Tag: Paranormal

Review: Wicked Abyss by Kresley Cole

Posted April 8, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Wicked Abyss by Kresley ColeReviewer: Casee
Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark #18) by Kresley Cole
Narrator: Robert Petkoff
Series: Immortals After Dark #18
Also in this series: A Hunger Like No Other (Immortals After Dark #2), Dark Needs at Night's Edge (Immortals After Dark #5)
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 464
Length: 13 hours and 3 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

This fairy tale doesn’t end with a kiss in this spellbinding Immortals After Dark tale from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole!

The terrifying king of hell...

As a boy, Abyssian “Sian” Infernas had his heart shattered by a treacherous fey beauty who died before he could exact vengeance. Millennia later, a curse has transformed him into a demonic monster—just as she’s been reincarnated. Sian captures the delicate but bold female, forcing her back to hell.

Meets his match.

Princess Calliope “Lila” Barbot’s people have hated and feared Abyssian and his alliance of monsters for aeons. When the beastly demon imprisons her in his mystical castle, vowing revenge for betrayals she can’t remember, Lila makes her own vow: to bring down the wicked beast for good.

Can two adversaries share one happily-ever-after?

As Calliope turns hell inside out, the all-powerful Sian finds himself defenseless against his feelings for her. In turn, Lila reluctantly responds to the beast’s cleverness and gruff vulnerability. But when truths from a far distant past are revealed, can their tenuous bond withstand ages of deceit, a curse, and a looming supernatural war?

I highly enjoyed this book. Kresley Cole’s books always hit the perfect balance between serious and funny. Right when it seems to get almost too deep, the story turns light and humorous. That is what I love post about her writing. I have been reading the Immortals After Dark series since the time when there were only three books out. The books used to come out fast and furious, now they just sort of trickle out every few years. I didn’t read Wicked Abyss when it first came out. I have no idea why. Then I bought it and didn’t read it. Then I decided to try it on audio. I ended up doing a combo of listening/reading which I was extremely happy with.

Princess Lila Barbot has been cast out by her fiancé for her parents crime against him. She’s been banished to a place where she has to actually dress up like a princess (Disneyland). It was honestly, quite actually hilarious. The her fiancé returns and tells her that she can return to her home and marry him if she goes to Hell (actual Hell) and finds out everything she can about the demon Abyssian “Sian” Infernas.

Sian has been cursed into a demonic monster form. No longer is he the handsome man he once was. When Lila arrives in his realm, he knows exactly who she is. She’s the woman who betrayed him, reincarnated. Although she has no memories of her former life, Sian remembers every horrible thing that she did to him and what he did in the name of “loving” her. He remembers her betrayal and has vowed vengeance for centuries. It doesn’t matter to him that Lila isn’t the same person, she’s close enough.

As Sian gets to know Lila, he realizes that she is nothing like his first love. She isn’t deceitful and above all, she’s actually kind. She’s also determined to get out of his captivity regardless the cost to her. It does take too long after that for Sian realizes that he doesn’t want to let Lila go because he actually loves her. He just has to make her love him. Then he finds out that she’s been hiding who she truly is and everything goes to hell. Literally. Still, Lila doesn’t let Sian get away with his fits of temper. That was one of the things that I loved about Lila. She stood up to Sian from the beginning. He could have easily overpowered her in every way, but she wouldn’t let him.

I have to share one of the passages that made me actually laugh out loud when I was reading it. This happened when Lila quite literally barred Sian from Hell and she sent him a note to let him know.

Demon,

Hell is now mine. You locked me in a dungeon; I locked you out of our godsdamned house. In the immortal words of a very wise mortal:

Everything you own in the box to the left.

Field advantage is key, and the joke’s on you.

Game, set, and match,
Calliope I, Queen of Sylvan and Pandemonia

P.S. If you or your allies make any move on Sylvan, I will retaliate against the Møriør tenfold. Do not test me.

