Tag: Shifters

Review: Aris by Sarah J. Stone

Posted October 21, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Caution: This book may include potentially sensitive content, including but not limited to: Sexual Violence or Abuse.
Review: Aris by Sarah J. StoneReviewer: Holly
Aris by Sarah J. Stone
Narrator: Connor Brown
Series: Stratham Dragons #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 19, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Length: 3 hours and 17 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
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one-star
Series Rating: one-star

Aris and his brothers have been sick their entire lives. Every day Aris comes closer to finding a cure. One day his visions show him that the key is a human woman in need of help. He must find her.

Sophie has spent the last seven years of her life locked away and abused by a man who promised to always take care of her. She’s nearly given up hope on ever getting free until she makes contact with the man of her dreams. Is he actually real or is she going crazy?

Can Aris save her from herself and help her heal before it’s too late for both of them?

Content Warning: Explicit love scenes, and piles of sexy shifters. Intended for mature audiences only.

I like how the content warning in the blurb doesn’t mention the massive amounts of on page abuse and sexual assault the female MC suffers.

Content Warning: Explicit love scenes, and piles of sexy shifters. Intended for mature audiences only.

TRIGGER WARNING! Sexual assault and abuse galore.

I found this while browsing the Audible Escape package and thought I’d give it a try. The narration, blurb and cover made me think this would be a lighter PNR, but that wasn’t the case. The book opens with the heroine trapped in a basement being sore abused by her step-father. She mentally connects with our hero, Aris, who turns out to be a dragon shifter suffering from some sort of illness.

He and his brothers-of-the-heart – five boys who banded together – are all suffering from the same thing, yet none of them know why or how to fix it. Aris connects with his biological mother in a dream and learns he’s a half-breed dragon – half Black dragon and half Golden. According to dream mom, until he accepts both halves of himself and finds the missing third part of his soul (the heroine, natch), he – and all his “brothers” – will die.

Sophie has been a captive for 7 years, since she was 14 (so it says in the beginning of the book) or 15 (end of the book). She’s been plotting her escape and trying to keep hope, but she’s almost at the end of her rope. She’s been dreaming of Aris (though she didn’t know his name) for years, but didn’t think he was real until they connect in a dream and he sees her as well. Now she’s determined to hang on until he can rescue her.

I liked the premise of this story, but honestly it was a hot mess. Inconsistencies galore. At first she was raped, then not. She was in the basement for 5 years, then 7. She was severely traumatized by her abuse (understandably so!), then she was strong so it didn’t matter. Things were glossed over or hinted at. Honestly, I could have let a lot of that go, but about halfway through we suddenly switched to the step-dad’s POV and that was just too much. I ended up finishing it, because I was curious to see what would happen with Aris’ illness, but I’m sorry I wasted my time.

At first the narrator bothered me, because he’d occasionally stumble or pause in strange ways/places, but after reading some of the reviews on GR, I’m convinced it was the poor writing in the book. Needless to say, I won’t be continuing with the series.

Rating: 1.0 out of 5

Stratham Dragons

one-star


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Review: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

Posted January 28, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly HarperReviewer: Holly
How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf (Naked Werewolf, #1) by Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
Series: Naked Werewolf #1
Also in this series: How to Run with a Naked Werewolf (Naked Werewolf #3)
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: February 22, 2011
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 371
Length: 9 hours and 12 minutes
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Northern Exposure

Even in Grundy, Alaska, it's unusual to find a naked guy with a bear trap clamped to his ankle on your porch. But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Graham—who has been openly critical of Mo's ability to adapt to life in Alaska—has trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble.

For Cooper, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, it's love at first sniff when it comes to Mo. But Cooper has an even more pressing concern on his mind. Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks, and since Cooper has no memory of what he gets up to while in werewolf form, he's worried that he might be the violent canine in question.

If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen, yet Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit. Except if he's not responsible, then who is? And when a werewolf falls head over haunches in love with you, what are you supposed to do anyway? The rules of dating just got a whole lot more complicated. . . .

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf is the first book in Molly Harper‘s Naked Werewolf series. I avoided these books in the past because the covers and titles made me think they’d be super campy, which I don’t like. Though they’re on the lighter side, they aren’t campy at all. I really liked this book.

Mo Wenstein has moved to Grundy, Alaska from Georgia to escape her well-meaning but very overbearing hippy parents and a broken engagement. As the child of hippies who believe in living off the grid in a family commune, Mo has the skills she needs to live in the wilderness. The only downside is her contentious relationship with local resident Cooper Graham. They rub each other the wrong way..which is too bad, since he’s hot as sin and all Mo wants to do is rub herself all over him.

