The Reason for this Blog

Although I track my books on Goodreads, I wanted a place of my own to talk about books.  I will post reviews for the most part, but I reserve the right to ramble.

 

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Midnight Wolf (Shifters Unbound, #11) by Jennifer Ashley

Midnight Wolf (Shifters Unbound, #11)Midnight Wolf by Jennifer Ashley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Midnight Wolf
Author: Jennifer Ashley
Series: Shifters Unbound, #11
Pages: 336
Publisher: Berkley
Date: April 24, 2018

Summary:

Angus Murray, bouncer for a New Orleans Shifter bar, is sent to round up an elusive, Collar-less Shifter woman, Tamsin Calloway, who is causing trouble for Shifter Bureau, and possesses information they want. If Angus refuses, he risks losing his cub. He finds Tamsin but she’s slippery and not about to be rounded up quietly.

In fact, quiet is nothing Tamsin will ever be. She leads Angus on a wild chase, but he’s determined to bring her in to save his son.

Can Tamsin convince Angus she’s worth helping before she’s locked away by Shifter Bureau, Collared, or perhaps killed?

Review:

This eleventh installment of what I call the “collared shifters” series is wonderful. It included a couple of my favorite characters from previous books: Zane and Tiger. They both had important parts but they did not overshadow the primary characters at all.

Generally when reading a book, I either really like one character or another. In Midnight Wolf, I loved them both. Angus is a collared wolf shifter, who through no fault of his own, lost his mate and his job as second in his Shiftertown. The only thing that brings him any joy is his cub Ciaran.

And Ciaran is the reason I adore Angus. He loves his cub so much and will do anything to protect him and make sure he is safe and happy. He is a wonderful father and does not let his problems affect his son’s life.

And then there’s Tamsin. Tamsin, who can find joy no matter what.

Tamsin, who is a new type of shifter. At least everyone thinks she is.

SPOILER ALERT: small ONE

You find this out in the first chapter anyway, so not really a spoiler.

Tamsin is a fox shifter. No one, including the other shifters, knew her type existed. As far as she knows, there are no other fox shifters left after her father died.

Tamsin is on the run and has been since she was very young. She is not collared and can normally pass as human. Unfortunately, someone at the Shifter Bureau has found out about her and about a secret she knows involving Angus’ dead brother. They want her captured alive, but don’t plan to leave her alive for long.

So, of course, Angus is sent to find and capture her.

I can’t say much more without real spoilers, but this is an exciting book. There are really bad guys and really good guys. New characters are introduced that I cannot wait to see again in later books.

And there is a romance. If any two people deserve a happily-ever-after, it is Angus and Tamsin. Since this book is a paranormal romance, they do get there happy ending and it was wonderful. This book just made me feel good.

Oddly enough, I normally state unequivocally that series books should be read in order. There are a number of references to backstories in this book, so it would be better to read the rest of the series first. However, Midnight Wolf does a better job than most as a standalone novel.

I rarely give a book five stars, but this one deserves every star. Tamsin and Angus are wonderful characters and I am glad they found each other.

This book was sent to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.

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Why Kill the Innocent (Sebastian St. Cyr, #13) by C. S. Harris

Why Kill the Innocent (Sebastian St. Cyr, #13)Why Kill the Innocent by C.S. Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Why Kill the Innocent
Author: C. S. Harris
Series: Sebastian St. Cyr, #13
Pages: 368
Publisher: Berkley
Date: April 3, 2018

Summary:

In the newest mystery from the national bestselling author of Where the Dead Lie, a brutal murder draws Sebastian St. Cyr into the web of the royal court, where intrigue abounds and betrayal awaits.

London, 1814. As a cruel winter holds the city in its icy grip, the bloody body of a beautiful young musician is found half-buried in a snowdrift. Jane Ambrose’s ties to Princess Charlotte, the only child of the Prince Regent and heir presumptive to the throne, panic the palace, which moves quickly to shut down any investigation into the death of the talented pianist. But Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, and his wife Hero refuse to allow Jane’s murderer to escape justice.

Untangling the secrets of Jane’s world leads Sebastian into a maze of dangerous treachery where each player has his or her own unsavory agenda and no one can be trusted. As the Thames freezes over and the people of London pour onto the ice for a Frost Fair, Sebastian and Hero find their investigation circling back to the palace and building to a chilling crescendo of deceit and death . . .

Review:

I cannot believe there are thirteen books in this series. I have been reading them since shortly after the first was released and they just get better and better. Just a warning though: if ever there was a series that HAS to be read in order, this is it. Fortunately, they are so good, you’ll love them all.

Anyway, Why Kill the Innocent – (all of these books have the best titles) – takes place roughly a year after the previous book. Hero, St. Cyr’s wife, literally stumbles over a dead body in the snow. Although, someone has tried to make it look like the victim died accidentally, it was definitely murder . . . but why?

