Tag Archive | shapeshifter

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


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

Dream Snatcher, Clara Coulson

Dream Snatcher, Clara Coulson

Dream Snatcher (Tales from the City of Crows Book 1) by [Coulson, Clara]

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Sci-fi and Fantasy

City of Crows is an amazing series, one for readers who want more than most of the paranormal offerings around, don’t want the thin story wrapped around a “he-of-some-type meets she-of-some-type” plot.
I’ve loved the books out so far, and I love when authors do this, give us a novel centred around one ( or two in this case!) characters, so we see their backstory and understand them better.

Ella in the series is dedicated, clever, talented and its clear she’s been with the team a long time. Just how young she was when she joined we can now find out.
Its was great seeing teen Ella, seeing her on the track of a dangerous man, and especially as its set back in time and kept to the low tech, no mobiles, and fledgling DSI, when they’re first set up. Well, they exist when Ella gets caught up, but they are clearly new-ish, and the bottom end of financial priorities.

Ella is an ordinary kid, albeit one devoted to her music, when tragedy strikes, rips her mum away and sets her on a very different course.
I loved the way the story played out, the way it felt so real, especially as I look back to my teens, no mobiles, tech stuff etc and she does things the way I would back then. disposable camera and 24 hr photo shops, no mobiles and digital pics back then, and its trains and buses for transport, with the odd taxi.
Its not just Young Ella but a real story too, a typical exciting, well planned suspense, and I enjoyed it very much.

The other person we meet at a younger age is terrific too and it spread a new light on what I’d read. I really hope Clara writes more of these how-they-joined-DSI stories.

Stars: Five, terrific read whether you’re new to city of Crows, or like me already a fan. A great intro to a new world.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Wraith Hunter, City of Crows 3, Clara Coulson

Wraith Hunter, City of Crows 3, Clara Coulson

Wraith Hunter (City of Crows Book 3) by [Coulson, Clara]

Genre: Mystery and Thrillers, sci-fi and Fantasy

This is turning out to be a cracking series, seems to be full of drama, action, puzzles, danger and each day seems to bring Cal and the crew into more of it. It’s not quite like that though, when this story opens its some months after that action of the last book, the gang have taken time to heal from the incredible injuries they incurred back then and that’s as it should be.
When a book is day after day of non stop action it makes me think” who dealt with all this before?” and “who will do xyz when this gang are gone?”
Spaced out over time feels much more fluid and natural than the one-drama-on-top-of-another story lines too many books have.


The last two books have proved to be openers for more action, and I love that the vampire who was the catalyst for Cal joining the DSI is in this book, and of course wonder about him and his actions. Are they as cut and dried as they seemed? Or is he just as much a victim of circumstance. Or maybe its just his job, that’s going to make him p iss off a lot of people, maybe it is all about the money for him. Who knows? He’s an intriguing character and I want to read more of him.

I love Cal, he’s a great lead, talented and yet flawed too, he knows he doesn’t have all the answers, knows his limitations but throws himself in wholeheartedly when he believes its needed regardless of the cost to himself.
Erica, oh I hated that bit, what she needed to do, and why she felt she had no alternative. fingers crossed that all works out well.
Cooper – a surprise there? Or not, maybe its another red herring – though book one made me wonder if that might happen. I love storylines that make me wonder what if, and how come, and maybe this will….you know the sort, where you get so involved with characters you think of them as real.
The rest of the gang are there, with a few new guys ( and ladies) joining in and it was great seeing them all again. Like meeting old friends, and making new ones.

Its a fabulous read once more, things to puzzle out, drama and action, dangers, and speaking of which, those elevating zombies – what fun they were. The sly humour that had them dressed up in long coats and carrying scythes.
Its little touches like that which lift this novel up, give some levity to the dark dramas surrounding some of the main plots. There are other little touches worked in too, moments of humour, things that make these characters feel real. We all crack jokes at inappropriate times, that’s the kind of human way of dealing with stress and fright and it works so well here. Thats what separate a good book from the crowd, the little extras that keep us reading.

The plots in this part wrap up well, but open up the wider one that’s been building, and I really want to read more right now!!

Stars: five, another rivetting instalment, whetting my appitite for more. I know when this series is ended its going to be one I reread right through, in a back-to-back reading fest. I love to read series like that, get fully immersed in another world.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Every Little Thing, Samantha Young. Souljacker, Yasmine Galenorn

Today I’m planning to read the latest Mercy Thompson novel,  Silence Fallen, Patricia Briggshttp://amzn.to/2mkqZJd That’s my all time favourite series, and author, and I’ve got another great book to read from a couple of days back, Jeanine Frost’s Into the fire, the final Night Prince novel

http://amzn.to/2mWvZoW I loved this series when it started, but unlike the Briggs one its an ongoing story rather than each book having one main theme that’s part of an ongoing story. TBH its taken so long I’ve kind of lost the impetus that made me love it. Maybe I’ll start from first book and pick it up that way. Then I log in to netgalley and see I’ve been approved for three more reads, among them one from the Queen of rock band reads, Kylie Scott for Twist, the latest Dive Bar novel, a spin off from the wonderful Stage Dive books

http://amzn.to/2m10cin So, housework? Tidying ready for selling house? Gardening – well that’s an easy out, its raining….

And a couple of reviews today

Every Little Thing,  Samantha Young

Every Little Thing (Hart's Boardwalk Book 2) by [Young, Samantha]

Genre:  romance, erotica

Like thousands of readers I got sucked in to the magic of Samantha’s romances by way of the wonderful Joss and Braden, in On Dublin street, and their book is still one of my all time favourites.
I’ve read several from that series and enjoyed them and have been looking forward to this new series. Tjis one is tagged Erotica, but to me its more eotic romance, a great romance but withsome hot and steamy sex rather than just erotica,

I enjoyed the first book, The One real Thing, but wasn’t blown away by it. First books do have  a hard job though, and few achieve the great start that Dublin Street did.
The couple that intrigued me the most in book one were Bailey and Vaughn – the ST between those two jumps of the page! They had sparks jumping between them at every meeting, and the caustic wit the two share had me smiling widely.

Bailey is so bright and bubbly, always out to help others, see that everyone is happy, so running her Inn is perfect for her. Still, the awful Devlin family are trying to find a way to oust her, they want to own as much of the town as they can and have used some very dirty tricks in the past. I love the way Bailey not only stands up to them but uses her sharp wit against them.
She’s been with boyfriend Tom now for ten years, hoping that they will marry and have a family soon. She’s in for a big shock though….and it changes things between her and Vaughn.
They’ve always hate a hate hate relationship, but underneath that everyone feels that its defensive on both sides, and it really seems to have started with Vaughn rebuffing the open friendship Bailey offered him when he arrived, the same as she does to everyone. He wasn’t impressed at her initial opposition to his plans for his new hotel, and things went downhill from there.

Its clear Vaughn is attracted to her, and just as clear he doesn’t want to be. He’s always been Mr No Commitment and it suits him, but he knows that Bailey spells danger to that, and seems to use his acerbic wit as a defence even as he cringes inside at what he’s saying. Bailey responds likewise, they both bring out the worst in each other, but that gives some terrific scenes for the reader.

Its a real romance here, but a long time coming, with many forward and back journeys that had me inwardly screaming at them! Of course that’s perfect for me as it brings bucket loads of angst and emotion.

As with all Samantha’s romances its not just a two person story, but brings in many others, some from book one, some who look set to become future books. Story seeds, those hints of what/who might be next. Its always fun to try to spot them, and I think I’ve got a couple here, there are some individuals who really intrigue me. Quiet, shy Emory, what’s her story? Why is she so reserved, so closed off? Dahlia, she seems to have lots of things to reveal, and we’ve only seen her as a very secondary character. Jack Devlin, met him in book one, and he’s here too, and still as much a puzzle as ever. I can’t believe he’s really such a bad guy, and yet the things he’s done, and does here too seem to point in that direction, then he does a couple that point the other way. Even Vaughn’s dad has potential, not as a main character IMO, but maybe a secondary romance thread in a book? He’s certainly got the heart and character for it.

Its a great read, I loved it, was entranced by Bailey and Vaughn, loved the puzzle of their relationship. I did wonder about a few characters in here, Vanessa, will she make a return later, Jack, how can Cooper’s former best friend change so much, do what he does, and of course Vaughn’s awful friend Oliver. What on earth did those two ever have in common?
There’s a couple of surprises towards the end that I didn’t see coming ( and one I did!) and it makes me wonder if they’re future plots in later books?
Stars: Five, a great read, perfect blend of sensual romance and solid story.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Souljacker, A Lily Bound Novel,  Yasmine Galenorn

Souljacker: A Lily Bound Novel by [Galenorn, Yasmine]

Genre:  paranormal and fantasy

Hmnnn, succubus – they’re not characters that really feel empathetic are they? I put off reading Richelle Mead’s wonderful Georgia Kinkaid series for ages simply because I could not see how an author could make a succubus into a person I’d understand, feel I want them to be happy, and yet I was so, so wrong. Add in Jill Myles terrific Succubus reads and you can see just how very wrong my first thoughts were.
So if you’re like me, take a deep breath and prepare to be surprised.
I’ve enjoyed some of Yasmine’s other reads, so I was familiar with her writing style. the story jumps right in with a death at Lily’s house, one of her top clients has been murdered. Not good for business, nor is the fact her clients wife is on the warpath and as a powerful and influential were she can – and does – do immense damage to Lily’s business. So far its worked giving her an income, keeping her alive through sex with Supernaturals, she’s found in the past humans are just far too fragile, and wants to avoid killing people.

In this society Vampires aren’t the Romance kind, but irrational, dangerous killers. Once turned little of the human remains, and they simply lust for blood, sex and power, and have become so dangerous that vampire kills aren’t even investigated by the police any more. That leaves Lily and her friends on their own, as a Vampire Execution the police simple pass on the murder, but she does get given the name of a chaos demon who might help. And Lily and her friends need that help when they learn the killer wants them dead too….

I like Lily, she’s just trying to live, trying to keep her friends safe, enjoy life and she’s found a way that avoids killing humans, something that happened in the past to her and hurts her conscience.
She has some good friends, witch Dani, human Nate, Marsh the…Ghost? spirit? whatever, he’s someone from Lily’s past who’s returned out of the blue, and of course Whiskas the cat – who’s more than a cat, though decidedly not a shifter.
Lily herself belong to the dark Fae court, and we meet the Queen, Wynter in this book. Scary woman, and she’s very powerful. You don’t live for thousands of years without learning a few things.
Archer the chaos demon turns out to be not the type Lily feared, Demons don’t get great press, but in fact he’s a true gentleman, luckily attracted to Lily, and they’re in the throes of him helping her with sex feeding, and maybe they’re developing something more. I didn’t get a great feeling of romance here, its pretty clear one is meant to be starting but I wasn’t really convinced of anything more than a bit of lust between them. Maybe that just takes time, sometimes its better that way.

Its a fun read, a story with elements of many types of creatures thrown in, Vampires, demons, ghosts,witches,  Fae and of course Lily and Whiskas.
In a way that kind of affected the story for me, there were so many different types of character, so much going on that the murders almost took second place. When the climax (Hah!!) came it was almost missing for me, they’d had so many scrapes already that it seemed like it was just one more.

I enjoyed this but I’m waiting for book two to see how the series develops, it didn’t keep me gripped as I’d expected. At times it just felt a little muddled as there was so much happening in a relatively short space of time and pages (GR has it at 292 pages) or 3552 kindle locations.

Stars: Three. Maybe as this continues I’ll feel more for it, its tough for first books in a new series.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Blood Bound, Blood Ravagers – Book 1, Traci Douglass

Blood Bound, Blood Ravagers – Book 1,  Traci Douglass

Blood Bound (Blood Ravagers Book 1) by [Douglass, Traci]

Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy, Romance

I haven’t read any of Traci’s novels before so didn’t know what to expect.
Its a good read, a decent story, but feels too lightweight for me.
Its really based around lots of hot sex between Dante and Anna, with a bit of supernatural suspense thrown in.
It didn’t feel “real” enough for me to rate higher, I know there’s a massive market for romance reads just like this and I’m sure it’ll do well, but for me I need something with a bit more substance to the story.