Well, that cinched it. He was an asshole. I was definitely going to end up sleeping with him.

She manages to find a job right away in the local saloon/restaurant. She makes friends pretty easily and settles in fairly quickly. Things are going great until one day she opens her front door to find Cooper on her porch naked, with a bear trap on his ankle. Turns out he’s a werewolf. Once his secret is out, Cooper quickly moves in on Mo.

Harper’s writing voice really works for me. Mo’s adventures in Alaska were fun to read about. I liked how well she settled into small town, back country life. She easily made friends and I loved reading about her interactions with the residents of the town. Having just visited Alaska this past summer, I was really able to picture the town itself and imagine the residents.

I did struggle a bit with Connor’s actions, and how much Mo let him get away with. I also had a hard time with Amanda Ronconi’s voice for Connor. Normally I love AR’s narrations, but her voice for Connor was awful.

Still, I loved the snarky heroine, small Alaskan town and the way the romance developed between Mo and Connor. Harper delivers again.

3.75 out of 5

Naked Werewolf

four-stars


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Review: Jace by Kenzie Cox

Posted January 25, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Jace by Kenzie CoxReviewer: Holly
Jace: Volume 1 (Wolves of the Rising Sun) by Kenzie Cox
Narrator: Elena Wolfe, Jeffrey Kafer
Series: Wolves of the Rising Sun #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 15, 2015
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 148
Length: 1 hour and 46 minutes
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In the wilds of the bayou…

Jace Riveaux has wanted her since the first moment she stepped into his bayou bar three years ago. And now she’s back, unattached, and ready for the taking. One afternoon together, and he knows she’s the one. Only his world is dangerous, he has secrets, and trust is hard to come by...especially when all signs point to her being aligned with his enemy.

Skye Michaels has nothing left to lose. After a bad breakup, she flees to her favorite southern Louisiana town, determined to finally get photographs of the majestic wolves that roam the area. Instead she gets what she really came for—Jace Riveaux. But when the Riveauxs are threatened by someone she knows, suddenly she has more to lose than ever.

Jace is the first book in the Wolves of the Rising Sun series by Kenzie Cox. This was a short shifter romance I listened to as part of the Audible Romance Package. I was worried it ended in a cliffhanger, but it wrapped up nicely.

Jace and Skye have known each other for years. He was with someone long term, then she was, so they were never able to hook up, but the attraction was there between them all along. When Skye turns up for a weekend in the bayou, recently boyfriend free, they finally have a chance to explore their chemistry. But there’s more going on than either of them know…Jace is really a werewolf, and Skye’s ex-boyfriend is a hunter who goes after shifters because they’re “abominations”. When Jace finally realizes who her ex is, will he trust everything inside him that says Skye is his mate, and therefore trustworthy, or is she really a spy for the enemy?

The page count didn’t allow for a lot of backstory, but I thought the author did a credible job of giving us a well-rounded story. This was just a light, quick listen. I liked both narrators and enjoyed Jace and Skye coming together. Nothing super deep or angsty, but a cute story for those short on time. I plan to pick up the next book immediately.

3.5 out of 5

Wolves of the Rising Sun

three-half-stars


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Review: Echoes of Fire by Suzanne Wright

Posted January 8, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Echoes of Fire by Suzanne WrightReviewer: Holly
Echoes of Fire (Mercury Pack, #4) by Suzanne Wright
Narrator: Jill Redfield
Series: Mercury Pack #4
Also in this series: Carnal Secrets
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 11, 2018
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased, Audible Escape
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 348
Length: 11 hours and 5 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

They may not be made for each other, but animal instincts are impossible to ignore.

Madisyn Drake is a rare breed of cat shifter…a loner, unpredictably wild, and emotionally distant. A recent betrayal has left her ready to sharpen her claws on the next man she sees…until a prowling wolf with steel-gray eyes and a brooding dark edge challenges her distrust. No matter how fully he satisfies her touch-hunger, Madisyn’s not ready to open up again, even if it is oh so gratifying.

Bracken Slater has earned his reputation as an indomitable predator. Once broken by grief and guilt, Brack is feeling alive again, thanks to the heady scent of this independent feline. Convincing her that they’re meant for each other is going to take more than branding Madisyn’s beautiful neck. She’s not interested in joining an unfamiliar pack, much less answering to an alpha. But when threats from both their pasts take shape, their unexpected destiny may be the only thing that can save them.

