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review 2020-07-30 19:46
A tiny bit better than the previous book but I will not continue the series
Strategic Vulnerability - Mandy M. Roth

 

"I'm... fine.
"You don't sound fine.
Because my d!ck is hard enough to hammer nails. All I want to do is sink to the floor and bury myself deep in you."

 

 

And that is pretty much what you get with the fourth book in the series. Lots of restraining himself from the male lead and lots of not running away but actually goading him from the female lead.

 

The main couple consists of:

 

Wilson, the resident joker of the I-Ops and a wererat. He is the reason I am giving this book half a star more than the third book. Wilson is much more fleshed out as a character and I felt extremely bad for him in the previous books because honestly no one deserves constant bashing like he got. He got captured and was imprisoned in some facility where he is being tortured and experimented on. The I-Ops practically gave up on him (I bet they wouldn't have given up that quickly if any of the other guys went missing but okay, whatever) and if not for the three hormonal ladies that insisted on still searching they might not have found him in the end, which might also have been for the best when I think about it because they were much safer before they were discovered (but I do not wish to get into spoilers, just saying poor Kim).

 

One more thing that really annoyed me was what has been done with Wilson's character or rather hasn't been done is the shifting itself. All other male leads have shifted or partially shifted in front of their mates. For heaven's sake, even Lance who had minimal time in the first book shifted while banging Melanie. But Wilson doesn't shift in this book, nope, because Wilson is a rat so it might not be a pleasant thought for the readers or something. I, on the other hand, think that is discriminatory and wish it would have been done. Wilson is just as much of a shifter and a good guy as the rest but the author keeps putting him down. It is really aggravating.

 

And Kimberly or Kim, some sort of Fae. She is a grad student apparently researching some indigenous plants in the rainforest and gets captured by her professor and gets locked up in the same facility as Wilson. She is as well being experimented on and ends up in Wilson's cell. He protects her, she protects him and that's how the story plays out. Her character isn't really that fleshed out as Wilson's but it also isn't all that confusing like Melinda's from the previous book. I do have a thing I am not fully clear on and that is her powers. Kim is at least part Fae and she knows she has strong powers but in several instances she is afraid of using them not to hurt Wilson which didn't sit well with me. It wasn't really explained on why that would happen and if she ever had any previous bad experiences. It was just a plot device to keep them imprisoned for a longer period of time.

 

Wilson and Kim as a couple work better than I would have thought. Kim actually questions this instant love mate thing and wonders how can she marry someone she only knows for a number of days. Which is definitely a valid point with all of them. They have a good enough chemistry and I wasn't as annoyed this book around because Wilson was the main character.

 

The problems I have with this book and consequently with the entire series is just the basic premise it seems. In the first and second book it was okay because it was when I encountered it first so it didn't bother me but now it is starting to get on my nerves.

 

 

Formula goes:

 

Female in trouble, male come rescue this woman that we pretend is strong but is nothing without your sexy abs and now we are immediately married because mate means it is fated and you cannot choose whom you love and yeah, bam, instant pregnancy as well.

 

 

All heroines are now pregnant, they have all moved in with their well, husbands as it stands, despite knowing them for a couple of days before doing the rest. Like I said, it was fine in book 1 and book 2 but the exact same thing has been repeated now in 4 books in a row without any deviation and I feel like I have read one book four times over.

 

I will not continue with this series because it seems it has no variety to offer. Female in danger, male saves, insta love, boom baby here, move on to the next couple. Do all female leads have to immediately get pregnant? If the sperm is that potent from all the shifters, how many kids will they have until they die of exhaustion of having too many kids? It's just... a bit too much for my taste.

 

If you like reading the exact same thing over and over knowing exactly what will happen next, be my guest, there are plenty left but I know when to start something different.

