Tag: Paranormal

Throwback Thursday Review: Original Sin by Allison Brennan

Posted January 23, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Original Sin by Allison BrennanReviewer: Casee
Original Sin by Allison Brennan
Series: The Seven Deadly Sins #1
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: January 26, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 453
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Haunted by chilling memories of demonic possession and murder, Moira O'Donnell has spent seven years hunting down her mother, Fiona, whose command of black magic has granted her unprecedented control of the underworld. Now Moira's global search has led her to a small California town that's about to become hell on earth.

Tormented by his own terrifying past and driven by powers he can't explain, ex-seminarian Rafe Cooper joins Moira's dangerous quest. But Fiona is one devilish step ahead. Hungry for greater power, eternal youth, and stunning beauty, the sorceress is unleashing upon the mortal world the living incarnations of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Together with a demonologist, a tough female sheriff, and a pair of star-crossed teenagers, Moira and Rafe are humanity's last chance to snatch salvation from the howling jaws of damnation.

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

This review was originally posted on January 25, 2010.

Why fix it if it’s not broken? That’s the question I wanted to ask Allison Brennan when I read the blurb for this book. She writes great romantic suspense, so why mess with a good thing, right? Then I read her acknowledgments that mentioned Buffy, Supernatural, and Veronica Mars all in the same sentence. With that one sentence, my faith was restored and I finished this book in one day.

I didn’t read the What You Can’t See anthology with has the prequel to the series. I didn’t really feel that I missed anything. What made this book so good was the heroine. Moira O’Donnell is a witch. She hasn’t used magic since her mother possessed her and forced her to kill her lover. Since that day, Moira has made it her mission to stop her mother. Fiona is a witch of powerful dark magic. Stopping Fiona without magic will take every ounce of strength and courage that she has.

In a ritual that will give Fiona control of the seven deadly sins, she is interrupted by Raphael Cooper. This is the only time I thought reading the prequel would be helpful. There’s obviously a back story with Rafe, but I think that Brennan did a good job of filling in the gaps. Rafe stops the ritual and saves a young girl’s life. Fiona loses control of the seven deadly sins and they are now free to roam the world.

Fiona is livid, especially when she realizes that Moira is in town. They have the battle to end all battles, yet they both live to fight another day. Original Sin is the start to what promises to be an amazing paranormal series. I like how the world was created that clearly showed similarities to Supernatural, but not too many similarities.

I’m pretty sure that Moira will be on my list of top five heroines of 2010. She’s the good. She knows her weakness and doesn’t lie to herself or anyone else. She takes blame that is hers instead of making excuses. She’s strong and independent but will admit when she needs help.

The romance between Moira and Rafe just barely developed in this book. The potential is definitely there. So far, this is the best book I’ve read in 2010.

4.25 out of 5

This book is available from Ballantine. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

The Seven Deadly Sins

four-stars


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Review: Laird Wolf by Vivian Arend

Posted January 17, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Laird Wolf by Vivian ArendReviewer: Holly
Laird Wolf by Vivian Arend
Narrator: Tatiana Sokolov
Series: Takhini Shifters #2
Also in this series: Laird Wolf
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 21, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 178
Length: 4 hours and 21 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From New York Times bestselling author Vivian Arend These stand-alone stories are filled with humour and heart-felt adventures, and the sexy happily-ever-afters are sure to make you smile.

---

He’s a wolf in a kilt. That pretty much says it all…

Pulling off a rescue mission at a remote castle in Scotland should be an easy task for lone wolf Damon Black. He’ll flash some muscle, show a little Alpha power, and do whatever it takes to ease Addie MacShay’s fears. But the woman who throws herself into his arms and cries boyfriend is more intriguing than anticipated. The sexy she-wolf’s got more curves, more tantalizing scent, more of everything he desires.

Addie’s job cataloguing an estate at the Sterling-Wylde Manor is complicated by the ongoing discovery of new wills and the two creepy heirs who won’t leave her alone. But her fake boyfriend turns out to be a far greater threat—not only is he fun and flirtatious, he looks delicious in a kilt. She craves his touch, but with her empathic skills on overdrive, touch is the last thing she needs.

Damon’s fighting his unruly inner beast. Addie’s fighting their incredible sexual pull. They’ll both have to lower their guard to make this more than a Highland fling.

