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Beneath the Skin, Lauren Dane

Beneath the Skin, Lauren Dane

Beneath the Skin (de La Vega Cats) by [Dane, Lauren]

Genre: sci-fi and fantasy, Romance

A reworking of an earlier series, this is book three.
I hadn’t read first two books, and they’re not on netgalley or available to buy, and that’s a shame as it would have helped the story a bit. There are characters and events from those that crop up here, and would have made understanding motives etc easier.
There are terms too – The Bringer, and the Jambouree – that I kind of worked out as I went along, but which would have been good to know early on exactly what they were.

Anyway, its a pretty fast flowing story, succinct and yet packed with action. I loved Mia, a strong lady, she’s no Baby to be tucked in a corner….and she’s a perfect foil for Gibson, tough guy, charged with overseeing justice for the pack.
He’s a real ladies man, but he’s also a true gentleman. He’s secure enough in his own skills to enjoy Mia’s strength, knows he wants to protect her but has to let her do so much for herself. Its who she is, and he has to let her be that person if they are to be happy together.

I enjoyed meeting the rest of the family, seeing how the Cats all connected, and working out what was going on, who the bad guys were. Its not a brain taxing thriller, but a fun and sexy suspense, and a perfect HEA sensual read.

I have to finish with a bit that made me snort. On my review blog i have a post called bad sex terms – and this has to go in, it’s perfect. “he nudged at her gate, pushing in very slowly. thick and meaty he filled her up…..” WTF? Her gate? Thick and meaty?? Oh that had me sniggering like a twelve year old….

Stars: five, bad sex terms aside 😉 its a fun short, a sexy and sensual quick escape into the supernatural world.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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Masked, M Greenhill. Silva, J.A. Hazel

I reviewed this story a few weeks back, its now out on amazon UK and Com. a great read. full review here

 

Silva: End of a Rock and Roll Love Story (Indie Rock Star Book 2) , J.A. Hazel

Silva: End of a Rock and Roll Love Story (Indie Rock Star Book 2) by [Hazel, J.A.]

Masked, M Greenhill

Masked by [Greenhill, M]

Genre:  Mystery & Thrillers, Sci-fi and Fantasy

I love Fantasy reads, especially if there’s a romance in the story.
Sadly the best sellers lists are dominated by stories where the romance is all the story, and though clearly others love them I want a bit more substance.
Happily Masked delivers all that 🙂 and I look forward to reading more.

There were a few weak spots though, Daniel is hundreds of years old, Alpha Commander, and yet in this age of technology he’s a total Luddite.
I would have though that with technology now posing such a risk to them he’d have a specialist team. Its not as if he can hire out either, he’s determined to avoid any Human involvement. Fortunately his alphas are more open minded, and through circumstance Parker has become a friend to one of the packs, after her cousin was turned.
Now they need her but she and Daniel have friction between them from an earlier case.

What I struggled with were things like early on in the novel when there are four murders, the wolves just whisk away the bodies, and remove the SD cards from every ones phones? I just kept thinking “How?” you just can’t do that without creating massive attention, and that’s the last thing they needed.
It would have been easier to believe had they their own tech specialists that can hack into networks and delete data that way, change paperwork so that nothing is missing but the true details don’t get out, bodies appear to have died from another cause.
Its a more believable way round things and one I’ve seen in other supernatural reads.

That’s a small criticism though and on the whole I really enjoyed this book. First in a series has a hard job, delivering a new and exciting story while introducing characters for future books. I liked the way this part of the story wrapped up while still leaving the opening for future books connected to what happened here.

I liked too that the author isn’t afraid to kill off key characters. That’s always sad when it happens, but does add to the believability factor when not just weak secondary people die. Keeps the reader on their toes too, never knowing what’s coming.
In some books whatever the dangers you know all the main guys are safe, and it makes me think things like in real life it doesn’t happen that way, that all the good/lead characters survive, and lessens credibility.

There were some great characters here, from Parker and her cousin Bobby, Daniel and his betas, the two tech-geeks-in-training, to Daniel’s sister and characters from other packs. the bad guys were just that – truly awful, and with psychotics like that you can’t predict what their next move would be. I like that 🙂 like to be surprised.  The story too has lots of potential to follow through in later books.

Stars: four, maybe four and a half, tidy up the few weak spots and this is shaping up to be a five star series.

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

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

Witch on Parole, Witch on Parole Book 1, Kay Latour

Witch on Parole, Witch on Parole Book 1, Kay Latour

Witch on Parole by [Latour, Kay]

Genre: sci-fi and fantasy

I love fantasy novels, and this sounded fun – and I did like it, just didn’t love it.
I like Bryn, love the idea of the Frithjof, in fact I love the whole world setting Kay has created but where the story fell short for me was in depth, it felt quite light, surface based kind of story.

There would be some pretty serious issues come up for Bryn, but the way of solving them seemed to me to be a bit too convenient. I love magic in books but it needs to be in balance, its too easy to have a spell or potion that fits a solution to what seems like an unsolvable issue and that just doesn’t work for me. I need my characters to have to struggle, to work for solutions and though Bryn does have to work hard here help too often comes this way, albeit from other sources and it just left me feeling a bit kind of cheated ;-).
But that’s just me, could be perfect for you, its certainly something I’ve read in other stories that didn’t work for me but have made best seller lists. We’re all different and want different things from out reading.

Its a fun story, and of course first books in  a new series have a tough task, delivering new characters, new world settings AND a new story. Sometimes the first in a series hasn’t always hit the spot for me, but I’ve gone on to love further books, so I’ll look for book two and read that before deciding this isn’t a series for me.

Stars: three, a good intro to a new world though a little light in parts.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Rescued by the Wolf, Sasha Summers

Rescued by the Wolf, Sasha Summers

Rescued by the Wolf (Blood Moon Brotherhood) by [Summers, Sasha]

Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy, Romance

I love fantasy and shifter novels are a huge draw for me so I was eager to read this, a new series. I enjoyed it, but it was kind of a “shifters lite” novel, one where there’s so much potential in the story but the sex and romance overtakes the drama.

The characters were OK, not great but not bad eiother. I found things a little glossed over though, for example how easily Olivia puts all the weirdness behind her, how she’s so accepting of shifters. Most people would be climbing the walls terrified, she’s all “oh I must be dreaming, yep, Ill carry on dreaming about sex with this guy I’ve just met” Who must have been pretty whiffy and unsavoury to look at!!After all being tortured for all that while, and barely kept alive means his captors were unlikely to have given him regular access to showers, deodorant and toothbrush!!
Then there’s Mal, one moment he’s Mr Angry, all Others are bad, he’ll wreak vengeance on them all, his Pack are bad, they left him, and then he hears Finn’s explanation and becomes Mr Understanding. Logic doesn’t always play in to emotions but he capitulated on that quite quickly.
Finn was right in what he did, and I know Mal would see that, but a little more internal struggle before accepting would have been good.

When it comes to the Others, well I can see how evil they are, how Finn’s pack needed to protect themsleves but the mystery over the connection the Others had with Olivia’s brother wasn’t hard to guess. Soon as the imported items were mentioned I’d guessed what they were, just surprised that none of the pack did.
I did like the explanation of the origins of Finn’s pack, but I’d like to know more about the origins of the Others, how many of them etc. Though looking back I think I read they didn’t know, so maybe that can’t be done yet but is coming later.
I’d like to know what the pack do on a day to day basis, do they work for Finn, elsewhere, spend the time practicing defence or something?
Why were they so trusting of Ellen. Granted she’s useful with Jess but that wouldn’t have been clear when they first met so why did they take her in? And speaking of her why was she so full of animosity to Olivia and then kept being friendly, then cold, then OK again. I found her very changeable.
I’d like to have known so much more about the pack and the people in it – what about their previous freinds and relatives – did they think they were dead or something? How did the pack first find out about Others and vice versa.

Its a series that holds potential but for me there’s a way to go and I need a few more answers to the basics and a little more reality ( in as much as there can be in Fantasy) in the characters and their (re)actions and the story itself.

Stars: Three, it’s hard for first novels in a series, for me this is OK but doesn’t quite cut it yet.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
 

A few more past reads.

Wins

Paris Lights This was free a few weeks back when i got it, its £1.49 now, still a bargain. Its a fun read, with much of the action taking place in Paris of course and I felt a real sense of the city. Claire and Louie make a great couple and the story has something extra from the A meets B and they live happily ever after format. It does have a HEA, but its a fun journey to reach it. I hadn’t realsied but I’d also bought the next book as it was on offer at 99p ( now £2.49) and I haven’t read it – so that’s todays book sorted, after I finish the current review one! New York Nights the third book I also loved, London bound was on KU, its now £1.49. I love this authors style, a fresh slant on romance with the two I’ve read and I’m looking forward to the one I didn’t realise I had!

Under Locke  One of the fabulous Mariana Zapata reads. I’m not usually into MC reads but this one worked for me. I’ve had several of hers now on KU and enjoyed most of them. Wait for it was the first I read, about a lady bringing up her two nephews. That got me hooked on MZ’s stories, though of course I haven’t loved all of them. One that didn’t work for me is below even though others love it. That’s how it works, some you love and others hate and vice versa.   The Wall of Winnipeg and me  was a great read, as was Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin a rare-for-me purchase!!
I loved Poppy Dunne’s Extra Credit, made me laugh and was a fab story full of emotion but another of hers I read yesterday was just a kind of OK/mundane story (see below)

Shape-shifter series that begins with Trigger was a fun read, and I thought it was the start of a good sereis with that something extra, but the next book (below) was just the usual simplistic para romance and disappointing aftet that start

 

Fails (for me – may not be for you!)
Dear Aaron  A Mariana Zapata read. This just didn’t work for me, couldn’t get into it at all, but it was (and still is ) a KU book so nothing lost! another of hers that didn’t fit is Lingus Tried it, didn’t like it.

Dating the billionaire ( OK I’m a sucker for these reads) Though I loved Poppy’s Extra Credit this was just bland and dull for me
Transcend Second in paranormal series after Trigger (above) but was for me a huge disappointment. the promise of the extra arc, the story line that lifted the first book above bog standard shifter romance was more or less gone, sucked under the heavy romance theme. I love romance but I really want reads that offer that bit extra too. I might continue with the next as its on KU, but was very disappointed and have seen others that feel the same way.

Some you win, some you don’t. KU reads mainly

Of course not all books suit all readers, so my thoughts and feeling about these recent reads could differ wildly from yours, and do differ from many review(er)s. Book reading and enjoyment is very subjective, and this is just how I feel about these as always. I don’t like many of the current Best Sellers, and ones that dominate Amazon top 100 lists.
BF/Shade of …. – loved by thousands, probably hundreds of thousands, but is not for me is all I’m saying 😉


Didn’t like.

Princely Passions: A Royal Romance by Alexis Angel.
Didn’t get past 10%, obnoxious, foul mouth lead, with no redeeming features. He might have got better after a while, but was such a selfish, arrogant, misogynistic jerk that I couldn’t bring myslef to continue.
Kings Series Boxed Set
Books 1 – 3: Mated To The Werewolf King, The Warlock’s Nemesis, Heartless by Alena Des
Pretty much as above, less swearing but throw in paranormal. Like a YA trying to be grown up.
Anaconda (Irresistible Bachelors Book 1)by Lauren Landish I thought I’d read others by this author but must have been another Lauren, as after checking I don’t recognise any of her books. This one has another jerk MC as above, plus the addition of a simpering, feeble minded heroine who can’t keep her eyes off his cock. Really people, accidently walk in on someone naked and keep on staring at his dick, not just a peek, but a full fledged stare and cue all the “mouth watering” etc comments that follow…its kind of sexism in reverse, when ladies see men as nothing more than a walking dick. we don’t like it when men talk to our breasts, so why the heck are books were women talk to men’s cocks so popular?
Take Me (Vampire Billionaire Romance Series): The Untouchables 1  T. A. Grey
Read the first half, skimmed the second hoping it would improve. It didn’t ;-(
Out of the Shadows (A Werewolf Wars Novel Book 1) Bethany Shaw
Sounded interesting but just felt too YA for me. I don’t mind a well written YA, some transcend ages, but this felt very aimed at the late teen end of the market.
Obsidian (Mystic Stones Series 1) Kayla Curry
I wanted to like this but…just couldn’t get into it, neither the story or the characters appealed.

Did like/were OK:
Wolfsong,  TJ Klune
This is seriously one of the best reads this year, in fact possibly the last couple of years. a beautiful story, terrific pacing and incredibly emotional. a very unusual read. I’d love to read more by this author.
Idol (VIP Book 1)  Managed (VIP book 2)  Kristen Callihan
I Bought these two, not ARCs not KU, but paid for!! Two great fun reads, I really enjoyed. I’d bought Managed first, (it was cheaper!) and its still my favourite of the two. It reminds me very much of Kylie Scott’s Dive Bar book with Jimmy and Lydia, same strong humour, great lines. Jimmy and Gabriel are very similar types. I’ll look forward to more of this series. 
Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (Outlander Book 8), Diana Gabaldon
I loved the first books in this series, and my tattered paper backs were read over and over. Charles would say “not Diana Gabaldon again….” and then came Echo in the bone  which was so war orientated, so full of characters and different plots and times it felt messy. and what I really didn’t like about that was it left several plots hanging, first time DG had done that, and given she writes Very Slowly I knew i’d have lost the impetus by the time the next book came out.  I was right, I’m wading slowly through Written IMOHB and having to keep looking up exactly what happened, where we left certain characters. Echo was published Jan 2010 and Written in June 2014 so you can see what a long gap. In fact book one I read in hospital in 1995…..
I’m finding its war heavy, that there are whole chapters covering a half hour or so and the minutiae which i so love about her writing has become details on speed, even too much info for me, a details lover. I’m really tired or reading peach fuzz of Jamie’s balls, musky smell/male musk of ( insert character here ) etc.
Its taken me three years to actually get on and buy this when I ordered echo from US in hardback as it was out a month sooner than in UK. Part of that was waiting for price drop but I was so disappointed by echo that I thought long and hard before continuing with the series. I’m halfway through this one and already skipping parts to get to the action.
Absinthe, by Winter Rens An ok/good read, I loved Winters Country Nights  and was hoping for more like that
Bucking Wild, by Maggie Monroe Enjoyed the first book about Ben and Chelsea, but not enough to continue with their next books. Kind of OK but slowish for me.

 

 

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