Tag: Reviews

Guest Review: Drakon’s Promise by N. J. Walters

Posted June 27, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Drakon’s Promise by N. J. WaltersReviewer: Jen
Drakon's Promise by N.J. Walters
Series: Blood of the Drakon #1
Published by Entangled Publishing
Publication Date: December 5th 2016
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 293
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three-half-stars

Darius Varkas is a drakon. He's neither human nor dragon.

He's both.

He's also the target of an ancient order who want to capture all drakons for their blood. When fresh, a drakon's blood can cure any illness and prolong a human's life, and the Knights will stop at nothing to get it.

When librarian Sarah Anderson stumbles across a rare book belonging to the Knights of the Dragon, she's quickly thrust into a dangerous world of secrets and shifters and things she never would have believed possible. When the Knights realize Sarah has a secret of her own, she becomes just as much a target as Darius. Her scary dragon shifter just might be her best chance at survival.

Here’s the tl;dr summary of this new series: Sexy, super-alpha dragon shifter brothers fall in love while they’re being hunted by an ancient evil organization who wants to steal their blood.

That would be enough for me to one click buy, but if you’re not convinced yet, let me say more!

Book 1 of this series starts out with librarian Sarah Anderson getting a new job helping a wealthy private collector catalog his library of rare books. When she overhears her new boss plotting to capture someone named Darius Varkas, she knows something really bad is happening. She steals the book her boss wanted her to find and tracks down Darius in order to warn him. At first, Darius isn’t sure he can trust her. Drakons have long been hunted by the Knights of the Dragon, a shadowy secret group who want to hold drakons captive because drakon blood, when consumed regularly, makes a human immortal. He’s not sure if Sarah is part of a Knight plot to trap him, but he knows he’s majorly drawn to her, and if she is an innocent she’s put herself in danger by helping him, so he decides to keep her with him. The two have to evade the Knights and also destroy the book, which turns out to contain the secrets for trapping drakons. And of course, they have plenty of opportunities for hot sexxing!

I had so much fun with this book. I should warn you right off the bat that there is some major insta-lust here (along with very quick love as well). Darius basically has a permanent hard-on around Sarah. You’d think immortal drakons would not be in such a hurry, but there you go. Still, I loved the chemistry between Sarah and Darius.

The series centers around brothers, and for me that is probably the best part. Most drakons are solitary creatures, but these four found each other (they have the same dragon father but different mothers) and have crafted themselves a family. It’s not really explained well why they did this, but who cares because they’re 4 super hot brothers, amirite? They communicate regularly, but they don’t see each other often because it’s dangerous. Still, it’s clear they genuinely love each other and would do whatever they can to protect one another.

For me, the premise and the larger cast of characters were what drew me in, not Darius and Sarah. They’re ok characters, and as I said they have good chemistry, but they weren’t all that memorable. As I sit here writing, I’m struggling to remember much about Sarah in particular. She and Darius move quickly. In part, the book explains it by just saying “he’s half dragon” and dragons like to hoard treasure (including, I guess, people) so he quickly decides she’s “his”. Still, it’s hard to get over the fact that things move very fast between the two. That’s not exactly a criticism; for me this book was fun and sexy. I probably won’t revisit it, but I can’t wait to see more of the world. It reminds me a bit of Rebecca Zanetti’s Sin and Blood Brother’s series, with MAJORLY alpha brothers who protect each other and the women they love from an evil organization that’s hunting them. I love Zanetti’s series, and this one is similarly crack-y for me.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

Guest Review: Shadowbound by Bec McMaster

Posted June 26, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Shadowbound by Bec McMasterReviewer: Jen
Shadowbound by Bec McMaster
Series: Dark Arts #1
Published by Lochaber Press Pty Ltd
Publication Date: May 8th 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 377
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three-half-stars

When a powerful relic goes missing from a secret society that dabbles in the occult, Miss Ianthe Martin is charged with finding it at all costs. She needs help, but all clues point to someone on the inside being the thief. The only sorcerer she knows that can't possibly be involved, is the very man she saw locked in Bedlam a year ago...

The mad, bad, dangerous Earl of Rathbourne.