As always, these books focus on Sebastian St. Cyr’s desire to find justice for murder victims and he doesn’t care whether they are well-born or commoners. He also doesn’t try to stop Hero from assisting him in the investigation. Due to her family connections, her contacts are often better than his anyway.

There were so many possibilities for the murderer in this book that I was completely lost . . . and so was Sebastian. He kept saying he knew he was missing a critical piece of information. Once it came to light, I still didn’t know the solution but it made perfect sense when explained.

One of the things I really liked about this book is the extent of historical detail involved. The murder happened in 1814 during one of the harshest winters London ever experienced. There was a killing fog and the Thames froze hard enough that a fair was held on the ice. Prinny was in power although he was not yet king. He was deservedly hated by his people who were starving in the streets. His daughter and heir Charlotte was kept a virtual prisoner in her home and he had tried to have his wife, Charlotte’s mother, executed for infidelity.

A lot of the historical fiction I have read takes place when Prinny was young and loved by England’s citizens. This book gave me an entirely different perspective of the type of person he became.

If you enjoy an intense murder mystery with a wonderful sense of England’s history, I highly recommend these books. JUST BE SURE AND READ THEM IN ORDER.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Hot and Badgered (Honey Badgers, #1) by Shelly Laurenston

Hot and Badgered (The Honey Badgers, #1)Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Hot and Badgered
Author: Shelly Laurenston
Series: Honey Badgers, #1
Pages: 433
Publisher: Kensington
Date: March 27, 2018

Summary:

It’s not every day that a beautiful naked woman falls out of the sky and lands face-first on grizzly shifter Berg Dunn’s hotel balcony. Definitely they don’t usually hop up and demand his best gun. Berg gives the lady a grizzly-sized t-shirt and his cell phone, too, just on style points. And then she’s gone, taking his XXXL heart with her. By the time he figures out she’s a honey badger shifter, it’s too late.

Honey badgers are survivors. Brutal, vicious, ill-tempered survivors. Or maybe Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is just pissed that her useless father is trying to get them all killed again, and won’t even tell her how. Protecting her little sisters has always been her job, and she’s not about to let some pesky giant grizzly protection specialist with a network of every shifter in Manhattan get in her way. Wait. He’s trying to help? Why would he want to do that? He’s cute enough that she just might let him tag along—that is, if he can keep up.

Review:

It’s been four years since Laurenston’s last shifter book Bite Me and it seems much longer. I was so disappointed when I heard she was not writing anymore books in the Pride series. Make no mistake, I love her dragons and crows, but I ADORE her shifters. This new book is listed as the first in a new series, but it is actually connected to the Pride series which makes it even better.

The best I can tell, Hot and Badgered takes place about seven or eight years after Bite Me. Several characters from the Pride series show up in this book and others are mentioned. As I say time and again, yes, you can read these books as stand alones, but I don’t recommend it. That goes for this book as well. There are plot points that just will not have as much impact if you don’t know the history of the characters.

Having said all that, Hot and Badgered, is wonderful. I had a hard time keeping the sisters straight at the beginning, but they have distinctive personalities and shifter traits. There was one aspect about their shifted forms that bothered me because it contradicted the earlier books, but it was explained later on and actually supported a major thread of the story. It’s so hard to talk about the best parts of the book because of spoilers.

Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is a wolf/honey badger hybrid. She is far too laid back for anyone to believe she is a badger until she’s not. Don’t piss her off. She and her sisters are dangerous.
Berg is a grizzly and all bear. He’s protective and seems more stable to me than other grizzly shifters. His personality seems more polar than grizzly. And you can tell I am a fan of these stories because that actually makes sense to me. And let me tell you, Charlie needs someone stable in her life.

I can’t really recommend this book if you are not already a Pride series reader. I think you will lose so much of the story if you don’t already understand the shifters’ world. If you are a fan, I don’t have to recommend it. I know any reader of Laurenston will be at the bookstore when they open to get this next installment in her world of shifters.

Now, when is the next book due out?

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Burn Bright (Alpha & Omega, #5) by Patricia Briggs

Burn Bright (Alpha & Omega, #5; Mercy Thompson World - Complete, #15)Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Burn Bright
Author: Patricia Briggs
Series: Alpha & Omega, #5; Mercy Thompson, #15
Pages: 384
Publisher: Ace Berkley
Date: March 6, 2018

Summary:

They are the wild and the broken. The werewolves too damaged to live safely among their own kind. For their own good, they have been exiled to the outskirts of Aspen Creek, Montana. Close enough to the Marrok’s pack to have its support; far enough away to not cause any harm.

