not how Viking warrior Aki Bloodaxe imagined his life would be. His twin Einarr is his only contact with his old world. Can Aki come to terms with his new existence, find bonded mates to help him survive, and learn that the power of love is beyond the limits of time?

Aki just wants to go home! He woke up after being frozen for four thousand years and with everything he once knew gone except for his twin brother who was also frozen. He is now on a different planet and he doesn’t like it too much at all. He’s frustrated with the sounds and sights of the big city and wants peace. He finds a bit of that peace when he meets Elli. He wants nothing more than to take her to bed but he finds there’s much more to it than simply telling a woman that you want her.

When Aki and his brother get a call to visit the Oracle he decides that he will ask the Oracle if Elli is his mate. Things have a way of happening and instead of a smooth trip to the Oracle Aki, his twin, Elli and many others find themselves shot out of the sky and running for their lives. Aki ends up finding that he has not one but two mates but he has to make sure that they all stay together, no matter what the Oracle says.

This was a very cute book. Aki was what you would have thought of as a typical Viking – kind of a caveman. Lol He was sweet, however, and I enjoyed his story – along with Elli’s and their other mates.

Bound by the Viking by Anne Marsh

Being a werewolf’s mate sucks, but Bera doesn’t have a choice–until a big, brutish, and thoroughly pissed-off Viking crashes into her cave and rescues her. He may be hot and their chemistry off-the-charts good, but she’s done with domination games and alpha males.

Colden isn’t a nice guy–and he likes it that way. His rules are simple. Hit hard, fight mean, and defend what’s his. But when the Viking berserker rescues a sexy little werewolf and her pack names Colden as her new mate, the rules change. She wants to bargain for her freedom. He wants to keep her. Forever.

Bera was going about her life a year ago when she was bitten by a werewolf, taken to Greenland and then regularly beaten. Her “mate” even offered her up to a Viking at one point – luckily he declined. When he shows up in the caves that the werewolves are staying Bera recognizes him immediately and thinks that maybe he can help her escape.

Colden was offered Bera’s “services” and he declined. That didn’t mean that he didn’t want her but he’s not into sharing. When he finds her getting beaten he beats down on her mate and then claims her for himself. Bera doesn’t understand at the time that Colen is serious and he’s not about to help her escape if it means he’ll lose her as well.

This was a decent story but I definitely felt like I was coming into a story that was already in play. This short story had good elements to it but I really didn’t see it as a stand-alone story. Unfortunately that took a bit of the enjoyment out of it even though I really liked both Bera and Colden.

Viking Desire by Crystal Jordan

Viking god of thunder and bear-shifter Thor has been married to earth goddess Sif for millennia, but tragedy and betrayal tore them apart long ago. Now husband and wife in name only, they avoid each other as often as possible.

Too bad they’re still in love–though they’d never admit it.

But ancient prophecies are beginning to turn against them, leaving them no more room for misgivings. The apocalypse is coming, and unless they work together, they don’t stand a chance against their enemies.

Can they learn to trust again, or will the end of the world consume them both?

Sif and Thor have been married for thousands of years. They were once very much in love but they started living separate lives after Loki announced at one point that he had slept with Sif. Thor can’t manage to stay away from Sif altogether, however, and is in the same location when Giants invade and attack Sif. Thor is runs to save her but Sif saves herself. When they band together to try and figure out Ragnarök, the apocalypse where it is foretold that Thor will die, they learn some interesting facts about each other that have them coming back together.

I really liked this story in that I love Thor and seeing him with Sif was perfect. I liked how the author made it about them getting back together and learning truths from each other – not just sex. I’d definitely be interested to read more in this series.

A Viking’s Bride by Zoe York

When Aldric Gunter shows up and offers Navena Johnson an easy way off the prison planet she’s stuck on, the answer should be an easy yes. But when the next thing she needs to say is “I do”, the choice gets more complicated, because the Viking warrior wants a high price for the marriage of convenience–he wants her heart.

