Genre: General

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Wrath of the Goddess – Lauren Dane 4 stars

June 10, 2019 Boookluvr Reads, Carina Press, NetGalley, Uncategorized 1

Wrath of the Goddess – Lauren Dane 4 starsWrath of the Goddess by Lauren Dane
Published by Carina Press on June 10, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Urban, Romance, Paranormal, Vampires, General
Pages: 315
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads

Rowan Summerwaite is back—and more than a little pissed off—in Wrath of the Goddess, the fifth installment in New York Times bestselling author Lauren Dane’s Goddess with a Blade series.

You can’t keep a vengeful woman down for long.

Rowan Summerwaite, elite hunter and human vessel to the goddess Brigid, has returned home to Las Vegas—and she’s mad as hell. It seems someone thought they could eliminate Rowan and everyone she holds dear.

That someone was dead wrong.

With tensions between paranormal factions at an all-time high, Rowan and her crew, along with her sexy Vampire Scion husband, Clive Stewart, have their work cut out for them. The Vampire Nation has at least one traitor in their midst, leaving them extremely vulnerable…but if it’s a war they want, Rowan’s prepared to bring the pain like never before.

Rowan knows her duty is to those she’s sworn to protect, but it seems the harder she fights, the more barriers she hits…and the more friends she loses.

With even her closest alliances in question, Rowan will have to accept that sometimes the path toward the greater good means making heartrending sacrifices along the way…

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

And see how Rowan’s fight began in Goddess with a Blade, Blade to the Keep, Blade on the Hunt and At Blade’s Edge, available now!

This book is approximately 82,000 words

I was late to the table reading the Goddess With A Blade series since I didn’t pick it up until 2018. But once I did, it was love at first sight. And while the entire series is amazing, there is one reason that I fell in love with this series and that reason is Rowan Fucking Summerwaite. Rowan is the best kind of heroine in my opinion. She is prickly, sarcastic and a bad-ass that takes no shit from anyone. Bottom line in, she’s my version of heroine catnip.

Wrath of the Goddess has been my favorite installment in the series to date. Not only did I get all the elements of Rowan that I love but there was so much more than that. Rowan has had no shortage of trauma and touch situations in her life, but in this books the situations she encounters target her in a way that makes her realize how vulnerable she has been come in ways she never planned for. No matter how hard Rowan has tried to be a one woman show and how hard she fought emotional entanglements she has found herself surrounded by friends and found family. While these people to keep her safe they are also a source of vulnerability that she didn’t ever want someone to use against her.

I loved that Rowan didn’t fall back on the approach she has taken in the past by trying to deal with things on her own. Even though she was scared that more people she cared about would end up hurt, she relied on her friends and family to help her clean up the mess once and for all. I loved growth that showed in her character especially because it didn’t dilute the elements of her personality that made her who she was.

Wrath of a Goddess was an exhilarating ride with a satisfying conclusion and as always I can’t wait for the next installment.

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The Unhoneymooners – Christina Lauren 3 stars

May 13, 2019 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Uncategorized 1

The Unhoneymooners – Christina Lauren 3 starsThe Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Published by Simon and Schuster on May 14, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Women, General
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads

For two sworn enemies, anything can happen during the Hawaiian trip of a lifetime—maybe even love—in this romantic comedy from the New York Times bestselling authors of Roomies.

Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion . . . she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.

Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.

Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is . . . Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.

With Christina Lauren’s “uniquely hilarious and touching voice” (Entertainment Weekly), The Unhoneymooners is a romance for anyone who has ever felt unlucky in love.

Deciding on a rating for The Unhoneymooners was tough. I really enjoyed the first 75% of the book. It was a trope I love (forced proximity), the main characters were endearing and it was lighthearted fun. That’s pretty much everything I could ask for from a romantic comedy.

If you don’t want spoilers you will want to skip what’s left of this review. What happened in the last 25% of this book you may ask? Major gaslighting by the people closest to Olive, the heroine in this book. You see, Olive found out that her new brother-in-law has been cheating on her sister for years from his brother who is the hero in this book. He pressured her not to say anything to her sister and Olive intended to honor that request after convincing herself she might not know everything about their relationship. Olive didn’t one want to embarrass her sister or strain the relationships of those she cared the most about so regardless of all of her misgivings she was going to keep her mouth shut.