With their Alpha out of the country, Charles and Anna are on call when an SOS comes in from the fae mate of one such wildling. Heading into the mountainous wilderness, they interrupt the abduction of the wolf–but can’t stop blood from being shed. Now Charles and Anna must use their skills–his as enforcer, hers as peacemaker–to track down the attackers, reopening a painful chapter in the past that springs from the darkest magic of the witchborn…

Review:

It’s hard for me to believe I read my first Mercy Thompson book in 2012. It seems like I have known Mercy forever and yet it also seems like they are brand new. I love Mercy’s world and by extension, Charles’ and Anna’s world. When I read my first Alpha & Omega book, it was simply because it related to Mercy. I didn’t realize how much I would come to love them in their own right.

These two series are so interwoven I can not understand how anyone could read one without the other. There are numerous references between them that are not essential to understanding the stories, but certainly add to both. Burn Bright is no exception.

This book takes place immediately after the last Mercy Thompson book, Silence Fallen, and that situation explains why Bran has left the pack in Charles’ hands. Bran, oh Bran! I love you, but sometimes I want to slap you upside the head. Of course, I am certain my hand would come back without any fingers if I tried it, but I really think you need it.

Anyway, Bran is in charge of most, if not all, of the werewolves in the United States. His immediate pack consists of wolves who are too dangerous to live outside of his immediate supervision. These can be some scary wolves. However, we find out in this book that there are even more dangerous wolves called wildings. They are so damaged that they cannot even be part of Bran’s pack.

And someone is hunting them.

It is left up to Charles and Anna and a few of the other wolves to protect the wildings and find the bad guy. And this is where it gets interesting. One of the wolves who is helping is Bran’s mate Leah. No one likes Leah and that includes Bran to a certain extent. She is disliked in both the Mercy books and the Charles and Anna books. She just has that type of personality.

In this book, however, we find out so much more about Leah . . . and I’m going to leave it at that.

I did not see the ending coming. It worked. It was perfect. But I really didn’t see it coming.

And now I want the next book! Storm Curse, a Mercy book, is due out in May of 2019 AND I CANNOT WAIT!

This book was sent to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.

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At the Highlander’s Mercy (MacLerie Clan, #6) by Terri Brisbin

At the Highlander's Mercy (The MacLerie Clan, #6)At the Highlander’s Mercy by Terri Brisbin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

 

 

Summary:

Captive of the clan

To regain control of his fractured clan Robert Matheson must take Lilidh MacLerie hostage as a bargaining tool. But Lilidh is no ordinary captive. She’s the woman he once loved – and rejected!

Rob’s touch is etched permanently into her memory and, unaware that he was forced to repudiate their love, Lilidh has never forgotten the man who broke her heart all those years ago. Now, looking into the eyes of her captor, she no longer recognizes this fearsome leader. She should be afraid – there’s no telling what he will do. But something about him excites and unnerves her in equal measure….

Review:

I’m always thrilled to find a new Highlander book, so I had high hopes for this one. I thought the plot was an interesting one with a twist I had not seen before. Unfortunately, I was disappointed by the two main characters themselves.

My favorite couples in Highlander romances consist of a strong, alpha man and a strong, independent woman. I realize the entire Highland cannot consist of lairds, but these are romances, so I get to choose what I love.

Rob is the bastard son of the former laird and and although he has been selected as laird, he is not accepted by his entire clan. In particular, his cousin Simon challenges him because he believes he should have been chosen as laird. Rob does little to nothing to control Simon and the clan is in turmoil because of this.

The Highland lairds I love would have smacked Simon down at the very onset of his troublemaking. They certainly wouldn’t have allowed him to continue to challenge their decisions.

Lilidh (pronounced Lily – I had to look it up) has become a widow after only a few months of marriage. She is returning home to her family so that they can find her a new husband. And that’s what I didn’t like about her. She rarely seemed to stand up for herself. Where are the feisty heroines of my favorite Highlander romances? She doesn’t have any opinion regarding who she is to marry and where she is to live. She leaves all the decisions up to her father and clan.

This book is a spinoff of Brisbin’s MacLerie series. Lilidh’s parents are the couple from the first title in the series: Taming the Highlander and make regular appearances in this book. If you are a fan of The MacLerie’s, you really do need to read this book. It’s always fun to visit couples from books you love and find out how they turn out.

Maybe I would have enjoyed this one more if I had read the previous books. I did feel like I was missing the backstory on occasion. Then again, I really think Rob’s lack of backbone would have disappointed me no matter what.

Ratings:

Overall: 3
Sensuality level: 3

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Updated March 6, 2018:  I read this book five years ago, reviewed it, and never posted the review.  WTH??