Aldric had known Navena for two years and had been in love with her almost the entire time. He loved sparring with her but she didn’t live on his world and they never spent a long time together – with long times in between. When Aldric finds out that she is on a prison planet he starts calling in favors to try and get her out.

Aldric manages to get her off but the only way to do it was to buy her as a bride. They’re now married and Navena’s pissed. She’s even more unhappy when she finds out the Federal government got her crew out of prison but left her there. They end up spending time in space together and falling in love but soon the people that Aldric called favors from are coming to get favors of their own.

Aldric and Navena’s story was a cute one…until it got weird. The romance itself was good but this was obviously part of a larger story arc and it was obvious the author was trying to get the reader hooked by not answering questions and creating scenarios that are just too strange and can’t be explained right then. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that at all. We’re never told why the federal government didn’t pick up Navena which I found really frustrating. Did they think she was dead? Did they think it was a good way to get rid of her? IDK but that drove me batty – the not knowing. While I found the story interesting I can’t say I was interested enough to read more in the future.

Viking’s Pride by Holley Trent

When Will Valle returns to the Viking community of Norseton, he not only offers black sheep Erin Petersen the possibility of a exciting job in spite of her weak psychic gifts, but a chance to explore the world outside the isolated community. In the midst of the sexual awakening her brooding geek ignites, Erin learns that her “weirdness” might exist for a sinister reason. She’s prepared to confront it with Will’s help, but the revelations they uncover might shake the Afótama clan to its core.

Will knows that Erin is his mate and will do anything to make her see that. They grew up on the same street so he uses that link to take her out so that she can get to know him. When they finally do mate Will is confused about Erin’s lack of psychic ability. When they think about it they find that maybe she needs some hard truths from her parents – if they are her parents at all.

While I found this story interesting it dragged a little bit for me. I liked Will and Erin and I definitely liked them together so that was a plus. For such a short story they spent a long time getting to know each other which was good but didn’t really move the story that far along and then when the big conflict came at the end it almost felt rushed. I just wanted a more balanced story, I guess. What I got was interesting, however, so I may read more in the series in the future.

The Wild Fen by Dayna Hart

Magic binds Fen to protect Thora, the very sexy daughter of a god who has no idea who her father is or the danger she’s in. Magic does not account for how damned much he wants her in his bed–or anywhere else he can have her.

Thora absolutely should not get involved with her boss’s brother. But when he’s assigned as her bodyguard, she can’t avoid–or resist–him. Trusting him isn’t part of the bargain.

But when she comes into her powers, trusting him might be the only way to save them both.

It’s 1938 and Thora works for Hela and together they run a male revue called Les Belles Folies. Thora interviews and auditions dancers and when one named Fen walks in she’s hooked in many, many ways. She soon finds out that Fen is Hela’s brother but that doesn’t stop them from basically moving in together when Hela is away. Thora is falling for Fen but she’s been hurt by men before and has serious trust issues. When she finds out that Fen liked to her about her father and her heritage she may end up throwing away the best thing to ever happen to her.

I found this story to be very sweet. There was a lot of sex, sure, but the way that Ms. Hart Thora and Fen together was very touching and I loved it. The end was a bit rushed but this was still one of my favorites of the book.

A Most Wanted Viking by Sela Carsen

A spy and a werewolf walk into a firefight…

Andrew Wyatt thinks all he has to do is bring a scientist back into the fold. He doesn’t count on a sizzling hot alien wolf shifter getting in his way, and getting under his skin.

The last thing Ule tärEinar needs is a tall blond spy interfering with her life. She may not trust Andrew, but that doesn’t stop the sparks from flying around them.

Once they do learn to trust, they’ll need each other to survive an invasion that could draw their two allied cultures into a war neither can afford.

Andrew is a spy and is charged with kidnapping a scientist and bringing her back to his superiors. He doesn’t count on getting shot at by aliens and then ending up in a werewolf compound falling in love with a female werewolf. He finds that maybe his priorities have been a bit screwed up in the past but he’ll soon rectify that.