The world building that Cole has done with this series is simply beyond comprehension. She doesn’t seem to break the rules of the world she’s created here. That seems almost unheard of these days when it comes to paranormal/fantasy/UF. If you haven’t tried this series and you’re a fan of paranormal romance, I highly suggest this series.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Immortals After Dark

four-half-stars


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DNF Review: Wild Irish Heart by Tricia O’Malley

Posted March 20, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

DNF Review: Wild Irish Heart by Tricia O’MalleyReviewer: Holly
Wild Irish Heart by Tricia O'Malley
Narrator: Amy Landon
Series: Mystic Cove #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 11, 2014
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased, Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 258
Length: 5 hours and 58 minutes
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Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge
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dnf

It is time…

An ancient book, a power untouched, and a heart unloved lead Keelin O'Brien from her graduate studies in Boston to a small village on the coast of Southern Ireland. Determined to unearth the secrets lying hidden in the enchanted waters of the cove, Keelin has little time for a surly Irishman who infuriates her during the day and haunts her fantasies at night.

Inexplicably drawn to the woman who has stepped from his dreams and into his world, Flynn fights a stubborn battle against his increasing attraction for Keelin. Forces unknown have better plans for the two.

Only the secrets of the cove can show Keelin who she really is, the beauty of her mysterious power, and a love that will break the bounds of what she knows.

From New York Times Bestselling author, Tricia O'Malley, comes a new romance series set on the rocky shores of Ireland.

I started listening to this on audio, but switched to the ebook about 3 chapters in. The heroine was frustrating me, but I thought it might be the way the narrator was speaking for her. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. She was just immature and childish. She was supposedly 28 years old, but she acted like a teenager most of the time. Impetuous and headstrong, she rushed into things without thinking and even said things like “you can’t tell me what to do!”. What? You’re an adult, FFS.

The hero was a total jerk to the heroine. They’d been dreaming about each other and as soon as he saw her, he knew they were meant to be together. That pissed him off for some unknown reason and he ended up being an ass for no apparent reason. When she started banging on his chest like a little kid and he called her stupid, I just couldn’t anymore.

“Stupid?” Keelin hated being called stupid. Her Irish Temper kicked in. “Who are you calling stupid, you big oaf? What are you doing down here anyway?”
She pounded her fist on his chest and he grabbed her wrist with his hand. His eyes glinted dangerously at her as he held her hand captive.
“Obviously, I’m saving a stupid child from drowning.”
“A child? You, you jerk. Leave me alone.”

The premise was really intriguing – I love books featuring psychic abilities – but the execution was poorly done. Between the immature actions of the heroine and the asshole hero, I had to DNF around the 40% mark. I’m just glad this was a free read, or I’d be asking for a refund.

Rating: DNF

Mystic Cove

dnf


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Guest Review: Crazy Cupid Love by Amanda Heger

Posted February 22, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 5 Comments

Guest Review: Crazy Cupid Love by Amanda HegerReviewer: Jen
Crazy Cupid Love by Amanda Heger
Series: Let's Get Mythical #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 416
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Eliza Herman has spent years avoiding her calling as a Descendant of Eros. After all, happily-ever-afters are a myth. But when a family crisis requires her to fill in at her family's Cupid-for-hire shop, Eliza finds herself enchanting couples under the watchful eye of her mentor, Jake Sanders.

After Eliza accidentally enchants Jake instead, they set rules to keep his arrow-struck desire at bay. But some rules are meant to be broken, and before long Eliza is rethinking her stance on true love...until they discover a conspiracy that could destroy thousands of relationships--including their own.

Want to know a sure fire way to get me to read your book? Describe it as “Percy Jackson for romance fans” and I WILL buy it with lightning speed (see what I did there?). Crazy Cupid Love is lighthearted and funny and does indeed have some echoes of my beloved Percy Jackson, albeit for grown ups. There are some hiccups, but overall it’s a promising start to new series.

In the world of this book, there are descendents of Greek gods living in our times. Most of them hide their true nature; the only ones who have been “outed” to mortals are the Cupids–descendants of Eros who can do love enchantments. Eliza Herman comes from a long line of Cupids, and her parents and brother own a family business selling love enchantments. Eliza, however, is not a part of the business. She is seemingly hopeless at all of it, and her life has been spent accidentally enchanting people with disastrous consequences. When circumstances force her to join the family business for a while, she has to turn to her childhood friend and fellow Cupid Jake Sanders for help getting the necessary state license. Jake has long had a crush on Eliza, but when she accidentally enchants him, it seriously complicates her personal and professional life. Even worse, just when Eliza thinks she’s finally getting the hang of being a Cupid, she finds out there are bigger problems afoot.

