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review 2016-05-21 04:36
As interesting as the Damon's Mountain series
Bloodrunner Bear (Harper's Mountains Book 2) - T.S. Joyce

I make no bones about the fact that I adore T.S. Joyce. Her Damon’s Mountain series is one I go back to when I am feeling blue, tired, or just want a quick, happy read with a bit of an edge. There is drama and danger, prejudice and bigotry, but there is also love and courage, family and friends.

Now, the Harper’s Mountains stories begin, and the children of Damon’s Mountain take center stage. In “Bloodrunner Dragon” we got the setup, and began to learn what has happened with the children since “Boarlander Cursed Bear.”

 

Everyone we knew as a baby is all grown up. And while they were desperately loved as children, that doesn’t mean that all was flowers and sunshine. Take Aaron Keller. As a child he was, literally, the poster child for Shifter Rights. Bright blonde hair, big blue eyes, and a tinkling laugh that grabbed hearts. He was a poster child all right. But that doesn’t mean his life was all roses. His story began in “Bear My Soul.” Living with only his mother for the first six years of his life, Aaron’s life was, as much as his mother loved him, and as hard as she worked to make him happy, brutal. The bear inside him was a brawler, strong and headstrong, and drove Aaron’s life. Drove him into a cage in order to keep himself, and his mother, safe. Six years before it was a one night stand Cody ran from – from the man, and from the feelings he caused. Not knowing who, or what, he was, finding Aaron was a bear was hard. It worked out, but the time in the cage as a child damaged Aaron, and his bear. Damage that has carried forward into his present life. But in "Bloodrunner Bear" Harper’s Mountain is a soothing change to his life. And meeting Alana has promise – but the war between a coven of vampires with a grudge may cost Alana her life. Which could very well cost Aaron his mind.

 

This has all the potential of the Damon’s Mountain series, and in the first two books? It meets that potential!

Source: soireadthisbooktoday.com
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review 2016-05-21 03:42
Strong women characters give it a bump
Bear in the Rough: Bear Shifter Romance (Broken Hill Bears Book 1) - Ariana Hawkes

“Superstition, bigotry and prejudice, ghosts though they are, cling tenaciously to life; they are shades armed with tooth and claw. They must be grappled with unceasingly, for it is a fateful part of human destiny that it is condemned to wage perpetual war against ghosts. A shade is not easily taken by the throat and destroyed.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables (1862)

 

Humans. As Hugo says, superstition, bigotry and prejudice incarnate. When you are ‘different’ it is hard enough. When you are a Shifter? Well, as Shrek put it, “Grab your torch and pitchforks!” Or, in this case, your cops with riot guns. Cause as much as we would like to think that we should all be able to live together, well. It ain’t happening. The humans love watching Shifters fight, MMA style, in the ring, but they certainly don’t want them in their towns. Of course, the Shifters don’t really care. After all, they worked out some really good financial contracts for their shows – so, who cares, right?

 

When Freya Wright was eight, her father disappeared. Walked out the door to “run a quick errand” and never returned. It destroyed her mother, and left a darkness in her own heart. Her mother took her from Washington and moved them to San Diego, but rather than getting better, she lost herself in a bottle. Now, with her mother dead, Freya has a plan to try to cut the darkness in her heart. She wants to walk the Pacific Coast Trail, the 2,659 mi trail up the coast from Mexico to Canada. While she plans to go alone, a high school reunion adds her friends Eloise and Marin to her trip. It will be hard, harsh and brutal, months of hiking over rough terrain in all sorts of weather. There are ups and downs, literally, but also mentally and emotionally. Then, the worst happens, what all women on their own fear. They see what they shouldn’t. And their lives will never be the same. Now, they are terrified, kidnapped and held prisoner. Life and death hangs in the balance, and is beginning to slide to the right.

 

In a lot of ways, this is a standard PR, but at the same time the strength of the women was pleasing, and the ideas behind human/shifter relations was interesting as well. It kept me interested, and left me satisfied. If you like PR with a ‘shifters in the modern world’ bent, give it a try. Free on Kindle Unlimited, or .99 if you don’t have KU.

Source: soireadthisbooktoday.com
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review 2016-05-18 22:14
A content editor could make this book exceptional
Beneath the Blood Moon - Amanda Jayde

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” -Buddha

 

The chaining of Fenrir cost the god Tyr his right hand” – Völuspá,  translated to English in The Poetic Edda,  Henry Adams Bellows, 1923

 

Free On Kindle!