Here is where my entire opinion of this book changes. We keep getting glimpses into how Dane (the brother-in-law) has been making comments to everyone about how negative Olive is. He has convinced her twin sister and Ethan that she is always looking for problems even where there are none. I am sure you can see where this is going, but it’s worse than you imagine. Dane is so confidence that nobody will believe Olive that he not only pretends there is no issue, but he propositions Olive. At this point Olive realizes that she has to say something to her Ami (her sister). She tells both Ethan and Ami everything and NEITHER OF THEM BELIEVE HER. I wanted to launch my kindle at the wall.

In the end of course, both Ethan and Ami discover that Dane was in fact a scumbag and apologize profusely but you know what? I DON’T CARE! When I look back on the last couple of years and all of the stories of gaslighting that were in the news I just don’t want it in my romance unless it involves a character that you don’t expect me to see as redeemed. Obviously other readers could feel completely differently, but for me reality is hard enough right now. I don’t want to deal with all of it in the same place I am going to find a guaranteed HEA.

The bottom line is, I wish The Unhoneymooners was a choose your own adventure book where I could pick an alternate ending. If the resolution had been handled differently I think I would have loved it.

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American Witch – Thea Harrison 3 1/2 stars

May 5, 2019 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Uncategorized 1

American Witch – Thea Harrison 3 1/2 starsAmerican Witch by Thea Harrison
Published by Teddy Harrison LLC on April 29, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, General, Suspense, Fantasy
Pages: 334
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Thea Harrison comes the first in a new spellbinding trilogy…

Power can change a person…

For months Molly Sullivan endures the inexplicable: electrical surges, car breakdowns, visions. She even wonders if she might be the cause… and wonders if she might be crazy. Then she discovers her husband has cheated on her. Again. Now Molly realizes she is a newly awakening witch and a woman pushed over the edge.

Revenge can shape a person…

Josiah Mason is a Powerful witch and the leader of a secret coven with a shared goal: to destroy an ancient enemy who has ruined many lives. Josiah lost years to this man, and his sole focus is revenge. He’s prepared for every contingency—except encountering a beautiful new witch who understands nothing of the immense Power building within her or the attraction she wields over him.

Danger can bring them together…

When divorcing her husband, Molly uncovers a dangerous secret he’s willing to kill to protect. She turns to Josiah for help, and they discover a connection between Molly’s husband and Josiah’s enemy.

As they work together, a spark ignites between them that threatens to become an inferno. But Molly is done compromising herself for any man, and Josiah’s mission is his top priority. And the enemy is cunning, cruel, and drawing ever closer.

As the danger escalates, so does the tension between them. Is a lasting relationship possible? Will either of them live long enough to try?

Can you imagine what it would be like to suddenly come into power as a witch at 40 years old, especially if you didn’t know you were a witch? That’s exactly what happens to Molly Sullivan in American Witch. As if that wasn’t traumatic enough, this discovery comes right on the heals of finding out that her husband has been cheating on her. I don’t know about you, but if I were in her shoes I would likely to torch the bastard with my new powers under those circumstances.

I adored Molly. After coming to terms with everything she was determined to reinvent herself . She developed a spine of steel and took no shit from anyone even though in many instances there was a power imbalance.

I was wary when Molly started dreaming about a woman telling her to come visit because I thought for sure it would be a trap of some sort. But the relationship between Sarah and Molly was the highlight of the book. Sarah was such a kind and nurturing and was exactly the loving presence that Molly needed and frankly deserved in her life. After being raised by a wretched excuse for a mother and marrying a scumbag of a husband she needed a genuine friendship to allow her to heal and find her true self.

There were a couple things I didn’t care for in this book. The first was Josiah. Sure he did a lot of things to help Molly and fell in love with her but he spent a lot of time being an asshole. Even after he acknowledged his feelings for Molly, anytime he got irritated he became an irrational jerk. I’m all about a surly hero but in my opinion he took it too far.