What I liked most about this book was the world building. We’ve seen books about descendents of gods before, but this still managed to feel fresh and interesting. I especially enjoyed the love enchantments. The enchantments don’t turn people into mindless zombies who are unable to resist. Cupids don’t so much make people fall in love as just temporarily supercharge whatever attraction/pull they may already feel towards each other. Even better, when Jake accidentally gets enchanted I totally appreciated that he a) stays fully aware of what happened and b) still retains his self control. He doesn’t get overbearing and start pressuring her to do anything. He has been enchanted before and knows how to handle it, and he’s pretty matter-of-fact about it. In other words, he doesn’t fall in love with Eliza because of the enchantment, though that does enhance things. I really liked that.

I also really liked Eliza and Jake. Jake in particular is pretty dreamy. He’s hot and smart and funny, and I like that he has goals to help make the world a better place. The book is mostly told from Eliza’s point of view, but there are a handful of very short chapters in Jake’s perspective. It was a little unusual, but I liked that we heard from him so we could tell how he really felt, since Eliza spent much of the book misreading the situation. I liked Eliza as well. She’s funny but a bit hapless, and she’s a major klutz. For me it didn’t get too ridiculous, but I suspect for other readers it might be too much. The one aspect of Eliza I didn’t love was how she let her confidence be destroyed for so long. Most of her family was not particularly supportive, and I wanted her to stand up to them more.

There were some other things I didn’t love about the book, too. While I liked the world building that did exist, I wanted some aspects of the world to be fleshed out more (Jake’s former job, the Council thing, what other Descendents are/what they can do, etc). I also thought Eliza’s family was pretty one-note. I couldn’t understand why her supposedly close brother never stood up for her, or why he didn’t tell her about any of the stuff happening with the family business. Her mom treated her pretty cruelly and constantly belittled her for most of the book, but then she does a huge 180 at the end that didn’t make sense. The drama with her parents marriage also felt forced, simply there to give Eliza a weak reason to drag her feet with Jake. That was probably my least favorite part of the book–how long it took Eliza to commit. I could believe Eliza might not be a strong believer in love–I assume her line of work would encourage cynicism–but it went on too long. Jake was literally perfect and made it clear what he wanted. It was hard to believe that once the enchantment wore off Eliza wouldn’t accept that everyone’s feelings were real and that they could try and build something together. There is a valid reason for her acting pretty irrational towards the end of the book, but she spent a big chunk of the earlier book waffling for no good reason as well. It got a bit frustrating.

And yet…I had so much fun reading this book. I laughed out loud on many occasions, and I really liked seeing Eliza and Jake end up together. My head would probably grade this book a 3, but I so enjoyed my afternoon reading this that my heart wants to give it a 4–I’m averaging that out to a 3.5. I am interested to see what this author will do with this premise in the future.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Never Deal with Dragons by Lornenda Christensen

Posted February 18, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Never Deal with Dragons by Lornenda ChristensenReviewer: Holly
Never Deal with Dragons by Lorenda Christensen
Narrator: Leslie Bellair
Series: Never Deal with Dragons #1
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: July 22, 2013
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 209
Length: 7 hours and 40 minutes
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Consoling a sobbing dragon and serving pig buffets are just part of the job for Myrna Banks. Working for a mediation firm, it's her job to get humans compensated for damages caused by the dragons who now rule. But her "typical" day is interrupted by Trian Chobardan, an old flame who sneaked out of her bed two years ago, taking her heart and a handful of classified documents with him.

Myrna would love to show Trian the door, but he's been sent by North America's reigning dragon lord for help negotiating a truce with a powerful rival to avert war. Myrna agrees to help, even though she'll be stuck with Trian as a partner.

As the two work together, Myrna finds Trian to be surprisingly supportive—and still irresistibly attractive. Though her brain tells her not to forget his betrayal, her body feels differently. When they learn the enemy dragon lord is planning something no one could have imagined, Myrna has to learn who she can trust before she loses not only her heart, but her life.

Never Deal with Dragons is the first book in Lorenda Christensen’s Never Deal with Dragons series. This was an impulse grab from the Audible Romance Package. It’s currently $1.99 for Kindle. It grabbed me from the start. Leslie Bellair narrated and did an excellent job. She made it easy to fall into the story.