 

Sara Watson thought her life was bad enough as it was. Working as a stripper and part time Vegas showgirl, she tries to hold down four part time jobs, go to college, and still pay the rent and eat. They say Vegas is a hard place to live, and she knows all about that. But even the hell of her life is better than the hell she ran from in New York. A father that beat and controlled her, a life with no meaning. At least now, if she can get through school, she can start a real life on her own – fake ID or no fake ID.

 

Yes, life was hard. But nothing as hard as being kidnapped along with her best “friend” (though the idea of friend is Las Vegas equates to ‘what can I get out of you for doing you the favor of being your friend) and dragged out to the desert by her ex ‘I’m-a-cheating-POS’ boyfriend who has tracked her down to Las Vegas to bring her back. Or kill her. Whichever works.

 

Telling him to get stuffed, taking her beating and broken ribs, then crawling out into the desert to die on her own and free is gutsy enough. I gained a ton of respect for her at this point, though I already respected her for keeping her moral compass (unlike her crappy friend) and going against said ‘friend’ and not going full-on prostitute made me respect her. Yep. She is one tough cookie, with more internal fortitude than any man her age I have ever known. But after the ex and the girlfriend finish doing the nasty and track her down as she crawls across the desert, then turn into wolves and begin eating her alive (literally), even weirder things happen. And suddenly, Sara’s life is more hell than she could have ever imagined.

 

Let’s get serious here. First, I really, REALLY wanted to give this book five stars with a bullet. Sara is tough and strong, yes. But she isn’t unbelievable, and she has a heart of gold and a strong sense of right and wrong – and did I mention the heart of gold? Then she meets four other women who are an absolute joy. Tough, take no prisoners women with a fetish for guns, not taking any crap off of anyone, and their husbands (pretty much in that order). There is romance, but no sex scenes, which was completely refreshing (if you are an erotica-only lover, skip this one). The story is fast, suspenseful, sometimes terrifying, and kept me totally immersed in the story. The characters are wonderful, the world building is unusual (living in the world as we know it, but with their own governance, etc.) Some of the scenes literally brought me to tears. That’s the good.

 

The bad came after I had a chance to come down off my ‘reader-high’ and start thinking about what I would write in my review, and realized I couldn’t give it a five at all. The story is complex, and kept my attention throughout, but there were some issues that a really good content editor could have solved. Ms. Blain has a brilliant mind for writing paranormal suspense, but she isn’t organized. She has a few different threads moving through the book, which is fine, I really enjoy books that are more than one-note songs, but she literally dropped the ball about midway through, dropping one of the more interesting story lines and never going back to it. No wrap, just dropped. Poor form. The book is quite long, 564 pages, and I was never bored or wanting to skip pages as I do with some longer books, and her descriptive narrative and conversational style was enjoyable, but dropping the story line, which I was invested in, shows a lack of organization. Editing for word usage, spelling, and dropped words was OK, but not good. Someone put effort into beta reading for that sort of thing, but the continuity is what killed it.

 

Overall, I will still recommend the book. The story and pace kept me up all night long (literally, yawn) and then the minute I rose I went right back to it and stayed with it to the end. Give this woman a good content editor, or just a whiteboard to write down all of her threads to make sure she ties them all up at the end and a couple of really good beta readers and she will be a force to be reckoned with in the world of Paranormal Suspense. Recommended, but could be better.

Source: soireadthisbooktoday.com
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review 2016-05-11 00:49
Read the first 2, skip the last
Federal Paranormal Unit Bundle: Shape Shifter Paranormal Romance - Milly Taiden

fpuI have enjoyed the works of Milly Taiden for quite a while. As a Paranormal Romance reader, I have been often discouraged that authors are more focused on the sex scenes than having anything more than a wisp of story line as a vehicle for stringing together instances of raunchy rollicking. Hey, I love me some hot and nasty, but I want a story to go with it. And, mostly, Milly doesn’t let me down in the boxed Federal Paranormal Unit set. I had read the first in the box, Wolf Protector, some time ago, then wandered away (as usual) before checking out the next two, Dangerous Protector and Unwanted Protector. Having the whole series as a boxed set on Kindle Unlimited was a real treat, as my budget right now is so tight it squeaks!  So what to do but write a review in thanks?

