Review: Holiday Heat: the Men of Starlight Bend

Review: Holiday Heat: the Men of Starlight BendHoliday Heat: The Men of Starlight Bend by Jennifer Ashley, Jennifer Probst, Erin Quinn, Calista Fox, Mary Leo
Series: Riding Hard #3.5
on November 8th 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 241
Goodreads
four-stars

This is an anthology of 5 novellas which all take place in the small town of Starlight Bend.  They are connected only by the setting, a special Santa and a town Wishing Tree for needy children.

SNOWBOUND IN STARLIGHT BEND by Jennifer Ashley: In this city girl/country boy story, Haley McKee is a CEO from Seattle who ends up stranded in Starlight Bend during a snowstorm. Maddox Campbell rescues her. Maddox is a horse trainer of stunt horses (he provides them to his cousins in Texas — the Riding Hard series Campbells). Maddox has been hurt before by a woman who wouldn’t stay in Starlight Bend and it looks like history might be repeating itself. This was a good story.  Maddox is a good man who has a crusty exterior and a heart of mush.  Haley is a woman who has made a name for herself, but doesn’t have a real purpose to her life. The two are funny and spirited together. This was a very enjoyable tale of two mismatched people.  My only complaint is that I wish there was some view of what their life ultimately would be like because it is hard to figure out how Haley will be happy in town outside of her relationship with Maddox.  Rating: 4 stars.

THE LONG GONE GIRL OF STARLIGHT BEND by Erin Quinn: Kari Dale is a burned out wanderer who co-owns a chain of men’s clothing stores. She has come to Starlight Bend to open a new store and then intends to move on. Tyler Timberlake is a high school history teacher who was born in Starlight Bend, left to pursue bigger dreams, but ended up returning to his hometown to find purpose. This story was good.  The themes of home versus leaving, dreams versus love are well developed in various levels. Kari and Ty are sweet and hot together. I loved the complexity of this story. Rating: 4 stars.

HIS ANGEL OF STARLIGHT BEND by Calista Fox: Dr. Anna Voss is vet in Starlight Bend. One day a boy named Jake comes to her office interested in the animals.  It turns out Jake’s father is the man that Anna loved as a young woman and has never forgotten. Dr. Nicholas Hoffman is a neurosurgeon from New York. He spent time with his grandmother in Starlight Bend but eventually left the town and Anna. The two have loved one another and yet their lives have always seemed to be going in different directions. This was one of my favorite stories of the anthology. These two seem destined to both love one another and be apart. I loved that the story showed that love alone is not enough and being together takes will and determination. Rating: 4.5 stars.

ROPIN’ THE LONE COWBOY OF STARLIGHT BEND by Mary Leo: Jolie Shepard has come to Starlight Bend no knowing what she should do with her life. She’s from Las Vegas and hasn’t connected with a career or a purpose in her life. She meets Red Wiseman when Jolie and Red are both choosing a wish from the Wishing Tree. Red is a man grounded deeply in Starlight Bend where he raises horses and gives riding lessons. The characters in this story were nice (especially Red) but I found Jolie very immature for her age. I have a hard time seeing how things would work out for these two long term, but the story was nice.  Rating: 3 stars.

THE GRINCH OF STARLIGHT BEND BY Jennifer Probst:  Noah Elliott was a generous angel to the community of Starlight Bend until an accident shattered his body and his faith in his fellow man.  He became the Grinch of the town and hides away in his mansion. Josephine “Joey” Whitman is a social worker who chooses a wish from the town Wishing Tree and is determined to make the child’s dream of a carnival happen even if it means bearding the den of the Grinch.  I loved the sweet redemption of this story which had a definite Beauty and the Beast vibe along with the Grinch story. Noah is a man who is looking for someone to redeem his faith in humanity and Joey is the woman who heals his heart.  Sweet and a good conclusion to the anthology.  Rating: 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: The Mad, Bad Duke

Review: The Mad, Bad DukeThe Mad, Bad Duke (Nvengaria, #2) by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Nvengaria #2
Published by Leisure on October 18, 2016
Genres: Historical, Paranormal
Pages: 383
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: Incredibly enjoyable for readers open to fusion romances.  This charming historical paranormal perfectly merges the genres to fashion a fairy tale about a former villain who can’t help but fall in love (because of a love charm) with a woman he never would have chosen on his own.