Myrna works for a mediation firm in a post-apocalyptic future society where technology has basically been wiped out and dragons rule the earth. She settles disputes between humans and dragons. When her ex stole some sensitive documents from her a year ago, her fast-track to the top career came to a screeching halt. Now she’s stuck working as assistant to an incompetent creep, with no end in sight. She isn’t too happy to see her ex when he shows back up. Especially when she realizes he’s really the head of security for the Dragon in charge of North America – a position he held when they were together, though she didn’t know it. That isn’t the only thing she didn’t know…Trian is hiding a pretty big secret. One he never wants her to find out…

I really liked Myrna. She was strong, competent and full of snark. The world was really interesting and drew me in right from the start. These aren’t dragon shifters – they’re actual dragons who only have one form. They were accidentally created in a lab during World War III (yes, 3). They’ve risen to the top of the food chain and now rule in seven different territories. While I enjoyed the fresh take on an old theme, I did struggle a bit to catch up. The world felt very much like our own today, except there was a lack of technology – including electricity, etc. While we were told about this, I didn’t really see evidence of it in the writing. In that case, I believe it was a tell, not show. Still, I can’t deny I was interested in finding out more about the world and how humans and dragons learned to co-exist.

I did struggle with the romance. I didn’t really feel a true connection between Myrna and Trian. I never truly understood the deep emotional connection between Trian and Mryna. They had physical chemistry, but why they loved each other remains a mystery to this reader (listener?). The second half got bogged down with a suspense plot I wasn’t all that interested in. The narrator kept me invested in the story, but I’d rather have had more of the romance (and definitely more grovel from Trian!) than we got.

Still and all, this was a light, enjoyable read. I’m looking forward to the second book.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Never Deal with Dragons

three-half-stars


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Review: Wild Hunger by Suzanne Wright

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

Review: Wild Hunger by Suzanne WrightReviewer: Holly
Wild Hunger by Suzanne Wright
Narrator: Jill Redfield
Series: The Phoenix Pack #7
Also in this series: Wild Hunger, Carnal Secrets
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased, Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 320
Length: 11 hours and 1 minute
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When half–wolf shifter Frankie Newman receives an e-mail from a family member she didn’t know existed, a secret is revealed: as a child, Frankie witnessed her father killing her mother…and then himself. Frankie was torn from her pack by her mother’s human relatives, and the trauma was erased from her memory. Realizing that she’s been lied to her entire life, she’s never felt more alone. Until she catches the scent of an old friend—warmly familiar and intoxicating.

Trick Hardy, enforcer of the Phoenix Pack, can sense the rush of mutual attraction when he sees Frankie again. He knows immediately that she’s his true mate. But he also knows that, given her fragile state, he needs to tread with care—no matter how fierce his surging desires.

As aroused as Frankie is by Trick’s darkly dominant air and simmering desire, her priority right now is her past—not her future, no matter how tempting. But as more secrets emerge and Frankie’s life is threatened, Trick must do everything he can to keep her close and safe. After all, it’s their destiny.

Wild Hunger is the 7th book in Suzanne Wright‘s Phoenix Pack series. This may be my favorite of the Phoenix Pack books. I prefer the Mercury Pack overall, but this is my favorite of the Phoenix books. Jill Redfield narrates the audio and I felt she did a good job overall, though the breathy voice she does during love scenes was a turnoff.

Frankie Newman was raised by her maternal grandparents after her mother and father were killed. She has no idea she was once part of a pack, because her grandparents kept the knowledge from her. Once she finds out, she has to decide if she wants a relationship with her father’s family. Trick Hardy has been not-so-patiently waiting for his mate to come along. He knows right away Frankie is the one. He’s determined to give her space to figure out what kind of relationship she wants to have with his pack, and to get used to the idea of mating with him. But he refuses to walk away.

I loved how determined Trick was to find his mate and how open to the bond he was. I also really liked how patient and understanding he was with Frankie. He didn’t push her to give more than she could. It was sweet. I also liked how little drama there was in their coming together. They took their time getting to know each other, but they both accepted that they were mates right away. It was refreshing from previous books, where one mate or another was resistant. Frankie had a tough go of it, feeling betrayed by the people who raised her, as well as dealing with meeting her father’s family. She had a good head on her shoulders and I liked how she dealt with everything.

As I said, this is my favorite of all the Phoenix Pack books. Trick’s patience and understanding, coupled with Frankie’s down-to-earth approach to her situation really worked for me.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

The Phoenix Pack


four-half-stars


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