When the seductive Miss Martin appears in his Bedlam cell, Rathbourne fears he's finally lost his mind. The devilish sorceress played a hand in his incarceration, and now she comes asking for help? Perhaps she should begin by begging for mercy...

But Ianthe's offer of freedom is one he can't refuse, although he has a clause of his own to add. She may bind him with her power–the only way to still the demons haunting him–but for every day spent under her command, the nights will be his... to wreak delicious revenge on her willing flesh.

Shadowbound is the first book in a new series from McMaster, but instead of steampunk London, this time we have a magical London. I love historical magical series about fighting a world-ending evil, so while this particular book had some faults, I am still 100% here for the series.

At the start of the book, Lucien, the Earl of Rathbourne, is locked away in Bedlam. To say he’s a physical and mental mess would be an understatement, and the time in Bedlam has taken it’s toll. For various reasons, Ianthe needs his help, though, so she goes to get him out. He has vowed revenge against her because she was the one who captured him, but he knows she’s his only ticket out of Bedlam, so he agrees to be magically bound to her temporarily. The pair have to find out who stole a magical artifact that just might lead to the end of the world. You know, NBD.

I enjoyed both Lucien and Ianthe as characters. If you like broody, damaged heroes, Lucien will tick those boxes for you. It’s not my favorite trope, but I liked that Lucien a) has legitimate reasons to be damaged and b) develops some self awareness and realizes that others have had some bad shit in their lives too. (But if you like damaged heroes, just WAIT till you get a load of future uber-damaged hero Sebastian. We meet him and his heroine Cleo in this book, and their story is heartbreaking already.) Ianthe is perhaps a little less memorable, but still fun to read about. She’s magically powerful and very, very capable. She has a lot of secrets, and you can see the stress of juggling them all wears on her, but she is determined to keep them to protect those she cares about.

This book is sexy, but the sexy premise felt forced to me. As part of his agreement to magically serve Ianthe and get out of Bedlam, Lucien basically demands sex. I get that he didn’t have a lot of bargaining power, but the way he decides to get his revenge is by…giving her really good orgasms? You show her, Lucien! The book also then has to go out of its way to stress that Lucien would not really have forced Ianthe and that she was totally on board, so I guess it was just some elaborate bluff on his part? To me the premise felt like it was supposed to add some kind of dark edginess, but instead it was just unnecessary. Ianthe was into Lucien and didn’t need the artificial set up to have sexual tension. I also didn’t love that Ianthe held onto her secrets so long. I understand her motivations and don’t necessarily think she was wrong, but the problem was it created an imbalance in her relationship with Lucien. She actually never chooses to tell him her secrets until her hand is forced near the end, and then it’s all action until the conclusion. I needed to see more genuine trust build between the two.

Because this is a first book in a very complicated world, it suffers from a lot of info dump. There are tons of names, places, and rules that get thrown at you. The magical system isn’t really explained, which is ok because it clearly makes sense to the characters, but I did want to know just a little more about how the magical world relates to the “real” world of historical London (magic users don’t seem particularly trusted by the normals, but they all live together).

Despite my issues with this book, I loved the world and the premise of the series. Book 2 is out already and I’ll definitely be picking it up.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

Guest Review: Until It Fades by KA Tucker

Posted June 26, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Until It Fades by KA TuckerReviewer: Tracy
Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker
Published by Atria Books
Publication Date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
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four-stars

Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania: population two thousand outside of tourist season.

And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed attempt at a relationship, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has saved: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling.

Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage. So she hides her identity. It works.

For a time.

But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. What begins as an immediate friendship quickly turns into something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something that Catherine is afraid to trust.

Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine…before the spark fades?

Catherine has had a hard life since she was 17.  She always felt like an outsider in her family as she wasn’t the overachiever her siblings were.  When she falls in love with her teacher and her mother finds out all hell breaks loose and she forces Catherine to report him to the police.  She eventually recants her story (even though they were having an affair) but the damage is done to her reputation.  She eventually drops out of school and when she turns 18 moves out of her family’s home.