 

The first, Wolf, is the story I had read previously and enjoyed. Erica Villa is a Profiler for the Federal Paranormal Unit, and one strong cookie. Her particular skills are hidden from the others on her team, other than their boss, Brock. He is the one who has always stayed with her, allowing her to exercise her skills in private, without the others knowing just what makes her different, and so exceptional at her job. But now, Brock has to leave her in the hands of her team members.  Buchanan and Ramirez are shifters, and ‘man whores par excellance’ swooping in on every woman who crosses their path. Jane is their computer maven, brilliant, sensitive, and very private. Of course, Buchanan has been sniffing up Erica’s tail for the ten years they have worked together as a team, though Erica will be damned before she allows a Casanova like him to make her just another conquest. Yes, some women really ‘don’t’ fall all over themselves like idiots over the “Bad Boy” which made her refreshing. But when she is thrown into his care, and he see exactly what she suffers while doing her job, his constant longing for the woman he has always wanted, but who went out of her way to stay away from him, leaves him determined to protect her at all costs. Of course the HEA is there, but the story keeps it interesting.

 

Dangerous, the second in the FPU series, introduces us to two new characters to the team. Martin Galvez, the uptight FBI department head who is determined to take over the FPU at all costs, even though, as Cynthia Vega, the new head of the FPU, puts it, he never will head the group, “Because you’re not special.”  And Cynthia herself, who was put in place by Galvez to be his eyes and ears, pushing out Brock for top spot in the team. The only thing is, Cynthia has no intentions of telling Galvez anything. Take that, overblown politician ego!

 

When Cynthia finds herself in the position of being the boss of her ex-lover things are hard enough. Especially with his feelings over her walking out on their engagement ten years ago without a word. But when she gets a call from back home, a place she hoped never to return to again, Brock is determined to go with her to find what has happened to her niece who disappeared. What they find there opens up old wounds, and could very well lead to Cynthia’s death. Another good entry to the series.

 

Then? Then we get to Unwanted . . . and the whole freakin’ thing blows up, falls apart, and well, just Eww. I would swear that someone else other than Milly wrote Unwanted and she simply added it to her series without even reading it first. The dialog is stilted, the story line unbelievable, there was no logic to the story, and the tone was over-the-top preachy and unbearably ridiculous. Hey, I totally agree with the basic ‘save the environment’ sentiment, but this was just, just, Ugh. The whole thing reeked. I made myself flip through it, but I couldn’t like the book at all. While the other two are a solid 4 as paranormal romance, I can’t give this one more than a one, and a grudging one at that. There were a lot of signs that Milly didn’t write this (or she did it on drugs), from the lack of contraction use to the awful dialog and stilted writing style.

 

Overall, read the first two, but give the third a hard skip. It left a bad taste in my mouth after enjoying the first two.

Source: soireadthisbooktoday.com
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review 2016-05-10 23:31
A solid continuation
Alaskan Fury - Sara King

“It is the mark of the mind untrained to take its own processes as valid for all men, and its own judgments for absolute truth.” ― Aleister Crowley, Magical and Philosophical Commentaries on The Book of the Law

 

Ah, the hubris of the male of the species. No, it doesn’t really matter what species. Human. Shifter. Full animal. But make that a multiple centuries old Wereverine, and all bets are off. I mean, come on, Dude. You know the Hunters are out to get you. You know they will kill anyone and everyone they have to to get their hands on your lovely little Phoenix mate. And what do you do? You still want to run around out in the woods, advertising the poor, lonely werewolf in the woods who only needs a goodhearted little human female to love and protect. Snort. Like the Hunters aren’t going to figure it out?!?! Sigh.

 

The second in Sara King’s Guardians of the First Realm series, after Alaskan Fire is Alaskan Fury, and it is a fast thrill ride from the first. The wereverine being careless and self-centered is what got them into trouble last time, but they survived. But this time it may cost all of the residents of Blaze the Phoenix’s lodge their firefreedom – or their lives. But then, for people who turn into animals, or spirits who pop out of different realms, what is the difference?

 

Kaashifah the Fury, Chosen warrior of the Lord of War, has spent centuries tied to the djinn ‘Aqrab of the Fourth lands, each waiting for the other’s death blow. A blow that will place one or the other at the eternal mercy of the one who deals the blow. Deadly enemies, they are forced to live side-by-side through the ages, waiting for a wish that never comes. But now, to save their friends and neighbors, as well as save themselves from the Inquisition, they must put aside everything and work together for the good of all.

 

Again, King has written a fast paced, thoughtful novel of not only paranormals, but of those who hunt them. The tale twists and turns, giving both sides of the story, from the paranormals who only want to be left alone in the vastness of Alaska to the Hunters who are trained from birth to hunt, use, and kill them. The characters are diverse and well written, though again there needed to be an editor, so keep that in mind. There are unusual characters here, from Wereverine (were wolverine) to Phoenix, Fury, Djinn and more. Overall, a strong read for those who like strong women characters, fast paced action, and a good story line.

Source: soireadthisbooktoday.com
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