Laird Wolf is the second book in Vivian Arend‘s Takhini Shifters series. I didn’t read the first book in the series and I think some of the hero’s backstory. It wasn’t enough to ruin my enjoyment of the book, but you may want to read Copper King first. I loved the setting (a Castle in Scotland) and the main characters. I’m anxious to go back to book one now. Tatiana Sokolov narrated and I enjoyed the way she told the story.

Addie MacShay has been hired to catalog an estate in Scotland, owned by a family of cat shifters. Their father recently passed away and the two remaining heirs are fighting over who will inherit. She’s been feeling unsafe alone in the house with just the two brothers (she feels eyes watching her all the time and gets a bad vibe whenever she’s alone with one of them), so she asks her best friend for help. She sends Damon Black to play bodyguard. To explain his presence, they say he’s her boyfriend who decided to join her.

Damon is happy to play bodyguard for the sexy Addie. Having his luggage get lost at the airport and falling into a mud pit on his way to the castle wasn’t really part of the plan, but he can roll with it. Now he’s running around the estate in nothing but a loaned kilt, trying to figure out why thing seem so fishy with the brothers..and trying to keep his paws off Addie. She’s beautiful and smart, a deadly combination for him. When his wolf starts acting strange, Damon will need all his willpower and investigative skills to figure out what’s going on.

This was a good story. There were some heavy parts, but overall the tone was light and fun. I really liked Addie and how seriously she took her job. I also really liked Damon and how well he protected Addie. It wasn’t so much fighting off bad guys, but making her feel safe with his presence.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Takhini Shifters

three-half-stars


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Review: Warrior Fae Trapped by K.F. Breene

Posted November 15, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Warrior Fae Trapped by K.F. BreeneReviewer: Holly
Warrior Fae Trapped by K.F. Breene
Narrator: Nicole Poole
Series: Warrior Fae #1, DDVN #7
Also in this series: Warrior Fae Princess , Born in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy, #1), Raised in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy, #2), Fused in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy, #3), Natural Witch , Natural Witch
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 10, 2019
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased, Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 438
Length: 9 hours and 21 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars

The truce between the vampires and the shifters is long over. So when the two factions stumble upon a lost fae warrior who has no idea what she is, all hell breaks loose.

Charity hasn't had it easy. Growing up in a bad part of Chicago, left by her mother at 16, she's a survivor. So when she gets a scholarship to a good college out in California, she thinks all her dreams have come true.

Instead she falls head first into a nightmare.

At a posh party she doesn't belong, she gets the shock of her life: vampires and shifters are real! Magic is real. And she is anything but a mundane poor kid just trying to make it.

Warrior runs in her blood. If only she knew how to use it.

Suddenly, she is trapped between two magical super powers - a cunning elder vampire who wishes to use her for her blood ties and maybe tie her to the bed, and a sexy alpha shifter who will protect her at all costs.

Her life of surviving never could've prepared her for this. And if she doesn't learn to harness the fae magic running through her blood, she'll be imprisoned forever.

Action, humor, and romance - we're going back to the DDVN World!

Warrior Fae Trapped is set in the DDVN (Demon Days & Vampire Nights) world (Fire and Ice Trilogy, Magical Mayhem Trilogy), but I feel it stands alone well. You don’t need to have read the previous books to understand what’s happening here, though there is an overreaching storyarc that connects them all.

Charity grew up in a bad part of Chicago with an abusive father. When she was 16 her mother left, and since then she’s been trying to make something of herself. She got a full ride scholarship to college and ended up rooming with a rich girl who couldn’t stand the dorms, so she got her dad to move them to a little house instead. Charity is still beyond poor, but she’s working hard to change that. When her roommate invites her to a very exclusive party, Charity doesn’t want to go, but she wants to fit in and make friends, so she agrees. From the beginning things look hinky, and the warning she gets from another student as she’s going in not to drink the punch makes things even more strange.

As it turns out, this a vampire changing party. The vampires have set this up to change some of the very wealthy’s children, in hopes of gaining more power in the Brink (the non-magical side of Earth). Charity barely escapes, with the help of Devon, the werewolf who warned her off from drinking the punch. It turns out Charity is packing some magic herself, though she had no idea it was inside her, or that magic was even real.

Now she and Devon are on a mission to evade the master vampire who set up the party, and figure out what her magic is and how to train her. And there’s this pesky attraction between them..but that’s less important than the way their magic seems to clash…and combine.