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review 2020-07-30 12:03
Third book showing a gradual decline in the series
Radar Deception - Mandy M. Roth

You know that feeling when you read something and you just cannot connect with it on any level? That's how this was for me. I could not understand the characters and their changes, and yes yes, I did try, I happen to really enjoy Mandy M. Roth's writing.

 

Here's what didn't click for me in this book.

 

The characters. Simple as that. I do not understand them.

 

Green is a werepanther and for the first two books he was shown as a more of a cold, distant, trying-to-please-everyone, convert-everything-into-science talk and a reserved person who doesn't approach women. He had a wife who died in childbirth 60 years ago and he didn't have anyone since. All clicks so far. He meets the main female character in the beginning of the first book and lets his friend Lance have se# with her (because he is just a stand-up guy overall right) and before Lance dies Green promises Lance to look after Melanie (again, didn't make sense even then because how could Lance know he is going to die, but nevermind). In the second book Green occasionally asks about Melanie and how she is but nothing really serious all in all. And now in the third book he suddenly knows she is his mate and they were always destined for each other and he gets extremely jealous at men she used to bang (and let's face it, she banged everything that moves). I wouldn't have a problem with all of this if not for this sudden shift.

 

So, Green spent two books literally seeing her being fu$ked by Lance, her going through this withdrawal thing and being very ill, her trying to get it on with some of her former fu$ks... and now he suddenly had this revelation that she is his and no one will touch her and how he always knew and no one may touch her now but him.... you know, for a super smart intelligent geeky scientist guy, you are extremely slow on realising she is your mate and no one should touch her but you... how am I supposed to take this seriously? Well, in a paranormal erotic romance kind of seriously.

 

And then there's the female lead, Melanie, a Fae. She is even more confusing. This book is not very long and there are a lot of things cramped in there. Along with everything, there's also the fact she has another person inside of her. I am not going to go into actual spoilers here but I can say that much to explain how all of this is very confusing. So, that other person died but some of the essence was somehow preserved and was born with Melanie. That other person is like a separate personality and comes out saying things to Melanie here and there informing her about the paranormal. Okay, fine, I can somehow deal with that. But then it goes into absurd territory where a potential merger of two people might happen and everyone acts like Melanie is going to die which then means it is not a merger but taking over of that other person and killing Melanie's personality. Then that is put aside for a bit only to have that other person be somehow contaminated with evil and Melanie actually kicks her out of herself, and I mean flesh blood personality everything... how??? Suspension of disbelief only goes so far.

 

Plus there's a bunch of other stuff with Melanie's powers that is not explained adequately and she has powers only in what needs to serve the plot at the moment. Like how many times she was in danger and threatened (since she was a child) and then you realise she can literally call forth her father and brother whenever she wishes and her daddy seems to be kicking everyone's ass. Then when you think about it it is best you do not think about it too much.

 

Also, one more thing. I absolutely despised how everyone treats Wilson, the wererat. I kind of went along with it in the first book, like he is the team's joker, then they all joke about killing him all the time haha, super funny right, in the second book it started getting on my nerves because Wilson wasn't portrayed like an as&hole to deserve that treatment from everyone all the time, and I mean every single mutual I-Ops scene... and then we get to this book and it escalates out of control. Wilson is being hated by everyone for seemingly no reason, he likes to joke around apparently, even in the bad situations, and that gives everyone a reason to keep saying how they want to kill him, and stuff like oh no don't hurt him hurt Wilson instead, no, don't do that, let's throw Wilson out of the plane instead... are you kidding me? How awful do you all have to be? Some friends you are.

 


All in all, this book was for me, mediocre. It served a purpose and it had some strong elements like good writing of a dialogue, good humor scenes, good portrayal of the rest of the I-Ops characters (well, apart from the Wilson thing), good naughty scenes and decent action that keeps you entertained.

 

There are also weak elements. Characters were doing 180 turns a lot, they were confusing to me and I did not really enjoy the romance part this time around (also, that not taking her as a wife/claiming because of such a silly thing and then that long misunderstanding later was just too much).