Anna, searching for her sister, ends up at a Demon gang base. There’s all sorts of illegal things going on there as you’d expect, and Anna ends up central to all the dangers. Sounded a good start but I found it hard to believe a quiet, submissive teacher with just four days to find her sister, would let things ride as she did.
Granted Dante is sex-on-a-stick, but she falls into his arms, and bed without a backward glance to poor Liz. Sister – what sister? Oh yes, well just let me get a few more orgasms in first. Well, that’s how it felt to me 😉
I couldn’t believe that having got to where she knows Liz has been, to where people have seen her, she kind of sat back and threw herself into hot sex, rather than seek her out. Then when she should be sitting back and waiting she decides to intervene *roll eyes*
I’m not a fan of the “new powers” stuff either, where new talents and ones we just don’t otherwise know about come into play just in time to save the day….
Its me, not the book, its a story type that dominates the best sellers, and I’m sure will do well and be perfect for many readers – I’m just not one of them though.

Stars: two and a half – I liked the idea, but it didn’t work out for me. Its one that will appeal to many readers though judging by the top ones in bestsellers. If you like those, you’ll probably like this.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and publisher

Carina Wilder Free Books

 Free books for my new subscribers!

Hello, book lovers!
As a welcome and personal thank you for signing onto my newsletter (as part of last month’s big Amazon gift card giveaway), I want to gift each of you some free books! What better way to get to know each other?


So for two days only, Monday and Tuesday May 9 & 10, these will be free on Amazon:

Free Box Set: Wolf Rock Shifters

The first freebie is my complete Wolf Rock Shifters Box Set: five standalone paranormal romances, each taking place in the quiet mountain town of Wolf Rock.
Free book: Dragon Hunter, Book 1

And Dragon Hunter, Book One is the first book in my four-part Dragon Hunter serial. It’s approximately 20,000 words and like the Wolf Rock books, all instalments are available on Kindle Unlimited.

(Book Four is coming in a few weeks, but books 1 to 3 are all available now)

Gimme this too!
About Carina Wilder
Just who is Carina Wilder, you ask? I write Romance, specifically of the paranormal variety. I grew up traveling and reading a lot of Tolkien and other fantasy writers — but I’m also a hopeless romantic who loves strong women and the sexy men who excite their pants off… literally.
I’m a big fan of interesting locations, magical stories and happy endings. You can read more about my books on my website: www.carinawilder.com.

I’ve got several series on the go at any time, including two complete serials, Sought by the Alphas and Seeking her Mates and two follow-up novels, the Wolf Rock Series and the Plenty of Shift Dating Series.

If you stay subscribed to my newsletter you’ll find more contests and giveaways — last year I gifted a whole bunch of Kindle Fires and Amazon gift cards to my readers, and no doubt I will this year as well. I love keeping readers reading!

Feel free to grab the books linked above, sit back, relax and enjoy.

Thanks so much for signing up!




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“Characters come alive with fantastic storylines, action, vivid scene descriptions and fabulous dialogue.”


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– Judy, Amazon reader

Remy (Skin Walkers 10) Susan A. Bliler

Remy (Skin Walkers 10)  Susan A. Bliler 

Genre:  Romance, Sci-fi and Fantasy


I’ve never jumped quite so far into an established series and was a bit concerned that starting at book ten would mean I’d miss or get confused by much of the content. It sounded such a fun read though that I didn’t want to pass up the chance to read it, and fortunately my fears were unfounded.

Susan manages to give enough info for me to keep up with the back story while enjoying the current one. I guess I’d get even more from it had I read (some of) the first nine 😉 Maybe get some of the more subtle references, but as it was its a story I really enjoyed with a fabulous blend of romance, paranormal and excitement that still felt “real” to me. Even in fantasy I need to feel that if that world created was real the events could happen.

I enjoyed Harlow’s determination to prove herself, to not been seen as weak just because she’s human. I hate feeble, knuckle under and whinge heroines and Harlow is the perfect type for me, strong, stubborn and not one to be pushed aside easily just because she’s female and human. She learns quickly though that she can build her physical strength, build her skills, but still won’t have that physical edge the Walkers do. Her brother doesn’t want her training with the Walkers, he has an on-going feud with their CO Remy, and wants his little sister well away from him. Turns out though they’ve already met, in a torrid and sensual night of passion where body fluids but not names were exchanged! That sensuality still sizzles between them however much they try to ignore it.


Remy has seen an opportunity to get the ultimate revenge on her brother, Mason by using his sister and been searching for her for that purpose for some time, but when he actually meets Harlow somehow all his logic and plans get overturned by the protective instincts she raises in him. He’s not happy about that, Harlow isn’t happy about the way things have worked for her, and that her training gets put back for a time, and Mason isn’t happy that Harlow’s wishes will bring her into Remy’s sphere. Can they all get what they want or will everything go Boom with the ultimate explosion of personalities? It all comes to a head just as outside influences bring war to the heart of Stonecrow.
Stars: Four, a great read even though I jumped in late to the story.

ARC supplied for review purposes

Marked In Flesh, A Novel of the Others, Anne Bishop

amazon UK buy link


Genre:  Sci-fi and Fantasy.

This is such a hard series to review, hard to write just how fantastic it is without giving things away. It’s a series like no other, a world that is like ours and yet not like ours. Imagine our current world but with other groups of inhabitants, some of which interact with humans, and some of which you hope you never have to interact with…Naimid’s Teeth and Claws are a group you don’t want to mess with!!

The world was created by Naimid, and parts given to humans to live in. As always though humans grow, get greedy and grasping and instead of living peaceably with the Others, they see them as having land that Humans could use, that Others as a lesser species ( Humans ideas not mine!) should not have control over. There’s been attempts in the past to move past the boundaries Naimid set but Naimid’s Teeth and Claws have seen those off. This time the humans have made big plans. Those who remember and respect the Old stories are afraid, but the new group, Humans First and Last, dismiss them as old wives tales.
The trouble has been brewing through the books so far with small incidents, and the Others are wondering how much Human is too much Human. They’ve learned from them in the past, taken on parts that are beneficial, and since Meg came to the Courtyard things there have changed with more Humans getting intertwined in their everyday life. Humans aren’t all bad, there are many who are against HFL, who respect the Others and want to live peaceably with them. As ever though it’s minority but aggressive groups that stir up trouble, and the head of HFL is whipping up resentment against the Others, dismissing them as less than Humans and so should be kept in place.  We can see disaster brewing just as well as the Others can but the only ones who can stop it don’t want to, won’t take note of warnings and don’t care about killing Others. They regard them as lesser when really to me its the Humans that are lesser, allowed to live by Naimid’s grace and that can be taken away and has been in times past.

I love the way Anne doesn’t anthropomorphise the Others. The Wolves are simply wolves that can keep human shape, same with the Bears and Crows, and there’s the Sanguinati, the Elementals and others such as Tess, all dangerous in their own way, all Guardians of the land who respect Naimid and her Teeth and Claws. So often in novels shape shifters are humans who take the shape of an animal, and this time its the other way, they are wolves, bears, crows first and human in shape only. They’ve taken the parts of Human that they see as beneficial, learned from them, taken on technology where they need it, mainly transport, power and energy supplies and communications. It could be such a perfect world *sigh* but much much like today there are humans who are greedy. We rip out Rainforests regardless of what species need them, put roads through huge natural areas and endanger more species, tunnel underground pumping deadly chemicals there in the search for more fuel, and poison the land and insect life in our attempts to control what grows where….and if it harms other species? Well, we say self righteously – we Need to do it, humans Need XYZ…Instead of making do, conserving, preserving we just destroy, and accept as our due the right to have what we want when we want, whether that’s strawberries in December, or roads through centuries old wildlife preserves. Anything destroyed in the process is just collateral damage, not our fault….

This particular story is really hard hitting in parts, and I actually had to put in down for 15 mins at one point when it gets so real and I felt really upset and emotional.  I’m dancing ( pussyfooting – just for Simon!!) around what to say to express how I felt without giving anything away. I can’t think of another book – and I’ve read thousands – where I’ve felt so strongly that I had to put the book down just to compose myself. Its that real, that emotional, that draining and yet – its also full of light moments such as the pussyfooting one. One of the humans, Monty I think, says Simon is pussyfooting around something he needs to say. Simon is indignant, saying he doesn’t have pussy feet he has wolf feet. Then there’s the  message from Naimid’s Teeth and Claws about them liking the Wolf cookies ( a bit of levity at a point where we really needed it), the skinny dipping, the constant wondering Simon has about Meg and human mating habits, the way the Female Pack announce “ girls issues” when they want the rest to leave them alone. Clearly that one crosses all species – mention female things to most men and they shudder and try their best to look away or go elsewhere. True love is a man who’s prepared to buy Tampons in a busy supermarket without flinching 🙂 In my Girls school back in the 70’s we had to sign a book with reasons if we wanted to go into town, and it would be checked by our male form teacher. Write “Female Necessities” and we were free to go!!

I love the world created, the characters we meet, the way small things build up – such as the whole story really, beginning with Meg entering the Courtyard so many changes have happened for the inhabitants. Simon’s always been progressive, but at first he was quite grumpy and unconcerned about Humans, and now through Meg he looks at them differently, sees that they’re not all the same, some can be good, do want to help and be part of the group. I love Simon, he makes me laugh, he cares deeply for those in the courtyard, respect their differences, is always looking to how he can make life good for everyone. He touches me with his emotions, and his patience and love for Meg. He wouldn’t call it love of course – that’s just my lack of any better expression, but to him Meg is His, he just has to wait for her to realise it 😉 Its a fabulous story, a series which just gets better and better, and draws me in so that the “real” world gets lost when I’m reading, there could be an earthquake next to me and I’d not notice. It does annoy Him Indoors at times when he’s talking to me and I just don’t hear, I’m not ignoring him, it’s just that nothing but the story and the characters are in my head. To me that’s the mark of a five star keeper series.

I’m including a poem here for Ocean – one of her comments reminded me of it, its one my kids used to sing, and I think she’ll like it.

A baby sardine saw her first submarine,
She was scared as she looked through the peep hole.
“Oh come, come, come,” said the sardine’s mum,
“Its only a tin full of people.”

Stars: the magic five for me, all the way and roll on the next book! .

ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers for review purposes

Once Bitten Twice Shy, Jennifer Rardin


amazon UK buy link

I’ve been re reading a few favourite novels and come back to this series, which I bought a few months after I first had my kindle. Its an eight book series with a few shorts ( I haven’t read them) about Jaz and Vayl.  at the time only books 1-5 were on kindle so I bought the last three as paperbacks, and now of course I can’t read print any more so I’ve just got them for my kindle. I’m on to book tow, and the magic I felt when I first read it is still there.

Loosely its about Jaz, who’s in her late 20’s and Vayl, a vamp who’s the CIA’s top assassin and a 291 yr old Vampire. Along the way of their latest assignment they collect into the group Bergman, a geek genius who invents some incredible tech stuff, Cole – who’s also a Sensitive like Jaz, and was a PI til his business blew up – literally – after getting involved with the duo, and Cassandra , a 1,000 yr old Seer. Each book builds on whats happened in earlier ones, with common threads running through and its full of details and plots that grow ever more complex. For the first book Jaz and Vayl are on a simple mission, but quickly discover their target is involved in something that has huge implications for the world and they need to know what is going on and how they can stop it. That brings in the other three and sets up the crew for the rest of the stories.

As well as Vampires, Seers and humans with extra abilities there are Demons in this series, and the adventures are carefully plotted and Jennifer does that thing I call Story Seeding, where some throwaway remark or tiny incident builds up until suddenly I realize its become a major part of the book. I like to try to pick out these seeds, and even though I read the books some time back I’d forgotten just how well she did it. Although there are vampires, its not one of those Alpha vamps and instant attraction stories, its clear both Jaz and Vayl are attracted but that’s a really minor part of the series and develops really slowly over the books.

Sadly Jennifer died after writing this series, at only 45, so sad for her family and friends, and for us readers to lose such a talented writer. 😦  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Rardin

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