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Nocturne, (Hours of the Night 2), Irene Preston, Liv Rancourt

Nocturne, (Hours of the Night 2), Irene Preston, Liv Rancourt

Nocturne (Hours of the Night Book 2) by [Preston, Irene, Rancourt, Liv]

Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance

Vampires, supernatural suspense, M/M romance – what’s not to love? This is a great series but don’t start here, read books 1 and 1.5 or you’ll be lost.

Even though I’ve done that there are times when i needed to do a mental backtrack just to recall who fits where and how…There are some great characters here but the cast gets larger, with each book building on both short and long term story arcs, and that makes the whole thing pretty complex.

Sara: I love him, open, cheerful, confident in his sexuality and very much in love with Thad. He’s 23 and has a wonderful joy about him that makes him feel young, but not immature. He’s on the fence about the Monks, but respects Thad’s devotion to them, his quest for redemption.
I’m with him about them, not so sure they are the good guys they appear to be, and irritated at the way they use Thad’s guilt over what he is for their own ends. They withhold information to suit themselves and don’t worry about danger to Thad, seem to see him as dispensable.
There’s one bit where they are meeting with Brother Michael – I think it was him – and Sara remarks on the surrounds, very luxurious and Michael says that the monks give up all material wealth when they join. As Sara thinks you’d imagine that would mean they live frugally, but somehow they make it so they’re living in the lap of luxury. Pretty much like real life religion for many…..
Thad: He’s young in age, about 30ish I think but actually 115, and he’s got that historical mindset in many ways.
He was going to become a monk- or was one – when he was changed, and carries such guilt about what he is, calls the vampire part Le Monstre, and his work with the Monks is to atone for that. Like Sara, I think they use his guilt for their own ends.
It must be hard when so long has been spent suppressing his sexuality, thinking it a sin, and then finding Sara and falling in love. I love the way we get the closeness, the tenderness between them without need for overt sexuality. Some books it fits to read about characters sex lives in detail, in this one it would just feel wrong, the way its handled discreetly is exactly the way Thad would be. Anything more just wouldn’t fit his personality.

There are new and old characters here, Mardi Gras festival celebrations, Demons and Witches and lots of supernatural issues. They still need to track down the missing book, and Michael also tasks them with finding out who killed a relative of his and protecting his young twin relatives, Jo and Sep.
Its a tangled tale, and of course Nohea, Thad’s awesome kick – a$$ assistant is still angry about her missing baby niece, and they’re trying to track her down.

A busy book for the trio, full of the usual suspense, dangers, twisted clues and the Monks machinations. another great read.

Stars: four and a half, it didn’t quite rivet me as the first two, I found parts a little confusing, but still an excellent read.

ARC supplied for review purposes by authors.

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A Vampire’s Dream Carla Susan Smith

A Vampire’s Dream Carla Susan Smith
A Vampire's Dream by [Carla Susan Smith]
Genre: fantasy and paranormal, Romance
Longish novella at around 170 pages, and I’m always rambling on about how for me novellas rarely work – too short to deliver enough in depth characters and plots.
When they’re like this though, part of a world I already am familiar with through existing novels they’re perfect.

I loved this insight into Aleksei and Anasztaizia’s early years, how they first met, and of course Gabriel pre Rowan. It was interesting seeing Katja again too, and seeing how she feels about Gabriel.
I loved the main series, exciting and entertaining world and this peek into the years before those books was perfect. I’ve always had a soft spot for Aleksei, now after reading this even more so.

You could read this before, during – or as I have – after the existing books, and its a perfect read to add that additional character info.
I do love when existing series run these side books about individuals, it makes me feel more understanding of their actions. Its a great read, and as with the main books, really excellently priced.

If you like vampires, romance, suspense and action read this series, it delivers all that and more, though this novella is shorter on the suspense angle, that’s really the prerogative of the main books.
Might be time for a back-to-back read through them once more.
Stars: five, a great story to read pre,post or during the existing novels. Made me feel even more for Aleksei!

ENTHRALL ME, Tamara Hogan

ENTHRALL ME, Tamara Hogan

Enthrall Me (Underbelly Chronicles Book 4) by [Hogan, Tamara]

Genre: sci-fi and fantasy, Romance

Stupidly I just looked at description, thought it sounded fun and requested…so it wasn’t until I started to read I realised it was 4th in a series…doh. My bad, again.

Still, I did find it relatively easy to keep up, though I needed to back track a few times to check on who people were and how they fit the story.
I’d rather do that though, its my fault, than have authors bore established followers of a series with info they already know. I’ve found that in a few series I follow and to be frank its irritating. I always feel valuable story telling time is taken up that way, and if readers don’t know then they need to go back and read earlier books, or at least the samples so they get that info.