Echoes of Fire is the fourth book in Suzanne Wright’s Mercury Pack series. It follows Bracken Slater as he finds and courts his mate, Madisyn Drake. Jill Redfield narrated and I really enjoyed her for the most part. She does the voices well and overall I like her voice. I did struggle with two things, however. 1) She spoke in a very forceful way as Bracken, which often made him come off as controlling instead of caring. 2) She did a kind of valley girl, breathy thing during the love scenes that drove me absolutely batshit crazy. Still, I listened to all the books in both the Mercury Pack and Phoenix Pack series’ and she narrates them all, so obviously those things didn’t completely ruin the stories for me.

Throughout the series Bracken was kind of lighthearted and sweet. When his family is murdered right in front of him, including his nephew whom he was holding at the time, it changed him. Now he’s broken and angry, with no outlet for his pain since he wreaked vengeance on those who stole his family from him. When he’s hit by a car and has a moment of openness, he feels the mating connection to Madisyn Drake. They’ve been circling each other for years, rubbing each other the wrong way and denying their mutual attraction. Madisyn is a lone feline shifter who has no desire to join a pack or be stuck mated to a man who doesn’t even like her. But Bracken knows he can’t let her go. She fills something inside him and he knows he’ll never become whole without her.

I really loved how Madisyn was described like Grumpy Cat. She was an angry little cat, but unexpectedly so. She looked so sweet and adorable no one expected her to turn feral and whoop the shit out of everyone. She was the perfect match for Bracken in every way.

My heart broke for Bracken and his struggle to find his footing after his family was murdered. The fact that he was holding his baby nephew when a bullet passed through him and killed his nephew just made it all the worse. His fire and intensity were well contained until then. Now he has a reputation for being ruthless. I liked how well Madisyn balanced him out and how determined he was to put her first, even though he had so many dark parts inside himself.

I don’t really care for the suspense plots in Wright’s novels. The villains are always easy to spot and I often end up scratching my head over some of the decisions the pack makes in their pursuit of them. But the romance and friendships more than make up for any frustrations I feel.

While I enjoyed the entire series, Echoes of fire is hands down my favorite. Bracken and Madisyn made a wonderful couple. His intensity and anger were tempered so well by her inner strength I couldn’t help but love them.

4.5 out of 5

The Mercury Pack

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Howling by Erin McCarthy

Posted June 26, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Howling by Erin McCarthyReviewer: Tracy
The Howling by Erin McCarthy
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 100
Add It: Goodreads
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two-stars

For six months the nightmares have been chasing Liv Lugaru out of her sleep. The same terrifying dream, the same fevered wolves panting after her, their hot breath getting closer and closer as a full moon hangs heavy in the night sky—until she wakes up drenched in sweat, with her fiancé, the brother of the man who broke her heart, gazing down at her . . .

Six months ago, Sebastian was almost killed by his brother in a power struggle within their werewolf pack. His disappearance opened the way for his brother to console Liv, win her trust . . . without ever telling her of their true heritage. Now Sebastian is ready to reclaim his rightful place—to rise up with the moon and claim the only woman he’s ever loved . . .

Liv has been having dreams for the past six months about wolves.  In the dream it seems to be her as the central figure, but it’s set in the 19th century so she’s confused.  She chalks it up to nerves because of her impending wedding.  A wedding to Scarborough, the brother of the man who disappeared on her six months ago, along with all her money.  Scar had been there for her and when he’d asked her to marry him, she thought it was the best idea.  After these dreams she’s thinking that maybe marrying him wasn’t such a great idea.

Sebastian, the man who broke Liv’s heart, didn’t just disappear.  He was attacked and left for dead and has been recovering and in hiding since that time.  Now that Scarborough is out of town he can finally talk to Liv and tell her how much he loves her, and they can live happily ever after.  But when Liv finds out who she really is, and what exactly happened to Sebastian, Liv’s life changes forever.

This was a super short book that is a reprint.  It was previously in an anthology called The Beast Within but is now being republished as a standalone novella.  I didn’t realize when I started reading that this was a reprint and lo and behold, I’d read it before.  I did finish it the second time so that’s a point in its favor.

The story almost feels like you’re being dumped into a book that’s already in progress.  I didn’t like that at all and while it wasn’t confusing, I did find it frustrating.  This can’t really be termed a romance novel because the H/h are really already in love and have just been separated.  More of a reunion story, imho.

The scenario that Liv found herself in might have been more interesting if this had been a longer story.  Add Sebastian in first, have Scar come along and take over, then have the H/h reunite.  That would have been awesome.  I also think that because this was so short that not a lot of depth was added to the characters and that was disappointing.

In the end I found this to be just an ok read.

Rating: 2 out of 5

two-stars


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