THE STORY: Megan Tavistock gets unexpectedly snared by a love spell which results in her ending up married to Grand Duke Alexander of Nvengaria.  Alexander has been sent to England because he plotted against the Prince of Nvengaria.  In England, Alexander is redeeming himself being running intricate plots to protect Nvengaria’s interests. A widower with a young son, Alexander never thought to marry again, especially not an innocent like Megan, but when the love spell results in him ruining Megan, Alexander is determined to protect Megan and discover who is trying to plot against him.

OPINION: Ashley has a way with men who are handsome and unconventional. Here, Alexander is a man who has been isolated and alone. He doesn’t have strong connections with people and sees his only value in intrigue and deception. Having been married and with a young son, Alexander remains essentially alone.

This book is inspired by the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast and the inspiration is cleverly done without being a scene by scene repeat of the classic.  Alexander is a man isolated and when the beautiful and innocent Megan comes into his life, Alexander is dazzled by her even as he tries to keep her at a distance.

The love spell works to bring these two together quickly and unexpectedly. Their first meeting is hot and passionate and I really liked how the love spell worked in the story. It is the catalyst that forces Megan and Alexander together so that they can spend time together working though their relationship.

The mix of genres really works in this book in a way that it didn’t completely mesh in the first book in the series.  The combination of paranormal and historical and fairy tale gives this book interest and heft and I just loved every page.

Like a true beauty, Megan transforms the beastly Alexander into a loving husband and father by the end of the book and allows his true self to be revealed.

WORTH MENTIONING: The Scot Egan MacDonald has a significant role and his story is up next.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  The Mad, Bad Duke is the second book in the Nvengaria series. While this story can be read as a standalone, I think it is better having read the first book in the series so that readers can truly understand what a potential bad guy Alexander is.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Penelope and Prince Charming

Review: Penelope and Prince CharmingPenelope and Prince Charming: Nvengaria (Historical Paranormal) by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Nvengaria #1
Published by JA / AG Publishing on August 1, 2006
Genres: Historical, Paranormal
Pages: 377
Goodreads
three-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  A fun mixture of fantasy, fairy tale and historical, this book introduces a new series.  While the insta-love reduces much of the emotional drama, the story was interesting and the characters have a good story to tell.

THE STORY:  Miss Penelope Trask is a double jilt after ending two disastrous engagements.   She has resigned herself to never marrying when Prince Damien of Nvengaria appears informing her that she is the the woman he has come to England to find.  The woman destined to be his bride and help him rule his land.  Penelope knows that something magical is happening (and this book has magic in it) but knows that men have deceived her before.  Damien and Penelope must battle those who are trying to prevent Damien from returning to his country and certainly trying to prevent a marriage between them.

OPINION:  This book was an enjoyable mixture of historical, fairy tale and fantasy.  As the first book in the series, the mixture is not always smooth, but I found the combination both sweet and fun.  (There is also some sexy situations put in the mix to keep the sickly sweet possibilities away).

Damien comes to England to search for his destined bride, immediately falls for Penelope but then has to win her and her family over.  At the same time, the two need to battle the evil Grand Duke who wants to prevent the two from fulfilling the prophesy and returning to Nvengaria as the rulers.  There are assassins and monsters and magic sleeping spells along the way.

The insta-love in this book (consistent with the Cinderella fairy tale this is loosely based on) reduces much of the emotional drama between the characters.  The book also has bit of “marriage of convenience” feel to it as Penelope and Damien seem fated to be together but then have to learn to live with one another.

I loved Penelope in this one.  She is strong and independent and clearly the center of this book.  Nothing works in this book without her.  It is her discovery of her true self that makes this book work.  Like Cinderella, she is hidden in the small town she lives in.  In truth, she is a princess.  Her discovery of her abilities — her true self — makes her relationship with Damien work and also saves their country.

I also was intrigued by the story of the villain, Alexander (whose story is next in the series).  For me, I was more interested in his story than Damien’s (I have a thing for the anti-hero).  I would read the next book in this series simply based on Alexander’s story, but I also was intrigued by the combination of genres.

A reader of this book will have to be open minded because the book combines the fantasy elements of magic and monsters with a some very typical historical elements.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book is a historical paranormal with magic and fantasy elements along with taking place in the regency period.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  PENELOPE AND PRINCE CHARMING is the first book in the Nvengaria series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3.5 stars.

three-half-stars

Review: Guardian’s Mate

Review: Guardian’s MateGuardian's Mate (Shifters Unbound, #9) by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Shifters Unbound #9
Published by Berkley on September 6th 2016
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 320
Goodreads
four-stars

“Rae looked across the tossing water at Zander Moncrieff and couldn’t decide whether she should jump overboard of leap onto his boat and smack him.”

FINAL DECISION:  Lovely story with lots of action and characters I liked and cared about.  My only negative was that the emotional connection between these characters happened so fast and only the circumstances of the plot kept them apart.

THE STORY:  Wolf shifter Rae Lyall is the chosen Guardian (the shifter who can send shifters to “heaven” at their death).  Her choosing by the Goddess causes unrest because a female has never been chosen from that position.  Now subject to suspicion and derision, Rae’s father sends her to polar bear shifter and healer Zander Moncrieff for protection and training.  Zander is Goddess touched himself and understands the challenges of the “gift”.

There is a reluctant attraction between the two but the threats that surround them keep Rae and Zander focused on working together while falling for one another.

OPINION:  I’m a big fan of Ashley’s shifter series. The series has a lot to say about issues of the day in an entertaining fashion.  I also enjoy how the Shifters have managed to retain their own traditions and identity despite the onerous restrictions placed upon them by humans.

In this book, Zander is a free spirit.  Seen as “crazy” by many, Zander suffers with his gift of healing.  Not only does he suffer by healing, he also knows that he cannot help everyone.  By making himself inaccessible, he limits the demands on his gift. Despite his behavior, Zander cares tremendously about others.

Rae is an orphan wolf shifter adopted by felines.  She loves her family but still feels the loneliness of being different.  Her choosing as Guardian further separates her from others.  She is strong and mouthy and just amazing although she is young and is still developing herself.

The interaction between Rae and Zander is funny and spicy and sometimes adorable.  The two banter and argue and have some hot scenes together.  They both have a core of not belonging that unites them.  Their gifts have separated them from others and this allows for true understanding between them.

The book is a roller coaster with lots of action with different storylines merging and weaving together in sometimes unexpected ways.  The resolution of the plot is surprising and yet completely in line with the story.  I loved how things came together.  Appearances by characters both new and old (Tiger!) never lets the reader forget that there is a larger world and story that these characters are a part of.

I love learning about new types of shifters and I look forward to their stories being told as well.

WORTH MENTIONING:  For readers of the series there are some reveals as to what the Fae are up to (with apparently some human allies).

CONNECTED BOOKS: GUARDIAN’S MATE is the ninth book in the Shifters Unbound series.  This book can be read as a standalone although there may be some learning curve as to the shifter world that this book resides in.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: The Alexandria Affair

Review: The Alexandria AffairThe Alexandria Affair by Ashley Gardner
Series: Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries #11
on May 17, 2016
Genres: Mystery
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“In late August, 1818, my wife had me abducted, trussed up, and taken down the Thames to be put on a tall ship bound for Egypt.”

FINAL DECISION: These books just keep getting more amazing.  This book is a blend of a buddy travel book, an adventure story, a mystery and a look into Regency antiquities.  I love Lacey more and more in each book and I can’t wait for the next one!

THE STORY:  Captain Lacey’s wife is determined that Gabriel is going to Egypt with his friend Lucius Grenville.  Gabriel has been wavering because of his wife’s pregnancy.  Trussed up and sent away, Gabriel and Lucius quickly turn to the adventure of exploring the exotic locale.  Unfortunately, Gabriel gets mixed up in a murder and treasure hunting prompted by his crime boss contact Dennis.  There is much danger and the return of Gabriel’s “twin” who has been trying to murder him and those he cares about.

OPINION:  One thing I have always loved about the Captain Lacey Mysteries is the intriguing mix of mystery and romance.  Well, in this book the romance element is lessened — although Lacey never forgets about his beloved wife — but there is a new adventure element to take its place.  The emphasis of this book is the mystery so readers should not be fooled.  Here, I was much more intrigued by the adventure story than the mystery.  I became fascinated by the descriptions of Regency Egypt and the expeditions going on there.  There is some progress on some ongoing stories including Lacey’s mystery stalker.

This has become one of my favorite series because it has so many good characters with twisty stories that I want to follow.  I can’t wait until the next book because I knocked off 1/2 star merely because I love the interaction with Lacey and his wife and I missed that here.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book has a lot of cool information about Regency Egypt and the discovery of antiquities.  It feels like an adventure book as well as a mystery.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE ALEXANDRIA AFFAIR is the eleventh book in the Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries series.  The mystery in this book is self contained but there are some overarching storylines and relationships.  I think a new reader could read this book without missing much.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: White Tiger

Review: White TigerWhite Tiger (Shifters Unbound, #8) by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Shifters Unbound #8
Published by Berkley on April 5th 2016
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 335
Goodreads
four-stars

“Addie never paid much attention to Shifters — they weren’t part of her world. And now one had come to her diner to eat pie.”

FINAL DECISION: An enjoyable romp, WHITE TIGER continues to expand the Shifter universe.  As always, the world building is strong here. The sweetness of the romance between Kendrick and Addison is matched with an adventurous story.  The only thing I missed here was a progression in the overarching story.

THE STORY: Kendrick is a Guardian and the white tiger shfiter leader of a group of uncollared shifters. A father with motherless children, Kendrick has lived for so many years in secret in order to protect his family and his shifters, Kendrick has not been able to resist a nightly trip to a diner to see a waitress Addison Price.  When an attack leaves them all vulnerable, Addison is pulled into the world of the Shifters.

OPINION:  I really enjoyed this book because Kendrick and Addison are such a sweet pair. Addie is really strong as a woman and I love her protective instincts.  Kendrick has a hidden gentleness to him and the pain he has experienced makes him wary of falling for Addie but he quickly does even as he wants to keep his distance to protect her.

Most of the conflict in this story involves Kendrick’s clan and a shifter who wants Kendrick for herself.  That part of the story didn’t work as well for me, but I enjoyed the overall story in such a way that I could overlook it.

Aside from the romance, my favorite part of the book was watching Kendrick, with Addie’s help begin to build a home for his shifters.  The sense of finding a home and building a place where shifters can find happiness and community just made me happy.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Any book where Tiger appears is a great book to me!  I love that guy and was pleased to see this part of his story.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  WHITE TIGER is the eighth book in the Shifters Unbound series.  It can be read as a standalone although a new reader might feel challenged by the worldbuilding that has already been done and isn’t explained here.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Wild Things

Review: Wild ThingsWild Things (Shifters Unbound #7.75) by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Shifters Unbound #7.75
Published by JA / AG Publishing on March 22nd 2016
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 220
Goodreads
four-stars

Sweet Romance But It’s The Shifter Info Revealed that Is Really Good

FINAL DECISION: Enjoyable with a less experienced Shifter male and a woman who has tried to find love in the wrong places. This novella expands readers knowledge of what is going on in the Shifter universe. Sweet and fun.

THE STORY: Mason McNaughton is a wolf shifter (youngest brother of Broderick from BAD WOLF) is tired of the feral feline living in his house driving him crazy and sometimes trying to kill him. He decides to help search for a cure which leads him to a psychic in New Orleans Jasmine Samuelson. Mason doesn’t believe in psychics but Jasmine is known for finding people and Mason needs her help to find the elusive Guardian healers who might be able to turn the feral back from his madness. Jasmine finds Mason sexy but she has had bad luck with men including a shifter who broke her heart before.

OPINION: This romance is sweeter and less intense than others in the series as this short novella has a lot of plot to get in. That being said, I enjoyed seeing Mason who is somewhat younger and more inexperienced than the typical Shifter in this series fall in love. Mason is really sweet even as he says that Shifters are wild and dangerous. The connection between Jasmine and Mason is quick and there is little conflict between them except for Jasmine’s wariness because of her past. I enjoyed this book especially because of the return glimpses of some of my favorite Shifters. This is not that deep of a book, but it is enjoyable and expands the Shifter universe.

WORTH MENTIONING: Lots of cameos from series favorites! There are lots of cubs arriving soon!

CONNECTED BOOKS: WILD THINGS is book number 7.75 in the Shifters Unbound series. It can be read as a standalone EXCEPT a reader has to understand a bit about the Shifters because it is not explained here.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

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four-stars

Review: Bad Wolf

Review: Bad WolfBad Wolf (Shifters Unbound, #7.5) by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Shifters Unbound #7.5
Published by JA / AG Publishing on July 14th, 2015
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 223
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Great Novella with Sexy Shifter and Lots of Cameos

“It was hard to protect a woman who went charging ahead before Broderick could check that the way was safe.”

THE STORY: Broderick McNaughton is a wolf shifter who lives in the Austin Shiftertown. Readers of the Shifters Unbound series will know that the shifters are treated as second class citizens, forced to live in designated town with few rights. They are magical creatures having been created by their enemies the Fae to be entertainment and weapons of war.

Broderick knows something is wrong when he awakens in a strange place. He realizes that he has been abducted. The people who abducted him want information about the Shifters. Broderick escapes and returns to the Austin Shiftertown and his sort of girlfriend Joanne Greene. Joanne is human and her relationship with Broderick is complicated. The two are circling around one another at the same time that they are attracted to one another. Broderick’s abduction brings them closer together as they work together, use Joanne’s skills as a hacker, to discover who is threatening the Shifters.

The mystery includes a murdered Guardian, appearances by and updates about Austin Shiftertown residents and a real partnership between the main characters.

OPINION: I really liked this novella. The story is snappy and I was surprised at the resolution. It was a definite suspense/mystery story. With unexpected appearances and surprise resolutions, this book is a treat for fans of the series.

Ashley does a great job of keeping the overarching storyline of the series moving forward without allowing the plot to become too complicated.

Broderick is a fun hero. Sexy and brave, he doesn’t think much of himself at times because he is not part of the leadership of the Shiftertown. This story, however, shows that he has an important role and that he is important to those around him. He is a shifter who does his job. I especially liked that he is interested in what Joanne does because it is important to her and wants to know more about it only because of the importance in her life.

Joanne is a character that has grown. I liked that Ashley has redeemed this character who was a negative character when first introduced. There is much here about characters not being simply good or evil. Throughout the series, many characters who had negative appearances have their motivations explained, their opinions changed and become better people because of their life experiences. Joanne is smart and able to take care of herself but has learned a lot and has a more humble view of the world.

This is a bridge book which finishes up some loose storylines and allows the story to continue in future books. It is a good one.

WORTH MENTIONING: Readers of LIon Eyes will be happy to have some additional resolution regarding that story here. Also, I was especially pleased to see Tiger again. He happens to be one of my favorite characters and plays an important role in this story.

FINAL DECISION: I loved this novella. Broderick was a compelling hero who seemed kind and compassionate but with a hell raising side. The romance is not as strong here as with other of the books in the series, but the appearances by other characters makes up for it.

CONNECTED BOOKS: BAD WOLF is book number 7.5 in the Shifters Unbound series. A reader doesn’t have to follow the whole series to enjoy this book. This book is most closely connected with BEAR ATTRACTION and the novella LION EYES so readers might enjoy BAD WOLF more if those are read first.

STAR RATING: I give this novella 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Dark and Damaged: Eight Tortured Heroes of Paranormal Romance: Paranormal Romance Boxed Set

Review: Dark and Damaged: Eight Tortured Heroes of Paranormal Romance: Paranormal Romance Boxed SetDark and Damaged: Eight Tortured Heroes of Paranormal Romance: Paranormal Romance Boxed Set by Jennifer Ashley, Caris Roane, Erin Kellison, Felicity Heaton, Erin Quinn, Laurie London, Bonnie Vanak, Colleen Gleason
Series: , Iron Portal #4, Werewolves of Montana Mating Mini #4, Her Angel #8, Dragons of Bloodfire #1, Beyond #2.5, Gardella Vampire Hunters #7
on June 12th, 2015
Genres: Paranormal
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Great Collection of Paranormal Romances

This is a great collection of paranormal romances.

LION EYES by Jennifer Ashley: Bree is a shifters groupie who finds herself with a lion shifter in her truck. He is running from someone and demands that she drive. Seamus is being chased by the authorities who believe he has committed a murder. I really liked the romance between Bree and Seamus. He has an interesting story being part of the renegade uncollared shifters. I also really enjoyed the appearances by Shifter favorites. I thought that Seamus was sweet. This is Book 6.6 of the Shifters Unbound series. Rating: 4.25.

BLOOD FLAME by Caris Roane: Vampire Officer James Conner of the Crescent Border Patrol is a widower. Iris Meldeere is a witch who is a Tribunal Public Safety Officer. In a world where vampires kill witches and witches return the favor, James and Iris at best work reluctantly with one another and more likely have to fight the instinct to kill one another. Thrust into a situation where there are unnatural interactions between vampires and witches and someone seems willing to kill both, Iris and James find that they may have more in common than wanting to kill one another. This story was an interesting introduction to this world but not knowing about this world before, it felt too complicated and took a little away from the romance of the story trying to figure out the rules of the world. This is part of the Flame Series. Rating: 3.5 stars.

TEMPTED BY FIRE by Erin Kellison: Dragon Shifter Thane Ryce Ealdian is determined to avenge the death of his wife and son. When their bodies are discovered, a dispute between Thane and another family over possession of the remains leads to the intervention of Emerson Clark who is a mediator. Orphaned as a child, Emerson knows that she is a bloodkin dragon but doubts whether or not it is true. The story is sexy and intense and I found it an enjoyable read. This is part of the Dragons of Bloodfire series. Rating: 4 stars.

HER SINFUL ANGEL by Felicity Heaton: Lucifer, the king of Hell, is a fallen angel. One day a mortal woman, Nina, is left unconscious in his courtyard. Lucifer is not as evil as might be portrayed but rather has made some bad decisions in his life. Nina has been brought to him for a purpose and he intends to discover what that is. This book has great characters and I was sucked right into the story. Lucifer is a compelling character with an interesting back story. Immediately after finishing this story, I bought the rest of the series. There are mentions of other characters who have stories written about them. Their appearance made me interested in reading their stories, but I didn’t feel that I needed to know that background in order to appreciate this story. This is book 8 in the Her Angel Series. Rating: 4.5 stars.

THE RESURRECTION OF SAM SLOAN by Erin Quinn: Maggie Sloan was left by her husband when he abandoned her and his two children. A year later she is called to his hospital bedside when he is dying from a gunshot wound. Just at the moment of death, Reaper becomes trapped in Sam Sloan’s body when he wants to touch Maggie. When Maggie brings her husband home, she realizes that he is different from the man she knew. The family is threatened by something dark and sinister. This was an interesting story of resurrection and rebirth and also a suspenseful mystery. I liked the story but felt some distance from Reaper even as the story progressed. I did think the romance between these two worked. This is book 2.5 in the Beyond Series. Rating: 3.5 stars.

REBEL’S DESIRE by Laurie London: Toryn Flynn is an Iron Guild Warrior and Keely Weber runs a bookstore with her sister. Keely and her sister were kicked out by their father when it was discovered that they were Talents. When Keely’s sister is kidnapped in order to be sold into the sex trade. Toryn agrees to help Keely find her sister. This was an intriguing story that made me want to read more of the series. I thought the characters were well defined and interesting. This is book 4 of the Iron Portal series. Rating: 4 stars.

REDEMPTION by Bonnie Vanak: Robert Keynes is an Alpha wolf cursed after his Mage lover destroyed the land to which his pack is connected. He desperately needs to break the curse and believes that Aurora Seville, herself a Mage, is the one to do it. I found this story compelling. Both characters have secrets that are slowly revealed in the story. This story is book 4 of the Montana Mating Mini which is connected to the Werewolves of Montana series. Rating: 4.25 stars.

RAGING DAWN by Colleen Gleason: Max Dawson is a vampire hunter whose wife was killed by vampires. Savina Eleaisa has a plan to help kill the vampire that destroyed Max’s family — she intends to seduce the vampire. Very intriguing story with rich characters. Definitely wanted more. A Gardella Vampire Hunters novella. Rating: 4.25 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Bear Attraction

Review: Bear AttractionBear Attraction (Shifters Unbound, #6.5) by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Shifters Unbound #6.5
Published by InterMix on February 17th 2015
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 167
Goodreads
four-stars

Another Winning Shifters Novella

“She was a tall, sexy-as-hell Shifter woman who turned into a bear — not your usual girl next door.”

THE STORY: Rebecca is a bear shifter who lives in Shiftertown. Shifters are treated as second class citizens where they are collared and subjected to laws to restrict their movements and behavior. One night Rebecca is apprehended when she is taking a run and ends up going through a restricted area. She is taken into custody by Major Walker Danielson. Walker is the liaison between the Shifter Bureau (which is in charge of Shifters) and Shiftertown. Walker has grown to understand Shifters and especially Rebecca. In order to save her life, Walker has gotten the agreement that Rebecca will be released into his custody in order to help him find a missing woman who is believed to have been abducted by shifters.

OPINION: Readers join this romance already in progress. Rebecca and Walker have already met and although they had a confrontational first impression, they were also attracted to one another. Months have passed and although the two have flirted with one another, neither has made a move. The novella is about how they finally get together. This novella also solves a mystery from prior novels about the disappearance of the woman. Ashley has a complex story structure in this series. Mysteries and challenges are developed and solved over time and various novels and novellas rewarding the long time reader while keeping each book pretty self contained. Rebecca and Walker are a more straightforward couple than might have been expected and Ashley makes the decision to make the drama about the mystery rather than the romance. It is clear from almost the start that Rebecca and Walker are meant to be together and just need that final push to get them there. I like the story and the characters and was glad to see old friends again.

WORTH MENTIONING: There is a new group of shifters introduced in this novella.

FINAL DECISION: A good balance between action, story and character and romance, BEAR ATTRACTION is a fun read. Not as emotional as some of the shifter books, this one is more action adventure with a good dash of romance.

CONNECTED BOOKS: BEAR ATTRACTION is number 6.5 in the Shifters Unbound series. The story, however, builds upon previous books where Walker and Rebecca already had encountered one another. A new reader can start here and be satisfied although it is better experienced after reading the other books in the series.

STAR RATING: I give this novella 4 stars.

four-stars