She gets a job at a truck stop as a waitress but 7 months after the ordeal with her teacher she finds out she’s pregnant.  Being a single mother is hard but she does it and does it well.  She’s never lived down her “reputation” as she lives in a small town but she lives her life as best she can and tries to protect her now 5 year old daughter from her past.

On the way home from a horrid blind date she comes across a car accident where the driver has been killed.  The passenger is stuck in the car but despite it being on fire she manages to pull the large man free and saves his life.  She’s now thought of as a hero – especially when it’s discovered that the man she pulled out of the burning vehicle is a famous hockey player.  Catherine doesn’t want fame and fortune and no compensation from the hockey player.  He does want to meet her, however, and when they meet the sparks fly. Catherine would love to be with Brett but she knows she’s just an ordinary woman and he couldn’t possibly want someone like her.  How wrong she is.

Until it Fades is a lovely slow-burn romance that I thoroughly enjoyed.  The build up to Brett and Catherine finally coming together was wonderful (maybe a bit slower than what I would have liked but it worked) and the passion that explodes between the two of them is intense.  From the moment they saw each other after the accident they connected and eventually become friends.  Catherine has quite a self-esteem issue because of how she was treated in the past but her incredibly wonderful friends and Brett help her get over it all.  I loved how the few friends that she had, and eventually her family, surrounded her with support and love, each in their own way.

The story kept me on my toes with all of the ins and outs of the story, flashbacks to her high school days, and current events.  KA Tucker wrote a great story and one I definitely recommend.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

Guest Review: Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted June 22, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Lethal Lies by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Jen
Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Blood Brothers #2
Also in this series: Deadly Silence, Deadly Silence, Lethal Lies
Published by Hachette Books, Forever
Publication Date: May 16th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 416
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three-half-stars

New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti brings us the second book in a thrilling romantic suspense series.

A deadly secret can't stay buried forever . . .

Revenge. It's the only thing that will help Anya Best sleep at night. The serial killer who murdered her sister is on the loose, and Anya will stop at nothing to put him behind bars-even use herself as bait to lure him out of hiding. But she can't do this alone.

Private investigator Heath Jones's job is to bring bastards to justice. This time it's personal. He knew the Copper Killer's latest victim so when her sister asks for his help, he's all in. But when Anya uses the media to taunt the killer, she exposes Heath's identity, putting them both in jeopardy. Now, secrets buried long ago are coming to light and the forces determined to destroy him are watching Heath's every move, waiting to exact their own revenge. And they'll use anything and anyone to get to Heath.

With twists and turns that will take your breath away, LETHAL LIES is sexy, action-packed suspense at its very best from New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Zanetti.

In this next Blood Brothers book, we meet Anya Best, who’s out for revenge against her sister’s killer. She decides to use herself as bait to catch the killer, but unfortunately she entangles Heath Jones in her plot. Heath is a PI already investigating the killer so he’s game, plus he’s majorly drawn to Anya, but the ploy puts Heath and his brothers at risk. Can they stop the killer and get justice for Anya’s sister before the other people after the Jones brothers catch up?

I love Zanetti’s Sin Brothers series (loooooove it), and I was pretty into the first Blood Brothers book, but I felt like Lethal Lies was a bit less exciting for me. I enjoyed it and had a good time while reading it, but it didn’t really stick with me.

Anya in particular got on my nerves. She concocts a half-assed plan to catch her sister’s killer, but she never thinks through the ramifications, and doesn’t really have any serious plan for how she will stop this horrific killer that even her FBI-trained sister couldn’t handle. She doesn’t know anything about self-defense or catching a criminal. I just…couldn’t get behind her. Even worse, she barely knows Heath but involves him in her dangerous public plot. I get that she didn’t fully understand the risk she put Heath and his brothers in. She didn’t know their history and couldn’t know how her throwaway comment naming him in the press could literally kill him and his brothers. Fair enough! But she never really deals with that fact, even once she does know the truth. It felt glossed over but never explored. Her selfish need for “justice” could have killed them all! I definitely wanted some remorse or at least clear understanding from her, but we never got that, and Heath never holds her accountable either. I didn’t like it.

