Tag: Paranormal

Review: Portrait of Death: Unforgotten by Isabel Wroth

Posted October 11, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Portrait of Death: Unforgotten by Isabel WrothReviewer: Holly
Portrait of Death: Unforgotten by Isabel Wroth
Series: Portrait of Death #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 19, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 427
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Three years ago, I held her pink silk toe shoe in my hand, helplessly watching the cab drive away before I could give it back to her. The next morning when I stood in front of the portrait drying on my easel, I knew the beautiful ballerina would soon die. Her portrait is one of two hundred and twenty-seven. Each one of the subjects is the victim of murder, and I’ve painted them all. I’ve kept my morbid ability a secret for twenty years, terrified someday, someone would find out.

Someday has arrived, and the someone banging down my door today demanding answers is a gorgeous, irate homicide detective armed with a photo of one of my paintings right there on the front page of the most popular tabloid in the city. He peppers me with questions I can’t answer, and despite my worst fears being realized, all I can think about is painting this man, alive, and with far fewer clothes on.

Detective Callum Graham tells me the dead ballerina I painted is his sister, and she's been missing for three years. Missing, he says firmly, as though any other conclusion is unacceptable. My inappropriate thoughts of seeing him naked, vanish. How do I explain to this man, this brother desperate to find his baby sister alive, that she’s been dead for two years, eleven months, and three weeks?

Portrait of Death: Unforgotten is the first book in a contemporary romantic suspense series by Isabel Wroth. I generally avoid romantic suspense at all costs, but I really enjoy paranormal romance novels that feature psychic characters so I figured I’d give this a go. I’ve read most of Wroth’s backlist and I have to say this was not my favorite.

When Jo paints a portrait of her baby brother dead in a pond as a child, her parents have her committed to a mental institution, where she remains for two years despite her brother drowning while she was committed. For 20 years she’ll go into a trance after touching an object belonging to a random stranger, and end up painting their Portrait of Death. She’s come to realize over the years that they are all murder victims, but she can’t tell anyone, unless she wants to end up back in the institution. Until a scorned ex-lover leaks photos of her gallery.

Detective Callum Graham is shocked to see a death painting of his missing sister on the cover of a tabloid paper. He’s sure he’s finally found the killer. Jo knows she needs to protect her secrets at all costs, but it’s hard to resist the pain in the detective’s eyes.

I really disliked what an ass Callum was to Jo. I understand him thinking she was a murderer based on her paintings (that’s definitely some serial killer shit), but even after presented with proof that she couldn’t have committed the crimes, and proof that she was psychic, he refused to believe her. Even after they started getting intimate with each other, he would accuse her of being part of the murders, or just make stupid, asshole remarks to her for no reason. She pushed back and called him out on it, which is the only reason I kept reading, but it wasn’t enough. Especially since she would get distracted by how “hot” he was and then couldn’t stay mad.

On top of that, the police procedural stuff was very poorly done, and the whole mystery plot was easily figured out. There were also a lot of typos and errors. I spent most of the book irritated at one thing or another.

View Spoiler »

I kept reading because I liked the premise, but it wasn’t as well executed as the author’s other books. I don’t think I’ll read the next one.

Rating: 2.75 or 3.0 out of 5

Portrait of Death

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Review: Shifters in the Night by Molly Harper

Posted August 25, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Shifters in the Night by Molly HarperReviewer: Holly
Shifters in the Night by Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi, Jonathan Davis
Series: Mystic Bayou #5
Also in this series: How to Date Your Dragon (Mystic Bayou, #1), Even Tree Nymphs Get the Blues, How to Date Your Dragon, How to Date Your Dragon, Selkies are a Girl's Best Friend, One Fine Fae
Publisher: Audible Studios on Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: September 21, 2021
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Plus
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Length: 6 hours, 43 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A chance meeting leads to a wild ride in this irresistible audio-first romance by Audie Award-nominated author Molly Harper! 

Lia Doe came to Mystic Bayou for one simple reason: to get her job done. Namely, to build a housing complex for all the new residents flocking to town since word of its supernatural population got out. But from the moment Lia arrives, it's clear that nothing about the job is going to be simple.

First, there's the mysterious guy she meets in the middle of the night while they're both cavorting in their alternate forms. Spending time with shape-shifters is nothing new to Lia, but there's something special about Jon Carmody…and the magical pull she feels whenever he's near. There's also a sense of homecoming and belonging in Mystic Bayou that makes her want to stick around - despite the dangers brewing from mysterious forces.

Will Lia complete her project with her heart unscathed, or will her life shift forever?

