Tag Archive | shapeshifters

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

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ENTHRALL ME, Tamara Hogan

ENTHRALL ME, Tamara Hogan

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

Genre: sci-fi and fantasy, Romance

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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

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
 

Wolfsong, TJ Klune A story I bought!!

Wolfsong, TJ Klune

Wolfsong by [Klune, TJ]

Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance

I’ve been seeing recommendations for this story for a while now but you know what its like, there’s ARCs and KU, free books so actually buying one by an author whose work you don’t know if you like….well, for me it rarely happens even though I was very intrigued.
Then a few weeks back it was on sale at £1.49 so I bought it. Only got round to reading it last week and wow – what a book. Its kind of hard to review, one of those that defies categories.

It is Romance, but its a very slow burn and TBH though we know the two are going to get together they’re kids when we first meet them and have such a lot of growing to do, meeting others, just maturing. someone wrote criticising the sex, but I’m wracking my mind and all I can recall is one scene right at the very end.
Its M/M but the characters are so good that you don’t think of any of them specifally in terms of what sex they are, just that they are right for each other.
Its werewolf/Supernatural but again so much more. The werewolf/witch angle is just a part of who they are it doesn’t define any of them.

I adored Joe, been through so much and what a wonderful family. I got so angry at him at one point though I understood what he did but my heart broke for Ox.
And Ox, what a star he is, so truly good, loyal, despite the things that had happened to him, despite his awful father.
There’s lots more characters here, who fit the story so well, and I’d really like to read more about them – but seems they don’t have books. Yet – TJ Klune 😉

Its one of those books that are bittersweet when they end, where part of you is glad things worked out finally, and the other part just isn’t ready t leave the characters. Its a slow paced book, not an all action racey sex fest, but one where things develop over several years, where the story slowly expands, brings in more and more people and where Ox really grows into himself, becomes confident, where others see the strength and goodness that’s in him.

A wonderful story, one I’ll definitely re-read and I’ll be trying more from this author.

Stars: five, a fabulous, slow sensual read, with a great story building theme.

Betrayed by Blood, Beth Dranoff. Cutie and the Beast, Fae Out of Water 1, E.J. Russell


Betrayed by Blood, Beth Dranoff

Betrayed by Blood (Mark of the Moon) by [Dranoff, Beth]

Genre:  Sci-fi and Fantasy

I enjoyed the first book in this series, but had a few reservations. I still think Dana does a bit too much introspection, but its far less than in book one and the story feels as if it flows better to me. A bit more Show going on, less Tell 😉

Dana’s still working out how to live as a shape shifter, how to adapt to her new life. She’s still working at the bar, still having the occasional fling with Jon, and he’s still close to Claude. Clearly he isn’t an ex….

Sam, he’s around too. He would like it to be just him and Dana, but accepts Jon, while not liking it. He can see that commitment scares Dana so for now he’ll go with the flow. He’s not so happy though when an ex comes back on the scene, the guy who really let Dana down.

Seems the organisation she left has a job for her…but they need to get in line because a group of supernaturals also have a job for her. She’s kind of in a rock and hard place though, these are the kind of offers that don’t accept sorry, no can do as an answer….

Dana’s learning more about herself, about her heritage, her father, the strange tatts on her back, and of course her new life as a shape-shifter.

Busy time for her and means there’s a lot going on. she grows a lot over the course of this novel. She adapts to what she learns, grows to trust others and there’s less sex for the sake of it and more feeling comes across, though she still struggles with commitment. It made me wonder how she’d feel if she found Sam with someone else….

I found the action flowed better in this novel, that things fell into place easier, more naturally. It makes me want to know more, what’s really the secret, what do the tatts mean, and who wants the info? We know some of those answers now, but there’s still a whole lots we don’t know.

There’s less Pack stuff here, more emphasis on Dana herself and the secrets that surround her, the things she needs to know but doesn’t. I felt that made for an easier to follow book. I do like the Pack side and hope they feature in later books but for now keeping them as a minor side story felt right. I don’t mind complex, actually I love complex, but sometimes there’s a point when too much just spoils the story, just makes things confusing and that’s a bit how book one was for me.

The things I didn’t like? Well, pretty short list, mainly the “silly” stuff that I felt dragged the story down, the names and descriptions -Squid D’Le for example, felt too YA, too juvenile.

