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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 2020-06-13 18:23
The Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie Fox
The Accidental Demon Slayer - Angie Fox
Lizzie's adoptive parents were decent enough but never very loving, so she's thrilled when her biological grandmother contacts her out of the blue and wants to meet. Her dreams of warm hugs are ruined when her grandmother locks her in her own bathroom, just in time for a demon to appear and try to kill her. Once that's been dealt with, her grandmother explains that she's a witch and Lizzie is a demon slayer, and they have to get moving before more demons arrive. Lizzie is a preschool teacher who carefully plans everything, so this is very much outside her comfort zone, but she eventually grabs her dog Pirate (who can now talk) and reluctantly gets on her grandmother's motorcycle.
 
Lizzie's grandmother takes her to the Red Skulls coven, where she's supposed to gain the coven's protection and begin learning to use her powers. These plans are complicated by imps, more demons, a sexy shape-shifting griffin named Dimitri, werewolves, and no one being willing to tell Lizzie anything about what's going on.
 
If I hadn't been reading this for my Booklikesopoly game, I might have DNFed it early on and added it to my offload pile. I wouldn't have missed out on much. This was an incredibly frustrating read. Pretty much the only things I liked were Lizzie's talking dog, who was a bit much at first but eventually grew on me, and maybe Lizzie, although I did think she was way too forgiving.
 
Lizzie barely got a chance to speak to her grandmother for the first time before she was dragged into a world of magic and supernatural creatures. With no time to get her bearings, she was taken to her grandmother's coven, where she was told nothing important and immediately made to take part in a protection spell that wasn't fully explained to her. She was rightfully worried about drinking something that might have bits of roadkill in it, and that potion turned out to be the most important part of the spell. She then blamed herself for screwing up, even though it was due to the coven not explaining anything to her, and the coven had the gall to get mad at her when they found out.
 
And it kept happening - everyone either lied to Lizzie, expected her to do as she was told without even a basic explanation, or deliberately withheld information from her. Most of the characters in this book sucked, and I wouldn't have blamed Lizzie for leaving them behind to deal with their problems on their own. Dimitri, Ant Eater (a member of the coven), and Lizzie's grandmother were the biggest offenders.
 
There was no magical system as far as I could see. If the author wanted a spell to exist, it probably did (there were giggle, dance, and transportation spells), and Lizzie eventually learned how to use these things called switch stars that were basically magical ninja stars. The ending was a mess - Lizzie and her grandmother did things more because the story called for it than because it fit anything that had previously been established about how magic and demons worked.
 
The "paranormal romance" label on the book's spine wasn't very accurate. Lizzie thought Dimitri was hot, and they eventually had sex, but there wasn't much of what I'd call romance and the story was more focused on the whole demon thing than on Lizzie and Dimitri's relationship. "Urban fantasy with romantic aspects" might be a more accurate label.
 
Anyway, I don't intend to read any more of this series. The dog was sweet, but the magical aspects were very weak, and Lizzie deciding to stay with people who'd spent the whole book lying to her or refusing to tell her anything she needed to know honestly made me think less of her.
 
(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)
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review 2020-06-09 16:12
Wolf Hunt
Wolf Hunt - Jeff Strand

by Jeff Strand

 

Part Horror and part farce, this is a fun read, if perhaps with a little too much gratuitous gore on occasion.

 

A couple of thugs with a reputation for competence are hired to take a man in a cage to a location and told he's supposed to be a werewolf. They don't believe it, but they follow the rules given to them anyway, for all the good it does them. Naturally they lose control of the situation and chaos ensues.

 

Despite their criminal faults, George and Lou become likeable characters that garner sympathy as they get deeper and deeper into a no win situation. They even start to develop some conscience and blame themselves for the werewolf's murderous spree. Their attempts to recapture a creature that can't possibly exist are the stuff of dark comedy, though there are serious moments.

 

The story has plenty of action, almost non-stop, all the way to the end. Trying to guess who will survive to the conclusion becomes almost a game, like reading a George Martin book.

 

Overall very well done. I would consider reading this author again, though what I see of his other works looks pretty squicky.

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review 2020-06-07 13:37
Thor
Thor - Wayne Smith

by Wayne Smith

 

This is an original take on a werewolf story. It's told partly from the pov of a German Shepherd dog who belongs to a typicaltm American family. The father is a lawyer, the mother appears to be a housewife and there are three children. They all love their dog and he loves them and instinctively protects them, referring to them as "The Pack".

 

Sometimes he protects too well and gets in trouble with Dad. It's interesting looking at things through his eyes. The author seems to know a lot about dogs and his perspectives come over as fairly realistic. The first few chapters of this would make a nice, wholesome dog story if it weren't for the intimate moments between Mom and Dad getting a bit too graphic for very young readers.

 

When Thor senses an unknown danger coming and starts to catch the scent of an unidentified wild animal in places and on belongings associated with a relative of The Pack, we see his confusion as he tries to work out where the threat is coming from and how to protect his family.

 

Some dramatic werewolf action happens in the last quarter that had me breathless. It was very well done! Though a couple of challenges to belief (besides, you know, werewolf) kept it from quite reaching that fourth star.

 

Still, a worthwhile story and watching the change in consciousness in one transition to werewolf was more than intriguing.

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