Its a fun story, one where the supernatural world is still hidden from humans but where they all interact, sometimes reluctantly, with each other, and where modern technology has meant they have to embrace it to keep themsleves hidden.
Its very sensual at times but sex that doesn’t dominate, fits the story-line. for me many promising books are let down when the sex overtakes the story, becomes the main them and I want story first, sex second.

I liked Tia, though she was very self confident at times, especially in the way she pushed Wyland. Its clear there’s a strong attraction between them, but they move in different circles and are hundreds of years apart. I found it a bit odd that she was never awed by what he’d seen and done, but just very interested in learning more. I don’t think I could help being a bit awed by him, but then Val and Thane are older than Wyland, and she’s the same with them.
Its that freshness, that taking them at face value that makes her so likable, and makes her fit in so well. That’s a good job because owing to the current danger surrounding her she’s had to move in to their household for a bit…..Wyland, watch out, she’s determined to open what you have – and she does. Poor guy doesn’t stand a chance.
There’s one bit I book marked that made me snigger ( there were a few but this one deserves retelling.) Tia has just got out a condom, “…. he smelled latex, and chemicals – odd but not off-putting, especially compared to sheep intestine….” That really sums up his age to me.

Its a fun story, plenty of action, lots of viewpoints, which I love, makes me understand characters better.
Its got a solid story-line too, and brings in characters from earlier books, which made me want to read their stories too.
I could see the differing arguments between the modernisers and the purists as being very real, there are always people with opposing views, and with a supernatural society there is plenty of space for revel/stay hidden, mix with others, stay within own species arguments and I really want to read further books in this series.

Stars: 4.5, a story I enjoyed even though I didn’t know the background having missed first three books ( bad Jeannie!)

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Soul Reckoning, Nancy E. Polin

Soul Reckoning, Nancy E. Polin

Soul Reckoning by [Polin, Nancy E. ]

Genre: sci-fi and fantasy, Romance

I really enjoyed Nancy’s collaborative novel After the curtain call, so when she asked if I’d like to review this new book I was keen to read it. Its a very different style, different genre, but the romance is the same tender, realistic type, and the characters feel very genuine.
I’ve a weakness for PNR, and for books set in new Orleans, its a perfect setting for the voodoo/houdou type read. With this book I could mentally visualise the characters and settings, and felt very much a part of the story. that’s important to me, I want to feel the danger, the surprise, the closeness of a relationship, not just watch it unfold, but really believe in it.

I loved Rowan, she’s a kind and generous soul, and the inheritance comes just at the time when she needs a fresh start. She soon finds out she’s inherited much more than just the tavern though, that it comes at a cost, and there’s no escape.

There are some great characters in her new life though, and they rally round to help where they can. Luke is one of them. He worked for her uncle, and lives – in the storeroom, sharing washing facilities with Rowen’s apartment!
They don’t hit it off at first sight, Luke is very antagonistic to her. Slowly they get to know each other though, and she discovers his prickly outlook is his way of protecting himself from his past tragedy.
Without either of them realising how, they’ve gone from surly comments to becoming lovers, and Luke fears for Rowan. He knows just how eerie New Orleans can be, how the things that go jump in the night aren’t always human, and certainly don’t play by human rules. The closer he gets to her the more he can see the danger and its coming to a head.

I loved the way this developed slowly, not just rammed in with an insta-lust relationship, and life threatening dangers from second chapter. Sometimes there’s far more to be gained from stories like this that are paced carefully, let plots develop and the reader work out whats happening, with having to be spoon fed it because there’s been no time to lay clues. That’s the best story for me, whatever the genre, one that flows at its own pace, lets me try to work out what is happening and puzzle over a resolution – not that I ever succeed. That’s why I’m a reader and not a writer.
Stars: 5. a fun, standalone paranormal romance, with the spooky voodoo spirits typical of stories in this setting.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Grigori, A Royal Dragon Romance, Lauren Smith

Grigori, A Royal Dragon Romance, Lauren Smith

Grigori: A Royal Dragon Romance (Brothers of Ash and Fire) by [Smith, Lauren]

Genre:  Romance

I liked the sound of this but though I enjoyed it, I found it a bit light and fluffy, a little too predictable.
Not sure I’ll continue with the series but first books do have  a hard ask, telling a story, introducing characters and a new world so maybe I’m just a bit harsh…

Madelyn, she’s a professor but….doesn’t seem to have too much common sense, or self preservation. “ok this guy says he’s a dragon and…well, I’ve always had an interest in dragons and he won’t hurt me…” She doesn’t know him but not only does she fall into insta-lust with him but she trusts him incredibly quickly.
Grigori, two thousand years old, (or possibly three – both ages get a mention) but makes some stupid mistake that made me wonder how in earth he’d survived that long.

He wants the book back, seemed a pretty poor hiding place to me. I know there’s the “hidden in plain sight” thing but so much of it was out of his control there, given it was so crucial not to let humans see it. Still, he’s ready to seduce it out of Madelyn. Except he doesn’t need to do much in the way of that….
I had high hopes for his secretary, I do love those vengeful, jealous characters but it came to nothing really in this book, maybe the next one 😉

It’s a good storyline, but was all a bit too quick, too neat as to problems and solutions, and too simple/light for me to rate higher than 3.
Maybe the next books will get a bit more solid, bit more depth but of course there will be readers who love this just as it is.

Stars: Three, a read that’s easy to get in to, but just too light for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Forsaken by Night, Larissa Ione

Forsaken by Night, Larissa Ione

Forsaken by Night (Moonbound Clan Vampires) by [Ione, Larissa]

Genre: sci-fi and fantasy, Romance

I love the idea of this series, very different to many supernatural ones currently on offer. Here the vampires are in danger of becoming slaves if caught by humans, despite their strength and speed.
Its a story I enjoyed, as with earlier books and would love to read more. The biggest issue I have though is that’s its taking forever to get moving. I read the first book in 2013, second 2014 and this 2.5 book takes us a bit further along, but I’d forgotten so much of the previous stories its been so long between books.

Still, its a good read, typical Larissa solid writing, great characters and moving the overall story forward. I do wish these books were coming out more frequently as its refreshing to have a new slant on the vampire/shifter stories, and I love the addition of the Native Indian and mythology lore that’s included.

Its a fairly short read – guess that’s why its a halfway book, not a full one, but is a whole story in itself and it was good to meet up with others from first two books.

Stars: four, a good read, but I had to keep scratching my brain trying to remember how everyone connected, which took a bit away from the story for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Haunted Blade, J.C. Daniels

Haunted Blade, J.C. Daniels

Haunted Blade (Colbana Files Book 6) by [Daniels, J.C.]

Genre: Sci-fi and fantasy, Romance

I love this series but somehow I missed the last book…don’t know how that happened? So many books, so little time…
Still, it didn’t affect this installment for me, I was able to keep up, even understood the references to what happened in that one because of the context. I might buy it and read when the series is finished. I love to do a whole back to back read of series, totally immerse myself.

Kit’s come a long way from book one, where she was so alone even though she had a very small group of trusted acquaintences. Now she has Damon, and through him the Cats, though many have become friends with her in her own right.
And she’s well respected and has gained friends and allies that way from different groups of non-humans. No longer the isolated person she was back then, she’s stronger both physically and mentally. That’s good because Fate – or perhaps not Fate but Smeone directing things – has much in store for her.

She’s still recovering from her last brush with death when weird events start stacking up. She’s not one to believe in co-incidences, and somehow all these supposed isolated events seem aimed at her.
Its a time when she really does need her friends and allies. Can she convince the others though that these events are connected, that its not just random crimes, mindless violence, but a concerted, orchestrated string of events with one aim in mind?
Trouble is she’s not certain of what that is, who exactly is the enemy apart from her family, and mostly how on earth she can defeat them, when she begins to understand exactly who and what is pushing the power struggle.

I love Kit, she’s very genuine, has moments when she’s bitchy, though with all the strain she’s under she’s very composed most of the time, a little letting out has to come.
She’s been through so much and her murderous family don’t seem to want to let her go. Its hard to understand who or what exactly they are, though as the books continue more comes out and I’m beginning to grasp it.

Damon, he’s perfect for her. Protective and yet he knows she doesn’t want wrapping in a blanket, tucked away from danger – it’s hard though as an Alpha and an alpha, to let her run into danger when he just wants to keep it from her.
He’s learned though from the past, is a terrific support when she needs it, cheerleader and motivator when she needs it, and of course the closeness they have, not just the erotic sexual connection but that melding of minds, that two becoming one connection they have is getting deeper all the while.
That’s important as she faces something she thought was years away, the release of some-one who she thought she wouldn’t need to see for a long, long while. Sadly all the murders have brought the vampire population into chaos, and to prevent even more bloodshed the powers that be have decided he needs to be released early…..

Its another great read, full of mayhem, murders, dangers, deceptions, plots, plans, it seems non stop at times and yet its inching closer to a kind of grand finale battle between her and her grandmother.
She’s going to need every ally, every favour, every connection she’s made these last few years if she’s to stop a catastrophe.
We catch up with characters from earlier books and meet a few more new ones. The ending is a kind of cliffhanger, but given we’ve been expecting things to move in this direction from an early stage its not totally unexpected.

Stars: Five, great read, fantastic series.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Night’s Caress, Mary Hughes

Night’s Caress, Mary Hughes

Night's Caress (The Ancients) by [Hughes, Mary]

Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy, Romance

Looking up info on this book I remembered  I’d read several of Mary’s Biting Love series, and as its an Entangled publication I was pretty sure I’d like this. Sadly though its a fail, I just couldn’t get into the story and DNF.

I didn’t feel anything more than Lust between Brie and Seb, and got irritated at her constant references to her V-guy ex ( and I really, really hated that phrase!!) I didn’t see why when they first had a little spark of lust she was so engrossed in whether she should have a relationship with Seb. Do people really think that when they forst meet someone? After all the whole purpose of meeting is to get to know them – she couldn’t possibly know what he was like before she’d spent some time with him. And,   Hello Brie, you’re here to solve a string of murders, that’s looking increasingly like leading to many more, not worry about your dating life.
Seb, 4K years old but acts like a newborn sometimes. How come after all that time he doesn’t know vital V stuff, how come he’s so easily panicked at times, and why is he putting Brie’s safety above the job? That sounds harsh but professional do have to take risks and Brie is supposed to be a professional too, but he’s treating her like some helpless little girl. Argghhh.

I couldn’t finish, just got too cross  and irritated. It won’t put me off further reads, I enjoyed the BL series, and bought them years back, pre reviewing books. I’m sure other will love this series, its just for me its one to pass.

Stars: Two, sadly a well written story but not for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Hooked on a Witch, Zoe Forward

Hooked on a Witch, Zoe Forward

Hooked On A Witch (Keepers of the Veil) by [Forward, Zoe]

Genre: Sci-fi and fantasy, Romance

I loved book one in this series, somehow missed books two and three, but saw this and wanted to read it, expecting I’d love it as much as book one.
I didn’t 😦 Its still a good story but for me didn’t feel genuine, the characters were a bit meh.
Maybe if I’d read the missing middle two? Who knows?

I was a bit confused at times over the Pleiades witches, who was dead, who was living which i think reading the missing books would have clarified. I seemed to be reading that Shannon was last in the line, but then reading others existed…not sure how that worked, clearly there’s more to them than i understand. My bad for missing those two middle ones.

Anyway Shannon and Merck, instant lust, but they have a tiny shared history. I don’t really get why her dad is so against him nor why she is so, well, obedient. I know she loves him, I know he’s grieving the lose of his wife, her mum, but she seems to have always done what daddy says and yet she’s not some teen, she’s a grown woman with skills of her own. that just irritated me.

The drama too is a bit wham, bam, bad guys killed, good guys injured and close to death but hey- a bit of magic sorts that out just in time.
I can take that once, maybe twice in a story but it seems to crop up every time here and I need a bit more of a solution than simply magic, whether potions or spells or healing waters etc.

Merck, yep he’s a witch hunter but…only the bad guys, not all witches. I found his history and the various Gods and Demi-Gods a bit confusing too.
I did read to the end but TBH much of the story just passed me by, I either didn’t like the way solutions were found, or didn’t really understand the connections.It just felt too muddled for me. Maybe if I read books 2 and 3 at some point I’ll come back to this one, but I doubt it because it contains too many insta-fix solutions and they’re one of my pet peeves.

Stars: hard to rate, it’s loved by others but for me it just didn’t work so I’m going two. As ever though this is just my view, you may love it.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Blood Guard, A Mission Novel, Megan Erickson

Blood Guard, A Mission Novel, Megan Erickson

Blood Guard: A Mission Novel by [Erickson, Megan]

Genre:  Romance,Sci-fi and Fantasy

Sounded a great start to a new series. It was OK, though, nothing exciting. I found it hard the way Tendra(Ten) accepted the whole vampires/Sanguinata thing so easily “oh, mum moved us around a lot, we never really had friends, that must have been why…” Plus – she left a note….I’d still have been a bit more shocked, stunned, doubting.
Then the insta-lust that turned to love – well its that sort of book but I still found it a little quick. The sex scenes were a little OTT for me, I love sex in a story if it fits, but this felt a bit put there just to spice things up rather than as an essential part of the story.
It also felt a little bit of a One Plot type of read  i.e. Athan and Tendra have to fight to get back to his home and the others, but then there was a turn about at the end that lifted it for me. Overall its was a bit underwhelming though. I did find it hard to believe no one else in the vampires guard or family had picked up what was happening, that something planned for years was hidden so well.
I might give book two a go, maybe there will be more overall story than just a sexy vampire romance read – I hope so but…

Stars: Two and a half to three. Its got potential for me if it picks up a bit but of course it’ll be perfect for others as it is.That’s reading, very subjective 😉

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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