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Lake Silence (The Others, #6) by Anne Bishop

Lake Silence (The Others, #6)Lake Silence by Anne Bishop
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Lake Silence
Author: Anne Bishop
Series: The Others
Pages: 416
Publisher: Ace
Date: March 6, 2018

Summary:

Human laws do not apply in the territory controlled by the Others–vampires, shapeshifters, and paranormal beings even more deadly. And this is a fact that humans should never, ever forget . . .

After her divorce, Vicki DeVine took over a rustic resort near Lake Silence, in a human town that is not human controlled. Towns like Vicki’s have no distance from the Others, the dominant predators that rule most of the land and all of the water throughout the world. And when a place has no boundaries, you never really know what’s out there watching you.

Vicki was hoping to find a new career and a new life. But when her lodger, Aggie Crowe–one of the shapeshifting Others–discovers a dead body, Vicki finds trouble instead. The detectives want to pin the man’s death on her, despite the evidence that nothing human could have killed the victim. As Vicki and her friends search for answers, things get dangerous–and it’ll take everything they have to stay alive.

Review:

I have been waiting forever for this book. FOREVER! Okay, it’s only been a year, but I’m talking about a The Others book, so any time I have to wait is too long. Was it worth it? Oh, yeah. It’s not the book I was expecting, but it was still wonderful.

I have been a fan of this series since I found Written in Red on the “new book” shelf at my local library. I immediately bought my own copy and have it and the rest of the series in both ebook and audio format. Can you tell I love them?

Anyway, I was sad to realize last year that Etched in Bone was the final book in Meg’s and Simon’s story arc. Everything was tied up well, but I love the Lakeside Courtyard. This book, Lake Silence, goes in a different direction, but The Others I have grown to love are still represented.

The only shifters with a strong part are the Crowgard, Aggie in particular. Let me just say, I love Aggie . . . even when she is complaining about squishy eyeballs. The Crows are some of my favorite characters.

The true representatives of The Others in this book are the Sanguinati. They run the town of Sproing (and don’t you just love that name?), even though the humans don’t realize it. They think all of The Others are “out there”, not in the village itself. In this book, they certainly find out how wrong they are.

And that brings me to the major difference between this book and the previous ones. The humans have a much larger part. The main character is Vicki DeVine who runs The Jumble – a local B & B. A large part of the book is written from her point of view which really put a different feel to the story. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t what I expected.

And finally, this isn’t the book I was expecting. The previous book set things up to follow another village which has a Wolf sheriff and a human deputy. I really thought that was going to be the next book. This one was a surprise. I enjoyed it. It’s a really good book, but not the one I was hoping to read. Of course, that means I still have that story to look forward to. It has to be written at some point, right? Right?

As I say in all of the reviews I write which involve series, read the other books first. You will enjoy this one so much more because all of the world building has been done in previous books. Regardless, you want to read this book. I am already anxious for the next one and it’s going to be a long wait I know. -sigh-

This book was sent to me by the publisher in return for an honest review.

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The Escape Diaries (Life and Love on the Lam, #1) by Juliet Rosetti

The Escape Diaries (Life and Love on the Lam, #1)The Escape Diaries by Juliet Rosetti
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: The Escape Diaries
Author: Juliet Rosetti
Series: Life and Love on the Lam, #1
Pages: 294
Publisher: Loveswept
Date: December 10, 2012
Summary:

Wrongly convicted of killing her philandering husband, Mazie Maguire is three years into her life sentence when fate intervenes—in the form of a tornado. Just like that, she’s on the other side of the fence, running through swamps and cornfields, big box stores and suburban subdivisions. Hoping to find out who really murdered her husband, Mazie must stay a few steps ahead of both the law and her mother-in-law, who would like nothing better than to personally administer Mazie the death penalty via lethal snickerdoodle. With the Feds in hot pursuit and the national media hyping her story, Mazie stumbles upon a vast political conspiracy and a man who might just be worth a conjugal visit—if she survives.

Review:
When I first read this book, I gave it a five star rating . . . but I never actually wrote a review. Well, it is time for that review and it most definitely still earns its five stars.

Although The Escape Diaries is classified as a romance, the romance is simply a side note. This book is a straight up comedy. I decided to re-read it because I have read several dark, intense novels lately. I needed a change of pace and it really delivered.

Mazie is in prison for murdering her husband who really needed to be done away with. She’s innocent of course, but no one believes her, especially her psychotic mother-in-law. Anyway, she escapes, with the help of a tornado, which starts the spiral of one improbable event after another.

There is a love interest, but that is not the most interesting part of the plot. It is the situations Mazie gets herself into and out of that make the book so much fun.

I did not realize there were sequels and I will definitely read them. I have to find out what other crazy things happen to Mazie. And really, things seem to happen to her. It’s not really her fault.

If you are a fan of Stephanie Plum or Izzy Spellman, you will love Mazie Maguire. Give her a try.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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