I did like Heath and Anya together, though. Heath is so damaged, so unhappy. All the Jones Brothers (and all the Gray Brothers, for that matter), feel such love and responsibility for their family that it just melts your heart. Even though Heath thinks he’s a lone wolf, Anya shows him what it means to truly be alone, and I liked his own newfound appreciation for his family after he is reminded of all the support he does have. He is also a great support for Anya, and he backs her up no matter what. Their relationship was super steamy, too, and the sexual tension was great.

I loved seeing the Gray Brothers a bit, though I admittedly didn’t understand why they didn’t jump in all the way when the Jones Brothers were clearly in a pickle. Still, I always enjoy being in this world, and I look forward to more installments from Zanetti.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

Guest Review: Sworn to Protect by Diana Gardin

Posted June 22, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Sworn to Protect by Diana GardinReviewer: Tracy
Sworn to Protect by Diana Gardin
Series: Rescue Ops #1
Published by Forever Yours
Publication Date: June 4th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
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three-half-stars

To keep her safe, he'll have to uncover all her secrets...

Rayne Alexander. A face I never thought I'd see again, and one I never could forget. Nine years ago, she left town-and me--without a backward glance. But now she's back, with a haunted look in her eyes and a feisty attitude that didn't exist when we were teenagers. Seeing this grown-up--and sexy--Rayne is something I wasn't prepared for... and it's bringing up feelings I'd thought I'd buried years ago.

Although I want to demand answers from Rayne, working on black ops at Night Eagle Security has taught me that it's sometimes better to keep my mouth shut. So when I catch her hiding a photo of a little boy, I'm curious. When I see her jump as her phone rings, I'm concerned. But the second I notice a car following her home, I know she's hiding something. Something dangerous. And while I may not know why she left or why she's back, if there's someone out there Rayne is afraid of, I'll make damn sure that threat is eliminated.

Rayne was working late at her job in Phoenix, AZ one night when she came across some info on her boss’s desk that she shouldn’t have. The kind of information that could ruin him and put him in prison. He doesn’t catch up with her as she runs from the building but she knows that she needs to get the hell out of Dodge.  She takes her eight-year-old son, Decker, and runs back to her hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina.  When she had first moved to Phoenix she had changed her name so she figures going back to her old name will hide her sufficiently. Not the case.

Rayne moves into her sister’s house as her sister is out of town and gets a job at Night Eagle Security.  She never planned on seeing her high school boyfriend, Jeremy Teague, ever again but the minute he walks into NES – cuz he works there – all of the old feelings start to come back.  Rayne had gotten pregnant by Jeremy when she was a teen and then was cast aside by Jeremy, his grandparents who raised him and then her own parents.  She knows she shouldn’t have any feelings toward Jeremy except disdain but that’s not what happens.  When Jeremy finds out that Decker is his (because he never knew she was pregnant) he’s so excited and wants nothing more than to be with Rayne and Decker and make them a family.

Rayne’s old boss, however, wants her captured and brought to him so that he can take care of her the way he wants.  Jeremy will do anything to keep Rayne and Decker safe but will he be able to in the end?

Sworn to Protect is a good little second chance at love romance/suspense story.  It had a lot of ins and outs and things going on.

Rayne is back in her hometown.  She loved Jeremy when she was younger but his grandparents told her that he wanted nothing to do with the baby when in fact they never told him she was pregnant.  Then her parents took to a clinic to get the baby aborted and she ran.  She’d been living the last 9 years thinking that Jeremy betrayed their love but that wasn’t the case at all.  Once Rayne and Jeremy are together again things fall into place and all is good.  Except for her old boss that’s threatening her.  I was a little confused about the boss, quite frankly.  He was at first after her because of the things she knew about him but then it turned to the fact that he didn’t want her dead he wanted to keep her and tame her sexually – ew.  It was more than a little creepy, to say the least and kind of a weird, expected twist.  Then Jeremy’s grandfather got involved and it was a bit too much.

Of course NES gets involved as that’s what they do but it all seemed a little too easy.  IDK, there was just some aspect of the story that was missing that made this a good book, but not great.  The elements were there but there was something in the execution that was lacking, imho.  The characters were good, the story was a decent one but I definitely didn’t end the book thinking, “Wow, that was really good!”

So in the end a decent read but it wasn’t something that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars