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Midnight Temptation, Shari Nichols

Midnight Temptation, Shari Nichols

Midnight Temptation (Ravens Hollow Coven Book 2) by [Shari  Nichols]

Genre: Romance, Sci-fi and fantasy.

I enjoyed book one but had a few reservations about the central characters. This book doesn’t have that issue for me, I was easily convinced of the burgeoning romance between Garret and Gillian.
Although they don’t get along, to the degree they really dislike each other, I could feel the attraction between them and once they really got talking the reasons for that dislike they each held were explained. Unlike book one where I felt they moved on too quickly, this time the romance was very convincing.

I loved Gillian in book one, and here she really comes into her own. She’s a very talented witch, and a loyal friend, and when her cousin is taken she will do anything to get her back, risking her own life in the process. I loved her anti vampire spray and the reactions when she used it πŸ˜‰
Garrett doesn’t do human relationships, as a vampire that’s just too hard. He’s a good guy, could turn to the dark side like so many of his brethren and his sire, but he’s chosen to use his talents to fight for good. The attraction with Gillian is a struggle though, he avoids human relationships but what he feels for her is too strong to ignore.

Its a neat story, a solid romance, with the suspense of rescuing Brooke, and the link via the Du Sang guys to book one. You can read it as a stand alone, but I think you’ll get more if you’re read book one. I love that unlike so, so many fantasy reads, these characters are older, not teens. Somehow its difficult to take so many reads seriously when some 17 year old is calling the shots, ruling over hundreds of years old supernaturals. I can’t recall learning her age but Gillian feels to me to be about late twenties, maybe early thirties. Old enough to be believable, and to have learned much from life, unlike the teens that populate this genre. She’s a character I can identify with easily, ( though sadly I’m way past her age in years, just not in my heart).
Both books are easy to read, there’s no heavy, complex plots so its perfect for those times when you just want a story to escape everyday life with, one that’s easy to read and won’t have you flipping back and forth to work out who fits where in the tale. Sometimes I want a read that’s heavy and detailed, other times I want this, a simple beach read type story. ( I say simple – I couldn’t write it, I don’t mean simple in that way, just simple as in straight forward, no tricky plots waiting to turn everything on its head).

Stars: Four, another fun read from Shari, with a genuine romance and a suspense filled backstory.

Arc via author

Midnight Temptation, Shari Nichols

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews


Genre: Romance, Sci-fi and fantasy.

I enjoyed book one but had a few reservations about the central characters. This book doesn’t have that issue for me, I was easily convinced of the burgeoning romance between Garret and Gillian.
Although they don’t get along, to the degree they really dislike each other, I could feel the attraction between them and once they really got talking the reasons for that dislike they each held were explained. Unlike book one where I felt they moved on too quickly, this time the romance was very convincing.

I loved Gillian in book one, and here she really comes into her own. She’s a very talented witch, and a loyal friend, and when her cousin is taken she will do anything to get her back, risking her own life in the process. I loved her anti vampire spray and the reactions when she used it πŸ˜‰
Garrett doesn’t do human relationships, as a vampire that’s just too hard. He’s a good guy, could turn to the dark side like so many of his brethren and his sire, but he’s chosen to use his talents to fight for good. The attraction with Gillian is a struggle though, he avoids human relationships but what he feels for her is too strong to ignore.


Its a neat story, a solid romance, with the suspense of rescuing Brooke, and the link via the Du Sang guys to book one. You can read it as a stand alone, but I think you’ll get more if you’re read book one. I love that unlike so, so many fantasy reads, these characters are older, not teens. Somehow its difficult to take so many reads seriously when some 17 year old is calling the shots, ruling over hundreds of years old supernaturals. I can’t recall learning her age but Gillian feels to me to be about late twenties, maybe early thirties. Old enough to be believable, and to have learned much from life, unlike the teens that populate this genre. She’s a character I can identify with easily, ( though sadly I’m way past her age in years, just not in my heart).
Both books are easy to read, there’s no heavy, complex plots so its perfect for those times when you just want a story to escape everyday life with, one that’s easy to read and won’t have you flipping back and forth to work out who fits where in the tale. Sometimes I want a read that’s heavy and detailed, other times I want this, a simple beach read type story. ( I say simple – I couldn’t write it, I don’t mean simple in that way, just simple as in straight forward, no tricky plots waiting to turn everything on its head).

Stars: Four, another fun read from Shari, with a genuine romance and a suspense filled backstory.

Arc via author

Intended Bondmates, D. Lieber

Intended Bondmates, D. Lieber

Intended Bondmates by [D. Lieber]

Genre: Sci-fi and fantasy, Romance.

I love paranormal romance, and this sounded intriguing, with some serious conflict happening. Sadly the conflict only lasted a short while before everyone was happy and friends 😦 From there it became a fairly simple story of friendship that quickly turned to more, a few vampire clashes, meeting others in the extended family, and a neat twist towards the end, throwing everything Luna believes into confusion.
Its a sweet romance, I’d have liked to know a little more about how the different types of paranormals interacted, and their history but it was easy enough to follow on. There’s no overall story arc that suggests a series, so I assume this is a stand alone read. It is a pretty basic story, low on drama and high on cute, which makes it feel to me a YA type read. I’ve read some great YA reads, even though I’m long past that, but this is one that I think YA readers will enjoy more. I’m looking for something with a bit more depth and drama, more twists and turmoil, more story and less simplicity.

Stars: Two and a half, its a good read, well done but the story-line just feels too YA for me.

Arc via Netgalley and publishers

Calypso’s Heart, Orion’s Order Book 1, M.C. Solaris

Calypso’s Heart, Orion’s Order Book 1, M.C. Solaris

Genre: Sci-fi and fantasy, Romance.

I love this genre combo and expected to love this book. Sadly I couldn’t get past 20% and that was a struggle.
I found Caly obsessed with her morning drinks, and just plain weird. I mean, you have a recurring dream, you wake up one night and they guy – searingly hot and massive of course – is in your bedroom. What do you do – scream? Leap out of bed to grab something to defend yourself with? Rush for your phone? All of those? Caly? She just tells herself she must be dreaming and happily has sex with the guy. I was rolling my eyeballs there. I mean Blake is supposed to be a hero/gentleman, yet he’s happy to have sex with this unknown woman, who might be a threat to all he and his friends do, who has one of said friends waiting for him in the next room…..
Then there’s the confusion over who was who. Caly meets and dates a couple of times someone called Nick, so when we met a Nico among Blake’s guys I thought maybe they were the same – but no, The guys making up the order behaved like overgrown college kids. There’s a difference between banter and tussles or juvenile talk and fights. It was as if everything was either something to joke about or something that involved some of them fighting it out. I didn’t feel the long bonds of friendship I expected, hadn’t a clue what they were actually doing, hadn’t the patience to listen to more of Caly’s inner musings or watch her unbelievable actions.
Maybe if I could have made myself read more it gets better, but for me if its not working by this far in its not going to suit me. I can see others love it, as usual its the horses for courses stuff, what one person doesn’t like another loves, so make your own judgment.
I did restart this twice thinking maybe id missed something, that restarting might make it read differently but sadly, no. Just not one for me. I hate writing low star reviews, I’m aware of all the hard work that goes into a novel, but sometimes it has to be done, or it makes higher star reviews meaningless.

Stars: Two, a book others love but which was a fail for me.

Arc via Netgalley and publishers

The Night Girl by James Bow

The Night Girl by James Bow

The Night Girl by [James Bow]

Genre: New Adult, Sci Fi & Fantasy

I love quirky, unusual reads and this book promised that. I’m not the target demographic, but I often enjoy YA reads, good ones appeal to all ages. While I enjoyed this I found it wasn’t one of those IMA, its one that’s a great read for YA/NA I think, but for we folk past that age its a little too simplistic.
Its got some fun characters, a bit of mystery, a lot of whimsy, and a kind of moral theme about acceptance and rights of minority groups. That’s particularly interesting given I’m writing this while the world is seeing the impact of BLM. Being in a minority group myself I understood some of the fears the supernatural folk had, and of course the frustration. I found the Amnesia Reset particularly sad, to have life wiped away like that, all knowledge of your past gone.
Its a quirky read, some fun moments and subtle humour, and though I don’t know Toronto it was easy to visualise from the descriptions given. Overall I felt it was a great reader for the target age group, but just a little too YA simplistic for me to really enjoy.

Stars: Three, its a strange read at times, some quirky events and good but weird characters, and a theme of acceptance that’s particularly poignant right now.

Arc via Netgalley and publishers

The Chalice and the Crown, Kassandra Flamouri

The Chalice and the Crown, Kassandra Flamouri

The Chalice and the Crown by [Kassandra Flamouri]

Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy, Teens and YA

I’m way past the target age range, but reviews suggested that this book would still appeal and I’ve loved other fantasy reads aimed at this age group. Sadly I’m on the fence about this one.

I really liked the sound of this, a very different fantasy read and was excited to start. I found Sasha hard to like though, she’s really not a particularly nice girl to those around her. I know she’s worried about becoming ill like her mother, but that’s more recent and her behaviour seems to have always been like this.
I was puzzled at how things changed, how she actually got pulled in to the other world, it seemed one page she was in this world, worrying about illness, feeling strange and then she was in the next, though her body remained here. I didn’t see the transition, needed a bit more detail there.
Then she’s in a horrible situation, has become a thrall, among thousands more. For a time she simply doesn’t realise who or what she is but slowly that changes. Even then she’s still a hard to understand person, there are flashes of when she knows there’s something wrong, but mostly she carries on. As with the best war/slave/fantasy reads there’s an underground movement though and they see Sasha as someone they can help…..

I found the writing absorbing but the actual story very difficult to follow. I didn’t wholly see how things worked, how they found potential thralls, how they pulled them in. Sasha still remained someone I found difficult to understand.
I felt this book had a lot going on, but jumped too quickly from one situation to the next without fully explaining how things happened or worked. As a reader I had to follow the text and guess. There were explanations for parts, but other things just had to be accepted and the reader just go with. Its hard to explain, the apostate for instance, this person/name just popped up without explanation of who or what he was, ( other than he lived on an island) and yet he was a fairly important part of the story.
Overall for me it was an ok read, not one I’d re-read, and one that left me with questions as I was reading that largely seemed to be unanswered. If things like that don’t bother you, then like others you may love this unique fantasy read.

Stars: Three, an on the fence read for me. I loved parts but there were too many unanswered puzzles for me.

Arc via Netgalley and publishers

The Age of Witches, Louisa Morgan

The Age of Witches, Louisa Morgan

The Age of Witches by [Louisa Morgan]

Genre: Sci fi and Fantasy
I love books about witches and magic, and loved the connection with the salem witch trials here. Its true, what we don’t understand we fear, and I suspect there are those today who would act that way if they could.

Hands up – a little part of me still believes in the possibility of magic, and reading this, the two sides of it, good and evil, felt very real.
The spells, manikins, herbs, all were so well done I could visualise them. It wasn’t simple easy magic but one which required study and determination, and the knowledge of how to put that study into practice. Spells too had physical effects on the caster as well as those influenced, as if they had to pay a price for the magic.

The ladies were all very strong characters, Annis, Frances, Harriet and of course Lady Eleanor. In contrast the men were weak and fickle. Even James, so strongly disliking Annis at first, ( I could feel his shock – it made me smile) seemed to be quite a weak person. Once he finally stood up to his mother he did seem to be growing a bit of back bone, and was making some firm decisions of his own. I did like him and was glad things worked out in the end, but for a while I could see him knuckling under.
The story unfolds well, interesting female characters, Annis, tomboy, would be horse breeder ( a horse lover myself I understood her feelings), her step mother Frances, highly ambitious and happy to manipulate events to benefit her, Harriet, Annis great aunt but she doesn’t know it til deep in the story and of course Grace, Harriet’s …companion/help. The have more a friend relationship than that of servant and mistress. The asylum – horrific places, and of course a convenient place to stash unwanted female relatives. Note, in a society ruled by men its only ever the ladies that get committed.

Its quite a simple story, and that let the focus be on the witches, the craft and how they worked so differently. I loved the added bonus of the Strega, the lady who ran the supplies shop. She had a special insight into people that was interesting and which let Harriet have the things from her she would need to counteract Frances.

Stars: Four, Its an enjoyable read, not one I’d reread now I know how it plays out, but one which I did enjoy very much.

Arc via Netgalley and publishers

Born of Mist and Legend, Kat Bastion

Born of Mist and Legend, Kat Bastion

Born of Mist and Legend (Highland Legends Book 3) by [Kat Bastion]

Genre: Sci-fi and fantasy, Romance.

I’ve been waiting for this book for years. Literally. I read the first two books back in 2013, some seven years ago! So before starting this one I reread those and loved them just as much now as I did then. That doesn’t always happen, sometimes your tastes have changed but I was quickly absorbed back into the Brodie clan.
Sadly though I really struggled with this, its very focused on Skorpius and Brigid and there’s so much mental and verbal communication between the two, lots of what ifs, why, how and saying what felt like the same thing six different ways. It just didn’t feel for me as if it was connected to the other two, just the barest thread. I missed seeing the others, seeing life at Clan Brodie, much as I’ve been waiting and hoping for Skorpius top play a bigger role.
I found myself putting it aside, then restarting as I’d forgotten what was happening. I did read through to half way then TBH I just skim read through to the end, as it wasn’t doing it for me. Its possible its timing, like others this pandemic is affecting me mentally and I find it hard to settle into some stories. Possibly on a later read I might feel differently, but for now it was a let down for me. Still, as always , this is just my opinion, others will and do love it. Reading and tastes are s subjective, its just a disappointment to me as I loved the first two, love Kat and Stone’s writing style from other books I’ve read – No weddings series, a real cracker, and I love fantasy as well as contemporary romance, so it came a s a shock to me that this book wasn’t working.

Stars: Two, Sorry, this one didn’t do it for me. Love the first two, and others from the duo, this was a fail.

Arc via Netgalley and publishers

Warrior, The Talisman Series Book Two, Tam DeRudder Jackson

Warrior, The Talisman Series Book Two, Tam DeRudder Jackson

Warrior (Talisman Series) by [Jackson, Tam DeRudder]

Genre: General Fiction ( adult) ,Romance.

I struggled a bit with book one,m but they have a hard ask, setting the scene for the series and delivering a story so I thought I needed to try book two.
There’s lots going on but I still didn’t warm to the characters. I liked Ceri, but didn’t really understand her antagonism to Rio and vice versa, and then of course when he tries his sign on her ( and that feels weird to me each time I read it) and finds she’s his talisman its like forget all that sniping, that they hate each other and lets get in on. For me that just didn’t sit right, I couldn’t see it happening. I wasn’t keen on Rio either, from book one he’s very opinionated, and quick to judge, and that hasn’t changed.
The story follows the lines set out in the first book, the battle between Warriors, talisman, druids against the Goddesses. Hamish and his secrets annoyed me even as I understood they were needed to drive the story forward. Talanis, another God who seems to sit on the sidelines playing both sides, was really strange. I wasn’t sure just what purpose he played, apart from swaying the battle one way or the other. He was very Godlike, in that all which concerned him was himself, really not bothered about morals, fairness, or anything like that so long as he had an easy life. I wanted to like him. Sadly I didn’t.
Its a perfectly well written story, everything plays out properly, its just that the characters didn’t resonate with me, and I need that to enjoy a novel. Others love them and the story, so again it shows how subjective reading ( and reviewing) is.

Stars: Three, a well written story, good plot but I wasn’t really convinced by the characters
Arc via netgalley and publishers

Midnight Desire, Shari Nichols

Midnight Desire, Shari Nichols

Midnight Desire (Ravens Hollow Coven Book 1) by [Nichols, Shari]

Genre: Sci fi and Fantasy. romance
I enjoy books in the fantasy genre and where there’s romance too, that’s me happy. I enjoyed this book but didn’t love it as I’d thought. To be fair, as with other reviewers I’m writing this, reading this in the midst of the Covid19 crisis and my mind isn’t where it usually is so that could affect my enjoyment.

I loved the characters, the story flowed well and was a quick, steamy read. What I had a really hard time with is Alex being a – well, rabid witch hater wouldn’t be too strong, and yet within the first meeting he’s attracted to Willow and they’re quickly hot and heavy. I couldn’t see how he could put his years of hatred behind him, and how Willow could be with someone who’s held those views for so long. Lust only goes so far. Then there’s the way Willow was assimilated back into the coven with very few questions asked and apart form the initial snarky, hurtful comments its almost like a girls bonding party.
Get past those issues though and its an easy to read novel, a neat story, wrapped up properly, a little magic, a lot of mystery, and plenty of heat.

Stars: I’m hovering between three and four, I liked the story a lot, but the things I had issues with were for me pretty big. Three and a half.

Arc via author

Smoke Bitten, Mercy Thompson Book 12, Patricia Briggs.

Smoke Bitten, Mercy Thompson Book 12, Patricia Briggs.

Smoke Bitten: Mercy Thompson: Book 12 by [Briggs, Patricia]

Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy

Well, wow! This series continues to grow, each book building upon the whole story. With some ongoing series its clear at a certain point they’ve run out of steam, but this one has plenty of potential stories yet.
Patricia Briggs is my favourite author, this series my number one closely followed by her alpha and Omega novels. I could – and have- read them over and over, seeing this I missed each time. This twelfth book still feels as fresh as the first one.
There are so many fantasy reads out there in book-world, some excellent and some ( only imo of course) are just dire. I’d love if Patricia could write faster, I could devour everything she puts out, but what makes these books special is the realistic characters ( even though the are anything but real!), the solid story, the multiple plots, the carefully woven links that grow through each book, and that takes time. I’d rather wait and have quality to read, than for the series to have more books but devolve into some of that dire writing. Actually I don’t think Patricia could ever write like that, its just not in her. Thankfully.

Well, another puzzle for Adam and Mercy here, and as usual there’s not just one plot but multiple ones. A weird and incredibly dangerous creature no-one knows much about, that may have escaped through the door Tilly opened in Mercy’s back yard, some strange werewolves in town, and problems between Adam and Mercy, not with their relationship but which could affect it.
Its always a treat trying to work out just how Marcy and Co will resolve things. Because although Mercy is always the driving force, she’s aided each time by her pack, her friends and somehow she always ends up in the firing line.
I love that we see so many of the old characters here, along with the new ones. I can see how things from earlier books have led to relationships – not friendships but those kind of connections that prove very important when Mercy needs them. As well as the tension and danger, there’s the usual fun and games, the day to day issues that make the story feel grounded and balanced. Fae bargains have to have balance, and for me books need to have balance too…
With some authors I feel they write themselves into plots that only magical solutions will get them out of, and when they just pull those out of a hat, do things no-one has heard of, that have never been mentioned and don’t have any real connections and – bingo- everything’s fine, I feel cheated. With this series though the magic is part of it, and though Mercy has no magic per-se, she has those connections, the Fae, the vampires and of course Adam and the pack, with the Marrok always in the background, and of course her own special heritage from Coyote. When there’s magic involved it always follows set rules that have been brought up in earlier books, so I don’t feel its some new, unheard of superpower solution. Mercy and the pack bonds feature strongly here, and her being pack but not pack, being coyote and something different, means her pack bonds are different too. I found that part really interesting, had me visualising what Mercy was seeing.
I love that Adam has some problems here. I adore the man, the perfect mix of gorgeous, charming, Gentleman and sex, and sometimes guys like that need a few issues to make them real. There’s one point where I was really almost tearful at events, very much moved, and also very much angry that things had gone so far.
Once more its like meeting old friends, and knowing their individual strengths and weaknesses ( Aurielle and Christy!) I can see how they will work in the story. I guess my big fear is that the constant dangers to them mean each book maybe is the last for some of them. We’ve seen people die in previous books, it happens with the constant pressures, it can’t be just the bad guys that die, that would make it unbalanced. The fact so many have died or left the pack because of the dangers is brought up here. The Colombian Basin pack is noticeably smaller, and that brings in vulnerabilities. My heart was heavy that it might happen here to two longstanding characters, and that fear is what makes it real. And I’m not saying if they died or not πŸ˜‰
So, I finished this yesterday and am already thinking – read again or go the whole hog through the series – I know that these books can stand that constant re reading. Maybe I’ll do both πŸ˜‰

Stars: five, a cracking read, perfectly paced and balanced, and gave me a story to lose the real world for a time. I adore these books, fingers crossed there’s many, many more to come πŸ™‚

Arc via Netgalley and publishers

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