This was another great entry in the series. I love how Breene creates strong friendships inside this world. Her heroines are tough and independent, but they from strong bonds. I don’t think we see enough strong female relationships in UF, and I’m glad Breene is changing that.

“Do you want a hug, a punch, or a change of subject?” Macy asked, deadpan.

Charity couldn’t help but laugh. “Change of subject, please.”

“Did you figure out your phone and computer?” Macy asked, bringing out her own phone. “Because I’m happy to make fun of you if you didn’t. Help. I mean, I’m happy to help you.”

Charity doesn’t just form a relationship with the female in the pack. She becomes close to all the pack members. I enjoyed seeing them rally around her, giving her the acceptance and sense of family she’d been missing.

“The afternoon class was the one with Andy, so that was actually good. He insisted that I sit with him and his friends. It was nice to be included.”

“The guys seem to like you, not to mention Macy.”

She turned her face up to his, a smile of gratitude boosting her loveliness. “I’ve landed in hell, but I’m in the trenches with good people. I didn’t have many friends growing up. It’s a neat feeling.”

The mystery of Charity’s past and where her powers come from is interesting. I’m anxious to see where things go in the next book. I’m enjoying the romance, though I did feel like the ILYs came a little too early. I’d rather have seen that happen in the second book. Still, the action kept me on the edge of my seat and I’m truly invested in seeing where this goes. I immediately started book 2.

Devon stopped in the middle of the aisle and blinked dazedly. “Did you just compliment me on my appearance and body, give me a verbal high five for being a slut, ask me to have quiet sex, and then opt for earplugs assuming I probably wouldn’t? Did all that come out of your mouth within the space of thirty seconds?”

Although there are darker elements at play, this novel is written in a rather lighthearted way. Not campy, but fun. There’s a lot of gore and some strong emotional scenes, but there’s also a lot of humor. If you’re looking for a fun, engaging novel filled with action, adventure and romance, this is a great place to start.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Warrior Fae

DDVN

four-half-stars


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Review: First Contact by Kat Green

Posted October 11, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

Haunts for Sale

one-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Sea Witch by Virginia Kantra

Posted September 12, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Sea Witch by Virginia KantraReviewer: Casee
Sea Witch by Virginia Kantra
Series: Children of the Sea #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 1, 2008
Format: Print
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 273
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

First in the new The Children of the Sea series from the USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR.

Margred is a Selkie - a legendary being of the sea, able to shapeshift into seductive human form. And she has found a human she desires...

Burned out from the big city, Caleb Hunter becomes police chief on the peaceful Maine island of World's End. Then he meets a woman who's everything he's ever dreamed of.

Their passion is undeniable, irresistible ...and it may change the fate of humankind.

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

This review was originally posted on September 8, 2010

I really have enjoyed Virginia Kantra’s romantic suspense books so I wasn’t thrilled when this series first came out. I was so un-thrilled, in fact, that I didn’t read this book until two years after I got it.

Margred/Maggie threw me off at first. As a selkie, she doesn’t have human thoughts, human feelings, etc. The only human urge she has is of the sexual variety. So she was a very “go get ‘em” type of girl/seal. She first meets Caleb when she comes to land to find someone to bleep. Caleb is that person. She is attracted to him in a way that doesn’t make sense to the selkie part of her.

Caleb has had a rough few years and is happy to be home in World Point. When he first meets Maggie, he is breaking up a celebration on the beach. After a very intense sexual encounter, Maggie leaves and doesn’t come back. After that, Caleb would check that stretch of beach. For three weeks he waited for her. He finally finds her, but not in the way he wants.

When Maggie comes to shore, she is attacked and her pelt is subsequently burned. To be without her pelt is to not be selkie. Maggie has no idea what to do. She knows no one but Caleb. She has no one but Caleb. While she is very attracted to him, she is selkie at heart and cannot remain on land.

Maggie’s thoughts on immortality were very confusing (for her). She couldn’t understand why any selkie would resort to becoming human thus aging. As a 700 year old selkie, she can’t fathom a lifespan so short nor does she want to. Her inner struggle with that was really very emotional. She realizes she loves Caleb, but she still can’t imagine giving up her life as a selkie. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine her doing it either.

End up together they do, though it wasn’t easy to get there. They have demons and a long-lost brother to deal with. For the first book in the series, I found it very well written.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Children of the Sea

four-stars


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