Tag Archive | shapeshifters

Vampire Fight Club, Larissa Ione

Vampire Fight Club, Larissa Ione

Vampire Fight Club by [Ione, Larissa]

Genre:  Romance

I love Larissa’s writing, but somehow lost track of the series after reading the first few Demonica books. Still, I’d read enough to follow this story, I think possibly if you haven’t read any you could still enjoy it ūüėČ Its a short, hot paranormal, set in the Demonica world.
Its not a complex story, that’s good as its so short…I don’t often read novellas for that reason, they don’t have space to let me really get to know the worlds and characters in the story, but when its part of an existing series it works for me.

I liked Lena, she’s had a tough upbringing and is now facing death but before that she’s determined to get revenge on whoever killed her brother, the one that understood her, protected her, not the two that have made it their work to torment her. With her loving father dead and now Vaughn gone she’s alone, and for her last weeks she’s going to find the killer.
That brings her in the sphere of Nate, manager of Thirst, and the cruel vicious Demon, Fade….and maybe death too soon. Of course Larissa throws in events that change what’s going to happen very rapidly, and of course there’s sex…lots of it, hot and sensual.

It’s a series that features sex demons as main characters, so its no surprise the main books have that angle, but even this short does¬†-however¬†it fits the general story line, and is not the more-sex-than-story issue¬†I¬†so hate. There needs to¬†be¬†a balance, and Larissa always seems to find it ūüėČ

Stars: four, a fun addition to the series.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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Heart on Fire, Amanda Bouchet

Heart on Fire, Amanda Bouchet

Heart on Fire (The Kingmaker Trilogy Book 3) by [Bouchet, Amanda]

Genre: Sci-fi and fantasy, Romance

The final stretch, and what a fantastic trilogy this has been. A mesh of traditional legends, Gods, Goddesses, fantastical creatures and imagined kingdoms. Amanda has taken bits of stories we all grew up with and shaped them into an amazing story that had me gripped right from the start.

The characters, a real mix, and finding out some of the ones Cat has known for years were actually more then just magical humans came as a shock to her. Griffins family, she wishes she’d been brought up that way, secure in her parents love, but her upbringing was very far from that. Griffin and his siblings and parents support each other at every turn, Cat’s siblings were forced to fight each other and their mother for their lives, and killing her sister scarred Cat’s psyche in unimaginable ways.
When she ran, aided by Thanos, and found the circus they became her family for many years, but she kept secret inside her talents, her magical skills. Then Griffin came into her life.

Griffin has been incredible, he’s ambitious, but not for power, for peace. He wants to reunite the fractured kindoms and stop all the fighting, the abouse by those in power, the cruelty and murders, but he’s happy to stand behind Cat, to take second place as he knows she’s meant to be the figurehead.
Turns out much of what he feels is real, that he and Cat were shaped for each other, given the skills to get this done but that doesn’t mean its plain sailing. They’ve come so far but still have a big battle in store, Cat’s mother won’t give up her kingdom easily, and Cat knows just how powerful she is.

I love the way this plays out, as with the other two books there are battles, both on a large scale, and small with just Cat, Griffin and sometimes some of the others from Elpis team.
There’s a backstabbing betrayal that comes as a shock, there are multiple times they face death and scrape by aided by one of the Gods, or by a talent they’ve gifted them in the past – nothing was ever free though, they had to prove they had the skills, they were right to hold that gift.

I love the way Amanda has dealt with my pet hate, when characters are right on the edge of losing and one of them gets a new power and miraculously is skilled and wins the day. Mostly she has them use powers we already know they have, having worked hard to refine the use of them. There are times when they are almost in the situation I’ve described, but they have to really think about, understand the consequences of using what they have, and often it doesn’t go right first time, or even fourth time, and they need a quick Godly rescue ūüėČ
I want my characters to have to work to win, to have to make tough choices, to really understand what it is their asking, doing, wanting.
I need them to practice to get the skills they need, not just whip them out of a hat at the tough moment, and Griffin ensures Cat and the rest of the team do all that.
There’s lots to understand to about him and Cat, why and how they are who they are, the consequences of their actions, their pasts and how that has affected them.

Of course it culminates in an amazing battle bringing in so much of whats gone down earlier in this book, and in the previous two.
I love stories that do that, build on events and characters, let them play a full role in how the story ends, not just a bit part along the way.

Way back when I read the first part of¬†Charlie N. Holmberg’s¬†¬†Magician trilogy, I wrote that I thought it would make a fantastic family film – and a couple of years later Disney picked it up.
I really think this trilogy would be a terrific film too, but more for new adults upwards. There are scenes between Cat and Griffin that are very sensual, which belong to the story, show their connection, but which would probably get toned down too much or disappear if this became a family film, and that would be a real loss IMO.

Stars: five, a fantastic trilogy, gripping, entertaining and one to keep.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Water Viper¬†,(Jesse Alexander 1), R.J. Blain

Water Viper ,(Jesse Alexander 1), R.J. Blain

Water Viper: A Jesse Alexander Novel by [Blain, RJ]

Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy

My first novel by this author, got it as part of some free book offer, I’d read the amazon sample and wanted to read more. Sadly I didn’t note exactly how I came by this book, just found I’d filed it in the review collection….

Its a long book at almost 500 pages, and usually I love long books but TBH at times this felt a bit Padded, a little too much Filler and ‚Äď heresy for me saying this ‚Äď I think if it had been a little more succinct it would have been better for me.
There were story-lines which looking back the day after finishing I can’t recall what was their purpose, nor what the resolution was in some of them. I’m thinking here of who was behind the second bounty/kidnapping attempt, the one where Henry and Anatoly find her? There are other parts too which were funny the first and second times but after a while….they got old. Its frustrating reading plots and then finding they don’t actually add anything to the story.
I didn’t see how on earth, even cleverly disguised, she thought she was still getting away with fooling everyone about who she really is/was when she was day to day living with people who she classed as friends, who knew her very well.

Set against those moans though was some subtle humour, some terrific characters, and a really interesting new world post Starfall, with a good mix of paranormal creatures. Sometimes the shifter/magic types stories feel like I’m reading the same ones but with minor plot changes and new names. This was very unusual and I really liked it.
Overall, even with my caveats, I really enjoyed the story, and would be happy to read more Jesse Alexander stories, or other characters set in this world. I think it has a lot of potential, and is an interesting take on a genre that can get tired from all the stories set in it.

Stars: Four, an interesting read, one I really enjoyed but which dragged at times, losing it a star.

 

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 ūüėČ its a fun short, a sexy and sensual quick escape into the supernatural world.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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 ūüôā 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 ūüôā 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

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, “‚Ķ. 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

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 ūüėČ

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

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
 

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