Can you imagine Mercy Thomson dealing with a weird tentacled crew, headed by a Squid D’Le? Kate Daniels slinging back Bloody Marys garnished with oil demon eyeballs, toenail clippings and frost nymph snot? Nope, nor can I…
The descriptions of some of the demons feels pretty much like that too. Can they be just frost demons, tentacled land evolved sea creatures? Nope they’re all kind of “pink, with blue spots, green horns, purple suckers, and six eyes, drooling acid yellow venomous slime..” kind of thing. Ditto the drinks and food. That really detracted from the story for me.

Its a good story, shaping up really well IMO but those silly bits let it down and make it hard to take seriously. Stories usually have either serious drama or comedy angles, but this feels like Beth has tried to incorporate both, and for me it doesn’t work.

It can be done, but its not easy, and doesn’t work here. Thankfully that’s only a small part of the story!

Stars: Four. Maybe four and a half, I can’t quite get past the silliness side…but yes, four and a half, its a real step up from book one and I do want to see what happens next.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Cutie and the Beast, Fae Out of Water 1, E.J. Russell

Cutie and the Beast (Fae Out of Water Book 1) by [Russell, E.J.]

Genre: LGBTQIA, Romance

I’ve enjoyed some of EJ’s stories before and love tales around Fae so was eager to read this.

Just didn’t work for me though, felt a little too “fluffy” and the characters too stereotyped. I couldn’t really get into it, didn’t care much about what happened to the people and it all just fell a bit flat for me.

A series that’s clearly not for me. won’t put me off reading different books by this author though. not all books suit all readers, even if we usually enjoy someone’s wring style.

 

Stars: Two, I’ll pass on the rest of this series but still look out for E.J Russell’s other stories.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Drakon’s Plunder, N.J. Walters

Drakon’s Plunder, N.J. Walters

Drakon's Plunder (Blood of the Drakon) by [Walters, N.J.]

Genre:  Romance,

First thing to say is that I didn’t realise this was the third book in a series.
I was still able to follow the story, and the characters from the earlier books are referred to here, but not having read them didn’t mean I lost the plot so to speak! They look interesting though so maybe a future read?

Anyway, Sam. I liked her. She’d had a tough time as an only child losing both parenst and regarded her mentor highly. He was killed, and having discovered it was a group called Knights of the Dragon, she wants vengeance.
They think she’s a simple archaeologist, don’t know of her talent for sensing powerful objects and she’s keeping it that way. She’s under no illusions about what type of people they are and what they plan for her, but she’s out to stop them getting their hands on whatever is on the wreck. If they want it then its too powerful for them to have it is her thought, and she’s out to stop them any way she can.
She’s a great lead, strong and determined with a definite sense of whats morally right.

Then things go wrong, and she finds herself with a strange man, in a place that’s unfamiliar. Slowly what happened comes back to her, but she doesn’t know if she can trust him or if he belongs to the Knights group.
He’s being very cagey which doesn’t help, but that’s because he doesn’t know whether he can trust her. He’s got a lot to hide, and a lot to lose if he gets it wrong.
I liked Ezra, hiding in plain sight, very close to his brothers and their mates, he’s surprised at the possessiveness he feels for Sam. The Drakon’s Tears…I loved that tough.
Between all that there’s this sensual thread of arousal spinning between them….

Its a good read, a step up from the Human meets Shifter/Vampire/Supernatural of some sort that dominates the best sellers. Clearly readers love them, but I need a bit more story to my romance and this book delivers.
Its not as solid a story as a Mercy Thompson or Kate Daniels read, but it’s an entertaining novel, in a series that sounds to build on each book with a stronger overall story. I do like those.

Stars: four, interesting and absorbing read with an unusual shifter type. Lots of sensual heat and spice too.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Ashes of the Phoenix, Jess Haines

Ashes of the Phoenix, Jess Haines

Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy

I’ve enjoyed a few of Jess’ novels so I know I like her writing style, so was pleased to see a new book out.

I didn’t realise it was so short, just 109 pages, and it feels like a novella prequel type read, where author sets out what’s to come.
We’ve vampires (air, water, fire,earth, the good, the bad and the ugly – every version you can imagine, and weres’ of all types, a few ghosts, zombies ( though I avoid them) but I can only rememeber reading one novel set around a phoenix. Seen them as secondary characters before but here Lyra is the lead, and she’s also the phoenix. This is the tale of how she became that way.

Its a fun read, kind of plot light, its really just an intro to characters we’ll hopefully meet later. I can’t find anything for definite but it feels like the opening to a sereis and I do hope I’m right.

Stars: four, a good intro to a new world.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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