The second thing I didn’t like was the surprise event in the book (I don’t want to spoil it for those that haven’t read it yet). I couldn’t quite tell if I was supposed to see that as a fated moment based on the fact they were meant to be together or whether it was supposed to be a series of random events that resulted in that outcome. If it wasn’t some fated experience it just felt too contrived because I saw it coming a mile away. I get why it was a plot point because I think it was the only thing that was going to convince Josiah to evaluate who he had become, I just found the way it too place a little too convenient.

All in all I think this was a good introduction to a new series by Thea Harrison and I look forward to reading future installments of this series and I hope eventually we will get to see Molly and Josiah interact with characters of the Wyr and Nightkind. Can you imagine Molly and Carling teaming up at some point?

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Diamond Fire – Ilona Andrews 4 stars

November 5, 2018 Uncategorized 2

Diamond Fire – Ilona Andrews 4 starsDiamond Fire by Ilona Andrews
Published by HarperCollins on November 6, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, General, Fantasy
Pages: 384
Goodreads

Nevada Frida Baylor and Connor Ander Rogan cordially invite you to join their wedding celebration. Summoning, weather manipulation, and other magical activities strictly forbidden.

Catalina Baylor is looking forward to wearing her maid of honor dress and watching her older sister walk down the aisle.  Then the wedding planner gets escorted off the premises, the bride’s priceless tiara disappears, and Rogan's extensive family overruns his mother’s home.  Someone is cheating, someone is lying, and someone is plotting murder.

To make this wedding happen, Catalina will have to do the thing she fears most: use her magic.  But she’s a Baylor and there’s nothing she wouldn't do for her sister's happiness.  Nevada will have her fairy tale wedding, even if Catalina has to tear the mansion apart brick by brick to get it done.

I don’t think it’s a secret that I love all things Ilona Andrews so Hidden Legacy is no exception.  Not only do I enjoy the hell out of the characters the authors have created, but I also enjoy the concept of the magic world they have created.  Each book exposes us to a new set of powers, many I would have never come up with.

Diamond Fire is the latest installment in the Hidden Legacy world.  It’s an entertaining novella with a whodunit mixed in with what ends up feeling like the dysfunctional family olympics.  When it becomes clear members of Mad Rogan’s family are out to sabotage the wedding between Mad and Nevada, Catalina makes it her mission to make sure that the wedding goes off without a hitch.  As if that wasn’t challenging enough, she has to pull all of that off while making sure her sister has no idea that any of this treachery is taking place.

It was fun to see Catalina in more of a young adult role.  While we still get glimpses of the same vulnerability that stem both from her age and her powers, we also get to see her accept her powers and take the first step into the no doubt powerful woman she will become.  I don’t know about you, but I had never considered how her powers would have affected her childhood.  It gave me an entire new perspective on who Catalina is and why she is scared of using her powers.  It felt as though this novella was positioning Catalina to have her own future stories and I hope that is the case.  The glimpses we got into what her power can do when she exercises made it clear she will be a powerhouse in her own right.  As scared as people are of Nevada’s powers, I can only imagine what their reaction will be to Catalina’s.

The family dysfunction olympics in this book was really something to behold.  It’s a wonder that Mad and his mother are remotely well-adjusted when the rest of those people were such a piece of work.  I guess the good news is, Nevada and her family don’t have to worry that their drama is too much for the Rogan’s.

If you could live in the Hidden Legacy universe, what magic power would you have?

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Magic Triumphs – Ilona Andrews 5 stars

August 28, 2018 Ace, Boookluvr Reads 2

Magic Triumphs – Ilona Andrews 5 starsMagic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews
Published by Penguin on August 28, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Urban, Romance, Paranormal, General, Action & Adventure
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Goodreads

Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can't-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She's made friends and enemies. She's found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later, a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate's doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows their time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.

I don’t think I can possibly review Magic Triumphs without telling you a little bit about my journey with the Kate Daniels series as a whole.  You see, Stephanie aka @sac402 for those of you are on twitter, had recommended lots of books to me over the years.  Some I have immediately picked up and devoured while others she had to nag me repeatedly to get me to read.  Hilariously, those books/series that she has to fight me on generally end up being some of my favorites and land on my comfort reread list.

The first book in the Kate Daniels series, Magic Bites, was one of the books that Steph had to badger me about.  She had struggled getting through book one herself but swore the series was amazing after that and insisted that I read it.  I started and stopped Magic Bites five times before I finally finished it because it just wasn’t clicking for me.  I just couldn’t figure out why Steph and so many others that I knew loved the series.  That was until I started reading book two.  From that point on I couldn’t get enough.  I plowed through the rest of the series and couldn’t wait for the next installments to come out.   Additionally, I reread the entire series at least twice a year.  I finally understood the love that everyone had for this series.

Leading up to reading Magic Triumphs, I read the entire series again.  I am always blown away by all the plot points that are in each of the books that played a part in this final book.  I don’t know how they managed, I just imagine their walls are covered with post-it notes.  And while it is sad to that Magic Triumphs is the last chapter in the series, Kate and Curran enjoy their HEA after everything they have been through!

I loved the different sides of Kate that we got to see in this book.  Kate has always been such a badass and ready to take on whatever crisis comes her way, but seeing Kate as a mother brought a whole new element to her character.  I loved seeing her worried about everyday situations like all first time moms and having members of the pack give her grief about it was a hoot!

I was reminded again why there is no better man for Kate than Curran.  I can’t imagine anyone as unflappable as him especially with the chaos that comes with being connected to Kate.  Gods, warlords, dragons, no sweat.  He literally eats all of those challenges for breakfast.

I had pretty big expectations for what Kate and Curran’s child would be like but I didn’t do him justice.  I loved the fact he was just as innocent as you would expect a toddler to be while still being the perfect combination of Kate and Curran.  Can you imagine the trouble that a toddler who can shift into a lion, hold his warrior form and create blood claws is going to get into?  I have my fingers crossed that we will get to see more of him in adjacent series.  If Curran thought Kate drove him nuts forcing him to count to ten, just imagine what Conlan will do!

One thing that I always had trouble imagining with this series was how the Roland story arc would ever be resolved.  The power dynamic was too unbalanced between Kate and Roland for me to ever see her beating Roland in a battle and given that his life force was tied to hers, it isn’t like he could decide to let her win (not that I think he would).  I also couldn’t ever see Kate taking that final step to kill Roland even if it wouldn’t result in her own death.  Kate has struggled with her feelings for Roland sure, but she also loved him and I think she would have always hesitated to take that final step.  I should have known that Ilona would not disappoint. The way they resolved the Roland situation was absolutely perfect.   It allowed the conflict to be resolved while leaving the door open for story arcs in The Iron Covenant and Grey Wolf series.  I don’t want to give anything away so I’ll  leave it at that.

So as is only appropriate, thank you Steph for bring this series into my life and beating me over the head with it until I finally read it.

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Wild Hunger – Suzanne Wright 2.5 stars

May 29, 2018 Boookluvr Reads, NetGalley, Read in 2018, Uncategorized 1

Wild Hunger – Suzanne Wright 2.5 starsWild Hunger by Suzanne Wright
Series: Phoenix Pack #7
Published by Montlake Genres: Action & Adventure, Fiction, General, Paranormal, Romance, Shifters
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

two-half-stars




three-half-flames

When half–wolf shifter Frankie Newman receives an e-mail from a family member she didn’t know existed, a secret is revealed: as a child, Frankie witnessed her father killing her mother…and then himself. Frankie was torn from her pack by her mother’s human relatives, and the trauma was erased from her memory. Realizing that she’s been lied to her entire life, she’s never felt more alone. Until she catches the scent of an old friend—warmly familiar and intoxicating.

Trick Hardy, enforcer of the Phoenix Pack, can sense the rush of mutual attraction when he sees Frankie again. He knows immediately that she’s his true mate. But he also knows that, given her fragile state, he needs to tread with care—no matter how fierce his surging desires.

As aroused as Frankie is by Trick’s darkly dominant air and simmering desire, her priority right now is her past—not her future, no matter how tempting. But as more secrets emerge and Frankie’s life is threatened, Trick must do everything he can to keep her close and safe. After all, it’s their destiny.

Like lots of PNR fans, I am a fan of Suzanne Wright’s shifter series.  They are always follow the predictable format that makes them the cracky goodness I enjoy.  Wild Hunger delivered on all of the items readers have come to expect:

  • Fated mates – check
  • Super possessive alpha heroes – check
  • Snarky humor among pack mates, often at the expense of Greta who rightfully deserves it – check
  • Some flavor of bad guy or guys that ultimately threaten the heroine and/or the pack in general but who are ultimately defeated – check
  • Over the top sexual references and the notion of saving your ass for your mate – check

The story had all the elements that I look for in Wright’s books and would have gotten a higher ranking from me if it weren’t for one major problem.

You see, in Wild Hunger we are reminded multiple times that the hero of this story, Trick, has had a past that included sleeping with both men women.  Rock on, bring on the bisexual heroes you say and I agree.  Unfortunately rather than either opting not to specifically state that Trick is bisexual because the label is needed when we know his history or stating that Trick is bisexual, the story seems to make a point to make a statement that Trick isn’t gay.  Below are a couple of examples of this:

  • When a man who Trick has hooked up with in the past attempts to make the heroine question whether she will really be able to give Trick what he needs, she tells him that Trick isn’t gay.  When he doesn’t believe her she says “I’m pretty sure he’s straighter than the pole you dance on every Saturday.”
  • When Frankie (the heroine) is talking to a female member of the pack about the exchange above, the female packmate says “Seeing you and Trick together will have made him face that Trick isn’t gay, wich means he also had to face that you’re able to give Trick something he can’t give him – not unless he’s interested in a sex change anyway.

I just don’t understand why the author opted to address Trick’s sexuality this way when the fact that pack mates have hooked up with each other is openly known and accepted.  Clearly men and women both do it for Trick, why is there any need to make it about being or not being gay?

I hope that we will see this topic handled more appropriately in the future because I would hate to need to stop reading a series that I have enjoyed for years.

two-half-stars

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A Rancher’s Heart – Vivian Arend – 4 stars

May 21, 2018 Read in 2018, Sent, Steph 1

I received this book for free from the Author . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A Rancher’s Heart – Vivian Arend – 4 starsA Rancher's Heart by Vivian Arend
Published by Arend Publishing Inc. on November 16, 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General, Western, Humorous
Pages: 344
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

four-stars




three-half-flames

This cowboy has given up on love, but the new nanny might just make him change his mind. The first in a brand-new series from New York Times bestselling author Vivian Arend.  

Caleb Stone is wearing too many hats and it’s making him crankier than usual. He’s a cowboy, a father, and the head of his large family—and has been since tragedy claimed his parents over ten years ago. The ranch is struggling, but it's the title of single dad that’s got him tangled up in knots. He needs a full-time, live-in nanny at the Silver Stone homestead in Heart Falls, Alberta, to help with his two little girls, but the woman about to arrive on his doorstep? Tantalizing, tempting, and trouble with capital T’s.

Tamara Coleman doesn’t regret the choices that led to losing her job, but she definitely needs a fresh start. When a friend recommends her for a nanny position in a new town, she swears this time it’ll be different. No more acting on impulse—except sexy, gruff Caleb is exactly the kind of man who pushes all her buttons. And what’s more, it’s so much fun to push his in return. Sparks fly between Tamara and her gorgeous boss, but she can’t risk her position, and he doesn’t dare risk his heart.

With two people fighting their true natures, something’s going to give. Luckily, there’s more than one way to capture a rancher’s heart.

I blame school for how long this took me to read but I am happy that I read this one and was able to jump right in to book two immediately.  We first met Tamara in the Coleman series but this is where we really get to see who she is while also seeing a new family and area.

There is a lot of heart in this one with two girls who need someone to be their advocate while making sure that both of them have their own voice.  Tamara is the right person for the job as she recognizes the behavior and makes sure to gently work on a healthier dynamic.  She also recognizes how badly she wants Caleb while at the same time not wanting to ruin this second chance.  I quite enjoyed her heart and how badly she tried to make up for the girls’ mom (I can’t even with that woman).

Caleb was wonderfully surly but charming… he was so badly burned by his ex and while he tries to avoid what he wants from Tamara…  well we all know how that turns out.  I liked him but didn’t always like his actions even though I understood them.  He really wants to do the best he can for his entire family but he at times goes about it in the worst way.  He is very attentive once he lets his need for Tamara to the surface.  I quite enjoyed how much they wanted one another but also how much they worked together to make sure that the girls were always taken care of.  This is something that I found endearing as they had been thru so much in such a short time.

This is a bit short but I did quite enjoy the introduction to this family and I think you will too.  Go grab this!!

four-stars

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Archangel’s Viper – Nalini Singh 5 stars

September 26, 2017 Boookluvr Reads, Read in 2017 2

Archangel’s Viper – Nalini Singh 5 starsArchangel's Viper by Nalini Singh
Published by Penguin Publishing Group on September 26th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, General, Science Fiction
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

five-stars




Enter New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh's breathtakingly passionate Guild Hunter world with the story of a woman who isn't a vampire or an angel...or human...   Once a broken girl known as Sorrow, Holly Chang now prowls the shadowy gray underground of the city for the angels. But it's not her winged allies who make her a wanted woman--it's the unknown power coursing through her veins. Brutalized by an insane archangel, she was left with the bloodlust of a vampire, the ability to mesmerize her prey, and a poisonous bite.   Now, someone has put a bounty on her head...   Venom is one of the Seven, Archangel Raphael's private guard, and he's as infuriating as he is seductive. A centuries-old vampire, his fangs dispense a poison deadlier than Holly's. But even if Venom can protect Holly from those hunting her, he might not be able to save himself--because the strange, violent power inside Holly is awakening...   No one is safe.

You’ll have to pardon my fangirling for a moment, but with some books/authors it simply can’t be helped.  I love Nalini Singh’s PNR books!  It doesn’t matter if I am in the middle of another book, when a new Guild Hunter or Psy-Changeling  book comes out I immediately start reading it.  PNR worlds can be tricky (especially first books) because so much of the story centers on the building or description of the world and I can find myself struggling to feel connected enough to the main characters of the story because I am so focused on the world.   I am always amazed that given how detailed the worlds in both series are, I didn’t feel that frustration or disconnect from the story.  Nalini’s world always seems to provide the detail needed to connect you to her characters rather than take away from the.  She does such an outstanding job bringing details like color, texture, taste and emotion to life in her books that you can almost feel the backdrops she describes.  Every description brings you further into the world of her characters and bonds you to them so that you feel every emotion along with them.  Given that, it’s no wonder both series are a favorite re-read for so many readers.

Archangel’s Viper was such a wonderful installment to the Guild Hunter series.  I have been looking forward to seeing Holly and Viper since Holly was introduced to us as Sorrow.  Their back and forth banter made me hopeful that they would be paired up later in the series once Holly had time to heal, so I was thrilled when this book was announced.

I loved seeing how far Holly came since we last saw her.  Her confidence, determination and attitude were delightful.  The emphasis on her clothing and accessories gave us a glimpse not just into who Holly is today, but who she was prior to being thrust into the world of angels and vampires.  The back and forth between Holly and Viper made me smile because they truly had a dynamic that was simply their own.  When the everyone else was still treating Holly with kid gloves in some ways, Viper never shied away from treating her like his equal.  Whether that meant telling Holly truths she may not want to see, or physically testing her limits, it showed us how much confidence Viper had in Holly’s ability to exist in their world.