This definitely had an other-worldly vibe to it. In this world the earth had been at war with an alien race and had been helped by two other alien races to win. Having aliens walk the streets of a city was completely common. Andrew ends up with Ule – an alien werewolf type being – and finds out that she’s his mate. He has a lot of explaining to do and figuring out what means more to him in his life. Good story – a little more world-building might have been nice but I liked what the author showed us. The romance was sweet and I loved Andrew’s turn around in the end.

The only issue that I had with this story is that I couldn’t find the correlation between it and Vikings but it was still good.

In the end I found good things about all of the Viking stories in this book. It was entertaining and had both action and humor in it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

Guest Review: Medium Well by Meg Benjamin

Posted April 24, 2013 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Medium Well by Meg BenjaminReviewer: Tracy
Medium Well by Meg Benjamin
Series: Ramos Family Medium Trilogy #1
Published by InterMix
Publication Date: February 2, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal
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three-half-stars

Danny Ramos has always had a gift when it comes to selling houses; it’s as if the homes talk to him. When his jealous boss, Araceli, assigns him to an old and neglected carriage house, he discovers that perhaps his abilities are more than simple intuition. Danny sees and feels the history of the house and the bloody murder that happened there while Biddy, his assistant, feels nothing. If Danny’s going to sell this house, prove to his boss that he isn’t crazy, save his job, and get the girl, he’s going to need all the help he can find, especially when the demon inhabiting the house possesses a client. Lucky for Danny, his sixth sense runs in the family.

Danny Ramos is a real estate agent who is put in charge of selling a carriage house in a historic district of San Antonio, Texas. He’s not thrilled that he gets to sell JUST the carriage house when his boss is selling the actual house but he’ll do his best.

Danny and his awkward assistant, Biddy, head off to show the house to a potential client and it’s the first time they get to see the property. To say its in horrible condition is putting it mildly. The place is a nightmare mess and on top of that Danny starts seeing things – like blood all over the kitchen. Fortunately for him it’s not real but does that mean he’s losing his mind? Biddy feels like the place is freezing, but no one sees the blood but him.

After going to bed one night and being astral projected into the carriage house and seeing ghosts he decides to fess up about what’s happening to both Biddy and his mother whose family has had mediums in it for years. The three of them discover that the house not only has ghosts but so much more. Trying to figure out how to put the boss off from trying to sell the place, keeping his job and also figuring out if he can get rid of the evil spirit that’s inhabiting the carriage house makes for some stressful times.

During all of this Danny sees a different side of Biddy than he’d seen previously. He finds out she sings in a band as well as plays the fiddle. While he’s surprised he also realizes that this is the true Biddy and she’s only at the real estate office to make her sister happy. Danny can’t keep his mind off of Biddy but every love story has its problems.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened this book. It’s not my normal kind of read but I was intrigued enough by the blurb to open it up. I have to admit that it was a bit…odd for the first part of the book – til about 40% in. Then the ghost story got more interesting, Danny and Biddy’s romance took off and I definitely wanted to see what happened in the end.

Danny was a character that I got good and bad vibes from. At some points he just seemed extremely shallow but then he seemed to come around the more time he spent with Biddy who was very down to earth. I liked how he was with his family but there were times that I wanted to slap him in the back of his head for some of the things he said to Biddy. Lol Especially since Biddy was so great. I loved the way the author described Biddy and her band. I could totally hear their music in my head as well as the excitement that their audiences were feeling – it was pretty cool.

My issues with the book included the fact that the ghost story was a bit convoluted in the end. I understood it perfectly but then the author felt that it needed to be explained to me yet again and that didn’t set well with me. I think the author should have had more confidence in her readers to understand. Also, in the blurb it talks about Danny having a gift of almost having the houses he sells “talk to him.” We were told that he had an affinity with the houses he sells but we never actually get to SEE it and it was a bit frustrating. When he sees the blood at the carriage house he freaks right out so I’m guessing that a house had never quite talked to him like that. I guess I thought since it was mentioned we’d get more information about that and we didn’t.

In the end it was a good story. Yes, it started off slow but it definitely got better. If you like ghost stories I think you’ll enjoy this one.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars