Review: Shadow Keeper

Review: Shadow KeeperShadow Keeper (Shadow, #3) by Christine Feehan
Series: Shadow #3
Published by Berkley on May 29, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal
Pages: 432
Goodreads
two-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: I’ve enjoyed the other books in the series, but this one was only average for me. I was more interested in the plot than the romance because I didn’t feel a connection between the characters, and I wasn’t particularly interested in their personal stories.

THE STORY: Giovanni Ferraro doesn’t enjoy playing the playboy for the family while recovering from an injury that prevents him from riding the shadows in the family business. At the club one nights a new waitress catches his eye. Sasha Provis is working two jobs to support the medical care for her brother. But every moment once Giovanni and Sasha meet is filled with drama as Sasha finds herself the focus of a stalker. Giovanni is determined to protect Sasha and Sasha is determined to be her own independent woman.

OPINION: Just didn’t find this book compelling. It wasn’t terrible but merely forgettable. I wasn’t particularly interested in this couple who didn’t really have a strong presence. In fact, I spent much of the book looking for tidbits about other couples whose stories are yet to be told.

Both Sasha and Giovanni felt generic in their character. Their romance happened so quickly that there was no tension in the relationship. Instead, there was the external plot of the Sasha’s stalker and while I found that story interesting, I didn’t find the romance intriguing.

This is the weakest of the series so far, but I have high hopes for the others in the series.

WORTH MENTIONING: I have to admit that I find two other couples more interesting and I want their stories rather than this one.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SHADOW KEEPER is the third book in the Shadow series. The romance here is self-contained but there are overlapping characters and the premise of the series isn’t explained as much here as in the earlier books. I recommend reading this series in order.

STAR RATING: I give this book 2.5 stars.

two-half-stars

Review: Dragon Bites

Review: Dragon BitesDragon Bites (Stormwalker, #6) by Allyson James
Series: Stormwalker #6
Published by JA/AG on March 20, 2018
Genres: Paranormal
Goodreads
two-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: I was disappointed that this book focused on Gabrielle who I don’t find as interesting a character as Janet. While I enjoyed the action and the plot, I couldn’t get immersed in the characters with the shifting points of view.

THE STORY: Janet has come to Las Vegas for some girl time. She stumbles into a situation with her dragon boyfriend, Mick. In the process of rescuing him, Janet’s sister, Gabrielle, ends up helping and triggering something really bad. Now Gabrielle is determined to make her own way and prove that she can handle things.

OPINION: Just too many points of view for me. The story is told in first person, but with four different voices. I found it distracting while trying to learn new characters. Perhaps if it had been only Gabrielle’s point of view, I could have felt more connected to her. Because of the four different views with people telling different stories, I just felt adrift from the characters.

I also just didn’t find Gabrielle as compelling a characters as Janet. I was interested in what was going on in the plot of the story and that kept me going through the pages.

By the end of the book, I did like Gabrielle better than in the beginning, so I expect her story might continue and I think I would be better prepared.

WORTH MENTIONING: There is a new romance here, but I’m not giving it away.

CONNECTED BOOKS: DRAGON BITES is the sixth book in the Stormwalker series. Although this story is self-contained, the characters are the same throughout the series and thus, this book is better read as part of the series because a reader would have to catch up on the storyline and the prior events.

STAR RATING: I give this book 2.5 stars.

two-half-stars

Review: Grigor

Review: GrigorGrigor (Dragon Hearts #5) by Carole Mortimer
Series: Dragon Hearts #5
Published by Carole Mortimer on May 25, 2018
Genres: Paranormal
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: Fun and fast read. Nothing deep here, but I loved the sexy dragons and the trouble that the stuffiest one of them gets with the independent and original woman who is destined to be his mate. Like eating cotton candy.

THE STORY: Grigor Pendragon is close to turning into a feral dragon who will have to be killed by his brothers when he scents his mate. But the woman he finds is nothing like the sophisticated woman he expected to find as his mate. Instead, Grigor finds Gayle Wilson, computer geek, mouthy and independent. Gayle is being kept a virtual prisoner in the castle as a way of her sister and her dragon mate to protect Gayle. But Gayle doesn’t want to be protected, but when she is threatened, she might have no choice but to turn to Grigor even though she doesn’t believe the crazy man who believes he is a dragon shifter and she is his mate.

OPINION: Enjoyable fun read. The opposites attract story between Grigor and Gayle with the banter and arguments between them was what I really enjoyed. The story is pretty standard and for those who have read the rest of the series, follows the template of the others. The amusing pairing of these two, however, was something that I particularly enjoyed.

The series has gotten better in the last couple of books. While the stories are formulaic, they are something that I enjoyed as light reading. The humor and heat in the stories make these a nice diversion. Two people who wouldn’t otherwise pick one another are stuck and have to find a way to deal with one another and even come to like and eventually love each other.

WORTH MENTIONING: We get an update on Dylan and Holly from the previous book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: GRIGOR is the fifth book in the Dragon Hearts series. The romance is a standalone although the characters appear in prior books.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

 

four-stars

Review: Dylan

Review: DylanDylan (Dragon Hearts #4) by Carole Mortimer
Series: Dragon Hearts #4
Published by Carole Mortimer on March 16, 2018
Genres: Paranormal
Goodreads
three-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: This was a light and fun story. There is nothing deep or thought provoking here, but I enjoyed the diversion of the story. Dylan and Holly have an amusing relationship that I enjoyed in this short read.

THE STORY: Dylan, one of the Pendragon brothers, awakens in a hospital and finds this elusive mate in Doctor Holly Barnes. But Dylan needs to find out why he blacked out and ended up in the hospital and thus isn’t ready to claim his mate. But when Holly seeks Dylan out, he finds himself having to deal with a human woman who is pretty sure Dylan’s stories of dragon shifters and King Arthur means the sexy man is crazy. But Holly needs Dylan’s help and Dylan is determined to keep his mate by his side.

OPINION: This series has a definite formula but the characters and the situation can make the books fun. I can enjoy a book for what it is and not every book has to be an intense emotional journey. This book was fun and I liked the characters and how they deal with the situation.

The book was a quick and easy read (but I have to admit I like these books much better if I don’t read them one after another because the similarities are too glaring).

It was nice seeing the characters from previous books. My real disappointment is that we didn’t get more with the dragon.

WORTH MENTIONING: We get an appearance from two characters from another series which was fun.

CONNECTED BOOKS: DYLAN is the fourth book in the Dragon Hearts series. The romance in this book is separate from others in the series, but the characters overlap.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.

three-half-stars

Review: Ocean Light

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Ocean LightOcean Light (Psy-Changeling Trinity, #2; Psy-Changeling, #17) by Nalini Singh
Published by Berkley on June 12, 2018
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 416
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“This woman was no princess. She was a warrior. One Bo was dead certain was fighting the compulsion to stab him.”

FINAL DECISION: Hopeful, sweeter than I expected but with lots of intrigue and double crosses, I really enjoyed this book which continues to explore the struggles to create a united world with a man and woman who both need to overcome damaging pasts.

THE STORY: Bowen Knight of the Human Alliance should be dead. He was shot through the heart in an attempted assassination attempt. But even surviving that, Bowen has a ticking time bomb in his head — a chip he had implanted to prevent psychic rape by the Psy is degrading and threatens to kill not only Bowen but his friends and family at the top of the Human Alliance. Taken to an undersea facility controlled by BlackSea, Bowen has to confront some of his deepest fears. And when he meets the sweet and sexy cook Kaia Luna, Bowen decides that he doesn’t want to spent what might be the last few weeks of his life, without her. Kaia has faced so much loss in her life and getting involved with the seemingly doomed Bowen only threatens her with more sadness and grief.

OPINION: The Psy-Changeling series is one that I re-read every year. It takes weeks now as this is book number 17 (not including the novellas and free stories), but I never regret those weeks because the series is nuanced and complex and presents at its center a sense of hope and the possible.

OCEAN LIGHT takes readers into the mysterious world of the changeling group of BlackSea (which covers the ocean dwelling changelings). By the end of the this book, I still find this group very mysterious as it doesn’t follow many of the “rules” readers have learned about changelings. I hope that we get more books about the BlackSea characters as this book only made me more curious.

This book leaving me even more curious is a theme for me in this book. In fact, I ended this book with even more questions about where the overarching storyline is going than when I came in. There is some serious stuff going on in this series and while some parts are resolved, the core of the mystery still remains after this book. The Trinity series continues to investigate the conflict between those for and those against the Trinity alliance. The “villains” have managed to efficiently organize Psy, humans and changelings and the question still remains whether the “good guys” can manage to form their own connections in time.

Bowen Knight is familiar to readers of the series. Nominally the security head of the Human Alliance, Bo is, in fact, the leader and the person keeping the Alliance together. Bo has been obsessed with the idea of protecting the vulnerable humans from the psychic powers of the Psy. His singlemindedness has led him to have an experimental technology implanted in his brain to shield his mind from Psy. As we learned, however, Bo (along with his sister and friends who also got implants) are living on borrowed time as the implant is unstable. But as readers of the series will recall, although Bo has but months to live, Bo was shot protecting his sister in SILVER SILENCE. This book begins on the heels of those events.

In this book, we learn the origins of Bo’s determination to find a way to protect humans. In the face of Bo’s intense dislike of the Psy, ironically, Bo finds himself attracted to a woman who has her own reasons for disliking humans and wanting nothing to do with Bo. Bo’s brush with death creates a determination in him to not miss a moment of possibility when he finds himself attracted to Kaia.

As the “alpha” of the Human Alliance, Bo’s world is complicated and filled with the possibility of betrayal. The Trinity world is more political and dangerous because it is unclear who can be trusted. And the lack of trust extends not only between groups but within the groups themselves as both the Alliance and BlackSea have to consider if there are traitors within.

Kaia is a new character to the series and one I really, really liked. She is caring and smart and not willing to put up with any nonsense from Bo. Her heart is so big and life has bruised her up pretty badly. Yet she still opens herself up and risks more pain with Bo. Kaia’s storyline here had much more interest for me. She is the one who is risking so much (because Bo could end up dead or as good as). And I admit that I was intrigued to find out what type of changeling she is. (I also want a cookbook with her recipes because they sound so good!)

I thought the romance between Bo and Kaia was intensely sweet. We get to see a side of Bo that he himself didn’t know existed until he met Kaia. There is something to be said for what a clever and determined man will do when he finds the woman. There is a bit of innocence in how Bo approaches his courtship of Kaia because he has truly never connected with a woman before. And that continues the irony of Bo’s life, just when he finds what matters in his life, this life has a countdown for him.

Most of the conflict here ends up being external and there is quite of bit of intrigue in this book. On the plot end, I was pleased to get to see some of my favorites from the series. Although we end up in a new environment, I like feeling the series grounded in its roots and with the characters who I already know and miss when they don’t appear.

I walked away from this book with a sense of warmth and joy and loved all the characters we got to spend time with in this book.

WORTH MENTIONING: I tilted between a 4 and a 4.5 for this book. The epilogue, however, firmly tilted this book to a 4.5 — any book where Kaleb and Sahara make a significant emotional appearance gets a little boost from me!

CONNECTED BOOKS: OCEAN LIGHT is the second book in the Psy-Changeling Trinity series. The books are interconnected with continuing storylines although the romance is self-contained. The Psy-Changeling Trinity series is a spin-off or Season 2 of the Psy-Changeling series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to prepare this review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-half-stars

Review: Tiger Striped

Review: Tiger StripedTiger Striped: Shifters Unbound by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Shifters Unbound #11.5
Published by JA / AG Publishing on May 22, 2018
Genres: Paranormal
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION: I love, love, love Tiger. I would read a story about him going to the grocery store to buy stuff for dinner, but this story resolves some things from his novel so it is a wonderful companion. So glad to get another glimpse of my favorite Shifter couple.

THE STORY: In the middle of the night, Tiger gets the feeling that someone needs him and takes off. But his mate is not allowing him to endanger himself alone again and insists on going along. Tiger knows that someone, somewhere needs him and he has to go.

OPINION: I love when novellas in a series have a purpose. This one definitely is a must read in the series as it has some big secrets that are revealed. But what I love most is the characters of Tiger and Carly who already make such a loving unit.

I love Tiger because he is so honest and centered. He doesn’t have the instincts or interest in deception so we always know exactly what he thinks and feels based upon his viewpoint. This story turns that on its head for a while when we don’t understand his actions, but (of course) everything is neatly explained in the year.

The story is centered around the big reveal so I won’t go into that because it would be a spoiler, but I did love seeing how Tiger and Carly relate to one another as a settled couple and Conner is a cutie.

The story has some action and drama and I loved seeing all the Austen Shifters again. The nice thing about this story is that it has consequence for the series and the characters.

And what is truly to love about this story are the characters. Ashley has created a whole society filled with multi-dimensional characters so their cameos here all have consequence and a nice homecoming feel.

I recommend this novella for everyone who is a fan of the series.

WORTH MENTIONING: We get to spend some time with Conner Morrissey as well. I hope we get to see him more in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: TIGER STRIPED is book 11.5 in the Shifters Unbound series. This novella is an update on the characters of Tiger and Carly from TIGER MAGIC. I recommend reading that book first to get to know the characters.

STAR RATING: I give this novella 5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this novella from the author in order to prepare this review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

five-stars

Review: Planet Dragos

Review: Planet DragosPlanet Dragos (Elder Races, #9.8) by Thea Harrison
Series: Elder Races #9.8
Published by Teddy Harrison LLC on May 14, 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“Disasters were always a surprise.”

FINAL DECISION: Manages to pack a lot in this adventure including continuing bumps for Dragos and Pia as a married and parenting couple, a deadly enemy, some revelations about Dragos and even a possible future for the Elder Races. Essential for fans of the series.

THE STORY: Dragos and Pia travel to Las Vegas to attend the wedding of their friends Rune and Carling. It’s a difficult time for Dragos and Pia. Pia’s pregnancy is a challenge and her relationship has suffered as a result. But things get worse in Vegas. Death is doing a show in town and Pia is kidnapped by someone who wants revenge on Dragos. It will take the combined help of Dragos and Pia’s friends to save her.

OPINION: I found this story bittersweet because I have loved Dragos and Pia through the entire series and have always highly anticipated anything new about their lives. But after this story, they have earned their peace and happy ending.

While there is some small tension between Dragos and Pia while they anticipate the birth of the second and final child, the real danger to them is external. In this novella, the two are just slightly out of sync which allows the danger to arise. Things must be put right in order for them to have the peace they both desire.

Dragos’s past comes back to haunt the two again, but honestly, the heart is really Dragos and Pia. The villain is a danger, but pretty one dimensional. Instead, this is the story of Dragos and Pia figuring things out between them and getting a whole bunch of Elder Races alums to make appearances to save the day.

Fans of the series will enjoy this wrap-up of Dragos and Pia’s story. And there are some tasty possibilities as this story ends. I hold out hope that Harrison will pick up those threads and write more about the Elder Races based in New York.

WORTH MENTIONING: Harrison has stated that this will be the last story to feature the POV of Dragos and Pia.

CONNECTED BOOKS: PLANET DRAGOS is book 9.8 in the Elder Races series. This book is a culmination of the various stories about Dragos and Pia and should be read as part of the series.

STAR RATING: I give this novella 4.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via the author in order to prepare this review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-half-stars

Review: Midnight Wolf

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Midnight WolfMidnight Wolf (Shifters Unbound, #11) by Jennifer Ashley
Series: Shifters Unbound #11
Published by Berkley on April 24, 2018
Genres: Paranormal
Goodreads
four-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: I enjoyed this couple a great deal. Tamsin’s personality perfectly fits her shifter animal and I loved how nimble and cute and sneaky she is. Angus is a wonderful father. I felt the romance was not as intense as I might have liked, but I felt these two found a comfortable relationship with one another.

THE STORY: Angus Murray is forced to hunt for a collarless shifter woman when his son is captured and held hostage. Angus is out to find Tamsin Calloway, a mysterious shifter who ran with Angus’s crazy (and deceased brother) for a while. While Angus tries to be focused only on capturing and turning over Tamsin in order to get his son returned, the slippery and smart Tamsin wins Angus’s admiration. Angus can’t risk his son, but he doesn’t want to sacrifice Tamsin either.

OPINION: I enjoyed this book because of the strength of the connection between Angus, Tamsin and Angus’s son. Their relationship was sweet and I liked that. There was also a lot of humor in their interactions. Tamsin’s zesty personality was a nice contrast with the often grumpy Angus. Tamsin seems irresponsible as the story begins, but we soon learn that while she is unattached, she is also serious about responsibilities.

The overarching story line here seemed somewhat insignificant and merely an excuse for Angus and Tamsin to go on the run together which leads to amusing adventures in a circus.

Tamsin is one of my favorite characters in the series now. She is amusing and clever and definitely feels like her shifter animal. She just made me smile especially as she brings Angus out of his shell.

I appreciated that Ashley made Angus’s son a big part of the story since Tamsin will be a part of their family. The relationship between them felt natural and I could see Tamsin acting as mother without betraying all her fun personality.

My only complaint is that the relationship between Angus and Tamsin felt more comfortable than passionate attraction. I totally bought these two together, but I just wanted to feel a bit more in their romance.

WORTH MENTIONING: I was so excited that we get to see more of Tiger!

CONNECTED BOOKS: MIDNIGHT WOLF is the eleventh book in the Shifters Unbound series. The romance in this book is self-contained but there are overarching storylines for the series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to prepare a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

four-stars

Review: The Thief

Review: The ThiefThe Thief (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #16) by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #16
Published by Ballantine Books on April 10th 2018
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 480
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“Destiny was such a thief.”

FINAL DECISION: Loved, loved this one and would have been a 5 star but the resolution was just a bit too quick for me. I’ve been anticipating Sola and Assail’s story for years and this one did not disappoint. Plus V and Jane tossed in, new threats and some advancement of the overarching storylines.

THE STORY: Sola Morte, was a thief until an attempt on her life led to her promise to leave Caldwell and make a new and honest life. Hiding in Miami with her dear grandmother, Sola still cannot forget the man she left behind. Assail was who she left behind but unknown to Sola, he is not a man at all but rather a vampire. Assail lies near death after trying to recover from a cocaine addiction. His cousins make a desperate attempt to save Assail by asking Sola to visit Assail.

OPINION: I really enjoyed this book. I’ve been looking forward to Sola and Assail’s story because I enjoy these two complex characters. They are both damaged characters who shift between doing good and doing bad. This book takes place already significantly into their story. Readers of the series will know that they have already begun their romance and cut it off when Sola leaves for Miami. This book recaps, but of course the character development of those earlier encounters is lost in this book.

But having read those early encounters, I love this story. The emotional drama is high from the beginning. Sola comes to Assail at the moment of his rebirth in many ways. The two of them always had a strong connection, and I really feel it in this book where the crisis makes these two people who are closed and secretive open up to one another.

The book is hot because not only do we have Sola and Assail as a couple, but also the continuing story of V and Jane. The two have had some problems recently (which has been shown in prior books). This book brings their lingering problems to a crisis moment.

And that is what brings these two stories together in a thematic way. Here are two couples facing a crisis where their secrets and their separateness threaten to tear them apart.

Although the two stories cross one another, they are separate and distinct narratives. The overlapping themes, however, give this book a wholeness that I don’t always feel in the BDB books with the overlapping and multiple narratives.

My only negative in the book is that Sola and Assail’s story is resolved too quickly in the end. After building the conflicts and drama and bring it to a head, things get fixed and then the book is over. I think the build up needed some additional space. In this book, I missed that.

WORTH MENTIONING: Murhder!

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE THIEF is the sixteenth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I think these books should be read as part of the series. Perhaps a better reader than I could appreciate them as standalones.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

 

four-half-stars

Review: Dearest Ivie

Review: Dearest IvieDearest Ivie (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #15.5) by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #15.5
Published by Ballantine on March 13th 2018
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 145
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION: Loved this one. Pretty much self-contained, this is a romance without a doubt. The emphasis is on the couple and despite the short length, it manages to be sexy and sweet and deeply emotional.

THE STORY: Ivie is a vampire and a nurse at Haven’s clinic. She is out at a bar with her cousin when a vampire walks into her life. Silas is immediately attracted to Ivie, but Ivie is reluctant to get involved with the aristocratic Silas. When the two end up spending time together, their attraction and relationship grows. Silas, however, tells Ivie that their relationship can only be temporary as he is returning to the Old Country. Ivie has to decide whether to enjoy the present or protect herself from hurt.

OPINION: I loved the story of Ivie and Silas. The story was sweet and romantic and incredibly emotional at times.

Ivie is a woman who is strong and fierce. I loved her perseverance, her intelligence and her compassion.  I also was quite amused by her family, and I liked that we got to see a different group of vampires in the BDB world. Ivie is the active participant in the story and in fact is the central hub of what happens. She isn’t passive, but rather makes the world change.

Silas is a gentleman. His manner and his personality is kind. (But he’s definitely no wimpy hero, but he needs Ivie’s persistence). I enjoyed the essential kindness and goodness of these characters.

There was something I really enjoyed about this story because while there are some dark moments (a few that made me shed tears) I thought the story as a whole was lighter and more positive and focused on the romance than many of the BDB books.

While I love many of the BDB books, they are dense and complicated and edged in darkness. This book, while it has its dark moments, is lightened by characters who are brighter and less dark than many of the BDB characters.

WORTH MENTIONING: There are a few appearances by BDB characters (enough to show that this story takes place in that universe), but the emphasis here is on the personal story between Ivie and Silas.

CONNECTED BOOKS: DEAREST IVIE is a novella which is book 15.5 in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. This book can be read apart from the series with just some basic knowledge about vampires, however, it falls nicely in the series for fans.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

five-stars