My favorite elements of this story (without spoilers) were:

  • Ashwini programming ringtones in Holly’s phone.  I love seeing the playfulness between such powerful beings.
  • All the nicknames Holly and Viper had for each other.  To others these may have seemed like insults, but in the end it was a way for the two of them to establish a subtle intimacy before they even realized what was happening.
  • Holly’s dislike for Viper’s sunglasses.  I love that a feature that made Viper seem so alien was something that never deterred Holly.  She was not only fascinated by his eyes and their behavior, but could read his eyes ina  way that other’s seemed unable to do.  While Viper didn’t believe his eyes reflected emotion in the same way that most eyes do, with Holly that wasn’t the case.
  • The details of Viper’s home that called out to both he and Holly.  Given that otherness of Viper I don’t think I realized how important it would be that whoever he ended up with would be drawn to some of the same comforts.
  • Viper absolutely melted my heart when he cooked for Holly.  Seriously, a vampire that doesn’t eat who goes out of his way to not just prepare food, but meals that were either centered around dishes that he knew Holly liked based on observing her or those that were a bridge to his own past.  Each one was prepared with such care that it was one of the most romantic scenes I have ever read.
  • The flavored blood that Ashwini sent with Venom.  This to me is an example of such a subtle detail making a world of difference to the story.  Listening to Venom describe the flavors and the memories associated with them (especially given his taste for flavored blood) humanized him in a way that I wasn’t prepared for.
  • The glimpses into Holly’s relationship with Dimitri.  Given his painful past, I love that he has become a father figure to Holly and Naasir.
  • Holly and Viper playing in Central Park.  That scene did such a good job showing us how alike Holly and Venom were, and it was the first time we got to see Holly let her abilities surface in a playful way.
  • That Venom gave Holly his true name.  To me it was symbolic of his final wall coming down between them.  It was the moment where I knew that Holly had his heart for eternity no matter what came next.

Fans of the Guild Hunter series will not be disappointed with this latest installment, and I dare say may find Viper their favorite hero in the entire series (sorry Dimitri 🙂 ).  To those that haven’t read any books in the series yet, I have only one thing to say… What Are You Waiting For?!

five-stars

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All or Nothing at All – Jennifer Probst – 3 stars

July 25, 2017 Boookluvr Reads, Gallery Books, NetGalley, Read in 2017 1

All or Nothing at All – Jennifer Probst – 3 starsAll or Nothing at All by Jennifer Probst
Published by Gallery Books on July 25th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, General
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

three-stars




HGTV’s Property Brothers meets The Marriage Bargain in this third novel in the Billionaire Builders series, an all-new sexy contemporary romance from New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Probst.

***Warning, this review will contain a pretty major spoiler.  I felt the topic needed to be touched on in the review, so if you haven’t read the book and don’t want spoilers, come back after you’ve had a chance to read the book 🙂 ***

 

For readers of the Billionaire Builders series, I am sure that you, like me, saw some elements of this story line coming a mile away.  It was clear that Tristan and Sydney would be the focus of his book, and given the glimpses that we have had of Sydney’s daughter Becca, that we would be looking at a secret baby romance.   Secret baby story lines can be tough because the author must impress upon the reader that the choice of keeping a child from their father was justifiable at the time, and that given the circumstances the hero would be able to forgive the heroine for her decision enough to finally have their HEA.   This criteria wasn’t completely met for me in All or Nothing at All which I will get into further later in the review.

In the 3rd installment of the Billionaire Builders series,  the book begins by showing us the moment that Tristan left town, and Sydney 7 years ago.  This glimpse helps set the stage for why they have such off the charts chemistry and so many unresolved issues as we move into the present.  These flashbacks continue throughout the book showing the reader scenes from both character’s perspective all the way from childhood through recent events.  While I think these flashbacks help demonstrate the history that the characters have with each other and how integrated Sydney was in their family, I do think they were too frequent and not all necessary to help the reader understand the dynamics between the characters.

The main plot point in this book is that when Tristan and Sydney once again find themselves considering a relationship, everything implodes when Sydney reveals to Tristan that he is in fact Becca’s father.  While I understood how Sydney would feel a momentary sense of panic given Tristan’s desire to leave his home to move to NYC, I didn’t buy in to this being a justifiable reason to keep his child from him for 7 years.  Sydney wasn’t just keeping Becca from Tristan when she made this decision, but also the rest of the Pierce family.  Given how much a part of the family Sydney was and how much she professed to love them all, this was where the story line didn’t fit for me.  She has worked in the Pierce family business all this time, spent time with Cal and Dalton (Tristan’s brothers) and yet never once seemed to second guess her decision.  In the end I felt that Sydney had made an extremely selfish decision because regardless of what would have happened between her and Tristan, she would have had a support system in the rest of the family.

While the secret baby wasn’t as well done as I had hoped, I enjoyed seeing Tristan and Sydney come back together and work out their issues.  The forced wedding angle was a bit over the top for me, but it did serve as a catalyst to keep them in close proximity.  It was also enjoyable to see Cal and Morgan’s wedding in this book.  Picturing that wedding dance sure gave me a chuckle.  I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see Dalton and Raven’s engagement but I realize not everything was going to get tied up in this book.

I am a little sad to know that this series is finished because I did enjoy the brothers.  Seeing how far they have come in their relationships with each other was the most heartwarming part of All or Nothing at All for me.

If you have thoughts on this book or the series in general, I would love to hear them!

 

 

three-stars

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Audiobook – Goddess with a Blade – Lauren Dane – 4.5 stars

July 17, 2017 Audiobook, Listened to in 2017, Steph 1

Audiobook – Goddess with a Blade – Lauren Dane – 4.5 starsGoddess With a Blade by Lauren Dane
Published by Carina Press on June 6th 2011
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Urban, Romance, Paranormal, General
Pages: 265
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads

four-half-stars




Rowan Summerwaite is no ordinary woman. Physical vessel to the Celtic Goddess Brigid and raised by the leader of the Vampire Nation, she's a supercharged hunter with the power to slay any vampire who violates the age-old treaty.

A recent string of murders has her at odds with Las Vegas's new Scion, the arrogant and powerful Clive Stewart. The killings have the mark of Vampire all over them, and Rowan warns Clive to keep his people in line—or she'll mete out her own brand of justice.

Though her dealings with Clive are adversarial to say the least, Rowan is intensely aware of her attraction to him. But she can't let it distract her from her duty—to find and battle the killer before more women die.

73,000 words

Ok I know I am late to the party on this series but I ADORED the banter between our leads as they fight their attraction to one another and the strong dislike they also have regarding their roles in society.  There is something refreshing about characters who are open and honest about who they are with no apologies for their actions if they are what is needed.  They both apologize for items that are out of line but they do not back down as they do what they were meant to do.

Rowan is the vessel for an ancient Celtic goddess and was raised in the service of the First.  The First is an ancient vampire who considers Rowan to be his daughter even though she now is tasked with killing those vampires who kill humans or break the treaty that keeps the various races in balance.  She’s tough and is not looking for anything other than to make sure that the new North American Scion understands what she’s supposed to do and stays out of her way.  She meets Clive and immediately dislikes him not only for being a vampire but for being an insufferable, stick-up-his-ass jerk who thinks he is all mighty and powerful.  She works to figure out who is this latest rogue vampire with help from her crew but keeps having to deal with Clive and the attraction that she feels for someone she shouldn’t want.  I loved watching her jump in to things without regard for her own safety but seeing Clive try to get thru to her how much she means to those around her was enjoyable.

Clive is such a damn asshole… yes… a damn snobby, stick-in-the-mud and stick-up-his-ass asshole.  Yet, I found myself enjoying him as we got to see more of who he is.  He’s not fond of meeting this Hunter as she killed his predecessor (yes it was definitely deserved) but he’s taken aback as he finds himself drawn to her.  He’s very protective of his people and very fierce when it comes to protecting the Vampire Nation even as he knows there are things Rowan should be let in on in order to more efficiently and effectively do her job.  I loved seeing his fierceness as he fights to get her to not go off on her own trying to find the killer in their midst but ultimately failing as she will do her job no matter the cost.  Clive is someone you learn to love as the series progresses as he may be a fuddy duddy in some respects but damn if the man cannot get dirty with the best of them.  There is a reason why he is in the position he is in and it isn’t just because he is a good businessman.  He’s ruthless and deadly but when it comes to Rowan he is such a damn romantic man.

The good news is by waiting so long to start the series all the books are out so you can read them back to back but I do warn you … you will scream when you get to the last one and I hope that Lauren Dane is able to get back to this world soon as I adore the characters and want to see more of the story that is still out there.

four-half-stars

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