Shifters in the Night (Mystic Bayou #5) by Molly Harper brings us back to the magically eclectic town of Mystic Bayou, where magie (magical beings of all kinds) have lived in harmony for centuries. Thanks to the recent outing of magie in the world, people are flocking to Mystic Bayou in droves. As a result, there’s a housing shortage. Lia Doe is the project manager in charge of building a housing complex in town. She’s surprised at how at home she feels in town, considering she’s always been a big-city girl. Meeting local Jon Carmody is just the icing on the cake. Amid weirdness from her boss and putting out fires he creates, she really settles into life in Mystic Bayou.

Ever since a kraken attack left him scarred, Jon has mostly turned into a curmudgeon. His brother, Will, has been trying to get him out and about more, which is how he realizes the beautiful creature he swam with late at night in his lake, and whom he thought was a figment of his imagination, is really the new construction project manager. Determined to get to know her better, she attempts to get outside his comfort zone.

This is such a fun series, I always love returning to Mystic Bayou. I really love the entire town and the cast of characters from previous books. I didn’t love the story as much this time around. I really liked Jon and Lia separately, but I didn’t love the conflict that keeps them apart, or their romance. I really wish they would have just communicated with each other instead of jumping to conclusions. That was a minor part of the story, however, and didn’t run my enjoyment as a whole.

While this wasn’t my favorite book of the series, it was a good listen and I’m always glad to return to Mystic Bayou.

Rating 3.75 out of 5

Mystic Bayou

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Review: A Little Dark Magic by Isabel Wroth

Posted August 16, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: A Little Dark Magic by Isabel WrothReviewer: Holly
A Little Dark Magic by Isabel Wroth
Series: The Little Coven #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 27, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 315
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

*Kill what you love the most, and know what it means to have unlimited power.*

Kerrigan Gray can't sleep without dreaming of the night she was forced to kill her mate. In her nightmares, she's drowning in his blood, choking on it. Now, after a decade of unsuccessfully trying to summon his spirit, Kerrigan sees Maksim standing across the street in broad daylight, smiling at her.It's impossible, and yet, there he is, big as life, his lips soundlessly shaping the word, Orpheus.

Maksim has lost count of the days he's spent waiting for the opportunity to escape. His sweet Bride has no reason to believe he's still alive, and Maksim dreams of the day when he can shake off his chains and return to her. As loathe as he is to admit it, he can't do it without help. He's been starved for too long and left to rot in the dungeon where he and Kerrigan both were betrayed.

The path Kerrigan must take to reunite with her beloved will be fraught with danger, and it will take more than A Little Dark Magic to defeat their enemies.
NO CheatingNO AbuseYES HEA

This book CAN be read as a standalone, but the author recommends that it be read as part of the series. Though this book is DARK, with copious amounts of blood, violence, and body parts, there is no violence or jealousy between the main characters.

For the sensitive reader, the author does disclose there is DISCUSSION about suicide and magical mental abuse.

A Little Dark Magic by Isabel Wroth is the second book in The Little Coven series and follows Kerrigan as she searches for the spirit of her lost vampire mate. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. The author’s note at the beginning tells us this is a darker story than the first in the series, and I found that to be true. I ended up enjoying it more, however, in part because of how kickass Kerrigan was.

Kerrigan was forced to kill her vampire mate, and for 12 long years she’s been trying to summon his spirit so she can ask for forgiveness. When one of her coven sisters tells her she can help Kerrigan find him, she jumps at the chance. Only what they find isn’t his spirit, but his undead body….

Maksim has been held and tortured by the same coven who forced Kerrigan to murder him, and Kerrigan is going to need all her considerable skill to save him. But saving his body isn’t the end, for it may have been one of his brothers who betrayed them to begin with.

Kerrigan spent 12 years learning and honing her craft. She isn’t just a Summoner, she’s also a Necromancer – among other things – and she’s the best at what she does. She’s also wily and smart, and she trusts no one but her coven sisters and Maks. I loved how everyone underestimated her, while she ran circles around them. She was confident in herself and her power without being arrogant, and I loved how she got shit done without taking herself too seriously.

I also enjoyed Maks and his devotion to her. I thought at first maybe what they had wasn’t real, but that wasn’t the case. He truly wanted her for his Bride, and every interaction they had was genuine and deep. His need to protect her never overrode her own abilities and I loved how confident he was in her. His pride in her power came through very well. Their romance was sweet.

I really enjoyed the coven as a whole and I hope she continues the series.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

The Little Coven


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: Don’t Hex and Drive by Juliette Cross

Posted August 9, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Don’t Hex and Drive by Juliette CrossReviewer: Holly
Don't Hex and Drive by Juliette Cross
Series: Stay a Spell #2
Also in this series: Wolf Gone Wild
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 8, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 346
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Notoriously bad at peopling, Isadora Savoie spends most of her time in the greenhouse or at the local animal shelter, using her Conduit powers of growth and healing. Content to remain in the background of the Savoie sister shenanigans, she’s reluctantly roped into the mystery of missing neighborhood girls. Now, she’s partnered with a flashy, flirty vampire to find them before it’s too late.