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review 2020-07-27 13:08
On par with the first book in the series
Critical Intelligence - Mandy M. Roth


Critical Intelligence, as a second book in the Immortal Ops series, has done a few things better than the first book but then again a few things not as good so the rating is the same as for the first book which is 4*. 4* because in the paranormal erotic romance genre this book is almost as good as it gets with a few things that can be improved upon, at least in my humble opinion.


In the second book our lucky main couple constitutes of: Missy, the shadow PSI agent badass kickass strong heroine and Roi, our resident Immortal Ops womaniser and the brother of Lukhian, the leader of the Immortal Ops.

 

Missy is truly a strong heroine in all meanings of that phrase, she can look after herself, she doesn't just rely on her powers, she can kick ass in the most physical sense possible and still sarcastically engages everyone involved. I have been looking forward to reading about her because she represents a self sufficient independent woman who can rely on her resourcefulness, wit and physical ability, relies on herself to make it through, but she has friends to also share her hardships with (although not all) and she, later on, starts relying on her partner as well.
Missy definitely grows as a character, especially emotionally, she learns how to trust others and how to ask for help when needed. She, in that regard, is a bit better in the strong heroine department than Peren from the first book. Peren didn't have a more gradual progress, she just did 180 and got to her powers and abilities. Missy is the easiest one to relate to because I believe she puts the most effort in her abilities and her gradual growth.

 

Roi... what to say about Roi. He is the right hand man and a brother to the leader of the Immortal Ops, his quirk is that he is a terrible womaniser and that (in the first book) has even started to affect his work. He bangs everything that moves and doesn't even ask for a name. But on the other hand, he is a good warrior with a good heart and would do anything for his teammates so he has that going for him. And his looks of course. That is pretty much as far as it goes with him. In this regard, I feel like the hero of the first book was more established than this one. It's like this hero here is just here to put emphasis on the strong badass heroine. So I felt his character lacking something. Some more depth.

 

 

My thoughts

Missy and Roi as a couple are indeed a good match and Missy's backstory is truly heartbreaking. They had some wonderful scenes and the action was just as good as in the first book. The writing is still excellent and the sarcasm just oozes from Missy which is 50 extra points for this book haha.

 

My main complaint here is again how everything happens in the span of another two weeks. So, the first book happened in the span of two weeks and now this one happens in the span of two weeks after that. It is an extremely short amount of time and I wish this would have been differently.

 

For the first book I understand somewhat, it happened quickly, the main couple got the instant mates vibes upon meeting and all of the action happened after the Ops were hired to take her out, so it goes to show that someone else will be doing it when they didn't. In the second book, however, regardless of the fact that someone is now after Missy too, we have certain characters established, we have the world building, it would have been nice to give more time to characters to actually develop. To give time to resolving problems and not having it come to a huge obstacle that immediately gets solved. The action propels you forward but this then doesn't have you maniacally turning the pages to see what happens because you already know.

 

And in the end I will mention one more thing that I see being written often about. The insta-love mates thing. I do not like it that much, no. I prefer characters being able to choose whom they love and marry without having it being a fate you-must-do-it or you won't have another love, you won't have children, you will suffer and you might die kind of thing. That isn't sitting well with me.
BUT!
I do take it as being a central premise to shifters in this universe the author created so I am not taking down stars because of it. It is a personal preference and the author cannot please everyone. I have taken it as a part of this universe and simply judge based on how it plays out, not the fact that it even exists. If you cannot go past that then it is better not to even read this series. Because everything revolves around it. If you do choose to read it even when you know this fact then don't give this book 2* rating or similar simply based on 'I hate the mates thing, the no choice, insta-love pull the characters have'. It isn't fair to the books and to the author.

 

All in all, another thrill ride with a better heroine than hero this time around. If the book would be longer and gave more time to the characters and actually develop the main hero without just saying how his d$ck hurts because he needs to be inside that petit badass heroine it would have been a perfect paranormal erotic romance read. Like this, it sits at a 4* rating for me.

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review 2020-07-21 21:14
The good kind of a shifter paranormal romance
Immortal Ops - Mandy M. Roth

When someone says shifter paranormal romance you get a pretty good idea of what you are going to get and that is what you get here, you get it in a good kind of a way. All of the elements of a paranormal romance are present, along with some cliches, but you get a story that is capably written, a story with well rounded characters you care about and a story that makes you keep on reading until you're done...

 

... and then you immediately hop on Amazon and purchase the rest of the series.

 

Yes, I am serious, I was that engrossed in this book and mind you I have been reading this genre for some two decades now so I have been through all of the ups and downs and still found so many positive things about this book. So let's start.

 

 

The story

 

The summary is already provided so I will just add onto that. Even though the story is about Lukian and Peren, it is actually far more than that. This story includes two of Peren's best friends that are major characters in their own right, and it involves Lukian's team, five other well developed individuals who I am sure will all get their own book and their own story. This is a good book for the worldbuilding and for introducing the readers into this shifter & the rest of the paranormal creatures universe that works logically and so far I can buy into it. I wasn't taken out of the world at any point, all of the paranormal stuff made sense in this universe and the characters reacted like they should according to their personalities, abilities and their position in this universe.
The story flows great, there is no point where the story is dragging, it all goes as it should to keep us fully invested. The dialogue is smart and funny and at times I see a lot of my own way of talking when it came to sarcastic remarks so that made me laugh extra hard.

 


The characters

 

The characters are well developed, well rounded and act based on reason and logic, just like proper characters should act. Every of the almost dozen characters (including the villains) got a good introduction and enough time to stand on their own and not just be 'the main character's best friend who exists solely for the main character'. They all had their own pasts, their own lives, their own experiences and their own aspirations and fears. They feel real and that is why we get so invested into their lives and into this story.

 

The main characters, Lukian and Peren are the main couple of the story and I like how strong they both are and how well they fit together. Lukian is a leader and a hardass and a tough leader but also realises the importance of his feelings and accepts them and acts upon them even though the circumstances are far from ideal. Peren has a very complicated story about how she was conceived and what happened to her other mother later on and what exactly she is that I believe we will read more about it in other stories because it just didn't fit in this story fully, which is understandable, these things take setup and time.

 

I loved the first best friend character who is Missy and I am looking forward to it reading about her in the second book. Her sarcasm is so similar to mine that I feel a kindred soul there.

 


Faults

 

There are only two things I consider as faults in this book.

 

The first one being the short amount of time it all happens in. Not just that the whole book takes place in a short amount of time but the fact that the two main characters go from never knowing each other to proposing in the span of two weeks. And yes, I understand that they marked each other and that are essentially already forever together but they could have at least taken time to get to know each other more and so their friends and family have time to get to know each other as well before they put a ring on it.

 

The other thing is Lance (if I am not remembering the name wrong), the Nordic God as he was called. I do not understand his character at all. It was hinted that he was a troubled soul. He slept with the third best friend and turned whilst doing it and then did not even try to talk to that woman about it. Then he was somehow foreseeing his death without any logic behind it and asked a friend to look after that woman he seemingly had no other interest in than a one night stand. I wish he was the one who was developed more so that his actions made sense and more of an impact to the story.

 


Conclusion

 

One of the better shifter paranormal romances I have read, especially in the last few years. It has great action, suspense, mystery, plotting, romance and sex. The story goes fast so you enjoy every single page, the characters are well developed and believable and I absolutely enjoyed every single moment and was left craving for more of this universe. Definitely recommended to all of the paranormal romance lovers.

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review 2020-06-15 18:07
Audiobook Review: Blood Bound (Mercy Thompson #2) by Patricia Briggs (Narrator: Lorelei King)
Blood Bound - Patricia Briggs

 Blood Bound
 Mercy Thompson #2
 Patricia Briggs (Narrator: Lorelei King)
 Paranormal Romance - Urban Fantasy
 Penguin Audio
 October 01, 2009
 Audiobook
 10 hours 2 minutes
 Bought

 

Under the rule of science, there are no witch burnings allowed, no water trials or public lynchings. In return, the average law-abiding, solid citizen has little to worry about from the things that go bump in the night. Sometimes I wish I was an average citizen...

 

Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places-and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind.

 

But this new vampire is hardly ordinary-and neither is the demon inside of him.

 

Goodreads

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

 

 

Blood Bound is book two in the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. Each book continues the ongoing adventure with our coyote shifter, Mercy. It continues to develop the characters, relationships, and world. 

 

I LOVE this series. I LOVE Mercy! She’s a kick-ass heroine. She knows she shouldn’t play with the big boys, but she can’t help wanting to help those she cares about. 

 

In Blood Bound we dive into the dean of the Vampires and learn about their structure. Mercy gets involved with the seethe and a demon-riding vampire. She handles herself well in that she uses her connections and knowledge to locate the threat and save her friends. She’s capable and smart. 

 

The relationships between the characters are intense. We dig deeper into exploring the Vampire world and her friendship with Stefan which is a forbidden relationship for both of them. Biggs isn’t afraid to show the amazing side of the vampires, but also the darker and edgier side. We also dig into Adams pack. I love the friendship Mercy has with Warren. I like that we learn how Adam and Warren became friends and how Warren joined the pack. We see that many don’t like Warren’s sexual preference and treat him as less or they want him out. We also see that most in the pack only tolerate Mercy, but when things get dicy she can dominate them, even Adams’ second. Mercy feels that she is despised and that a coyote has no place in a pack, but as the reader we see that she does have a place, but that she just hasn’t seen it yet. 

 

The developing romance or romances. I am not one for love triangles and since I’ve read this series many times I know which direction Mercy goes, but here at the beginning we see that Mercy is not one to lead anyone on, so what will she do when her X, Samuel, comes back into her life. He’s the man she was going to be with until she found out the real reason he wanted her now she’s not sure what she feels for him. Then theirs Adam the packs Alpha and his claim that she is his mate. My heart broke for Samuel when he reveals the truth about what happened in Texas. Then theirs Adam and the developing feelings Mercy has for him. Oh my that work-out scene with Adam. Swooning! We see how she feels about Adam, but also her struggle with being controlled or losing her free will. She grew up around the wolves. She knows their structure, how the Alphas are and she’s scared. Briggs isn’t afraid to leave us in a love triangle with Adam and Samuel at the end. What will Mercy do?

 

We also get to learn more about what Mercy can do and why Vampires don’t like her kind. I enjoyed learning more about the coyote shifter and what her abilities are. No one really knows what she can do or they know, but don’t tell it all and just give us and Mercy bites of information. It’s these kind of tidbits of knowledge that I love and enjoy how the author weaves them in. 

 

Narration: Lorelei King is a spectacular narrater. She does a wonderful job with the storyline and characters. I love her voices for everyone.

 

This is one of my favorite series and I’ve re-read and listened to it multiple times. It’s a delight and each time is always like the first. I highly recommend this Urban Fantasy series. Don’t hesitate to pick it up.

 

Rate: 4.5 Stars

 

Was this review helpful? If so, please consider liking it on Goodreads (Angela)!

 

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I was born and raised in Northern Indiana. I’m an outdoor sun loving reader living near San Fransisco. I’m a mother, wife, dog owner, animal, and book lover. I’m the owner, reviewer, and mind behind Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. My favorite animals are horses & dogs. As for reading I love all things paranormal & urban fantasy. My favorite shifters are dragons!

 

 

Source: angelsguiltypleasures.com/2020/06/audiobook-review-blood-bound-mercy-thompson-2-by-patricia-briggs-narrator-lorelei-king
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