Devraj Kumar has seen and done it all. Three hundred years roaming the earth as a Stygorn — a legendary vampire warrior who operates in the shadows — has its perks. But ennui has set in. That is, until he has a run-in — literally — with an intriguing witch while on a new assignment in New Orleans. Fascinated by her resistance to his charms, Devraj can’t help but push her buttons in an effort to get to know the shy witch. Fortunately for him, she’s been recruited by the Lord of Vampires to assist Devraj on the case.

Between a Bollywood marathon, supernatural dating app, secret package, and sexy driving instruction, Isadora is in over her head. And Devraj? After just one taste, he’s playing for keeps.

Devraj Kumar is an vampire enforcer of sorts. He’s lived a long time, and spent time everywhere. Most recently he’s been living in Europe, acting the playboy after success as a Bollywood actor. He’s ready for a change, however, so he returns to the states. He settles temporarily in New Orleans to help his friend Ruben (the head vampire in charge) with a case, while he decides where he wants to settle permanently. On his first night in town, he accidentally hits a witch who is riding her bicycle in the dark.

Isadora Savoie has a low tolerance for people and cars. Her opinion isn’t improved when Dev hits her bike with his car, crushing it and causing a sprained ankle in the process. She’s happy to be left alone, except it turns out Devraj is their new next-door neighbor, and he keeps turning up. When they’re paired up to find a bunch of missing girls, Isadora can’t deny she’s attracted to him, but still..she’s happy to play with the dogs at the shelter and hang out in her greenhouse. If only Dev would get the message….

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, but I wasn’t crazy excited to read this one. We were barely introduced to either character and I was honestly hoping another sister would feature here instead. I put off reading it because of that. The first 40% or so really frustrated me. Dev kept making jokes at Isadora’s expense, and it was starting to really piss me off. But then he realized she wasn’t laughing with him, sincerely apologized and stopped doing that. The story picked up from there.

I really liked the second half. The plot moved quickly and I enjoyed the two of them together. Devraj was actually very sweet once he realized Isadora wasn’t getting his jokes. He was careful with her, but pushed her outside her comfort zone. I liked how they came to care for one another, and I really loved that both of them were very family centric, and had mad respect for their siblings and parents. Despite my early frustrations, I easily fell into their story and enjoyed how they came to life on page.

I’m really looking forward to the next book, which features Violet and Nico.

While I didn’t like this one as much as the first, the second half saved it and I truly ended up enjoying it.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Stay a Spell

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette Cross

Posted August 4, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette CrossReviewer: Holly
Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette Cross
Series: Stay a Spell #1
Also in this series: Don't Hex and Drive
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 14, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: No
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 396
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2021 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2021 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

What's the worst thing that can happen to a werewolf? Unable to shift for three months, Mateo Cruz knows all too well. His wolf has taken up residence in his head, taunting him night and day with vividly violent and carnal thoughts. Convinced he's cursed, he needs the help of a powerful witch before he literally goes insane.

​Evie Savoie has always obeyed the house rules of her coven--no werewolves. They're known for being moody and volatile. So, when a distempered, dangerous werewolf strolls into the bar and almost strangles one of her late-night customers, she's ready to bounce him through the door. But the desperation in his eyes when he begs her to help him softens her heart and convinces her to bend the rules.

​What Evie doesn't know is that Mateo's wolf has a mind of his own. And now that she's in his sights, he wants only one thing. Her.

Wolf Gone Wild is the first book in a new paranormal series from Juliette Cross, a new-to-me author. This was a fun, light-hearted paranormal romance. Mateo Cruz is not currently one with his wolf – in fact, Alpha (the wolf in question) has taken up residence in his head and won’t stop his constant chattering. Not to mention, he can’t shift. He’s desperate to get his curse broken before he goes feral and Alpha takes full control.

Evie Savoie and her sisters are one of most powerful covens in New Orleans. They don’t have a lot of rules, but her oldest sister and the leader of their coven is adamant – no werewolves. But Evie can see Mateo’s struggle and wants to help him.

This book was a lot of fun. Funny, without being campy. I have to say, it was Alpha who first drew me in. His constant snark and dialogue in Mateo’s head was hilarious. I also loved Evie. She was a total geek, into SciFi and comics. I enjoyed how their relationship developed. They became friends first, then moved into something more. The mystery was easy to figure out, but that was secondary to the romance for me anyway, so I wasn’t bothered about it. Parts in the middle did seem to drag a bit, but I was so entertained by the rest I didn’t care. I loved Evie’s family, and how they embraced Mateo.

I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Stay a Spell

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,