I’m an unabashed Lauren Dane fan and have been auto-buying her contemporary romances for a long time, but I always love it most when she visits the paranormal side. (I absolutely adore her Bound by Magick series, and suggest you pick up Heart of Darkness ASAP for a whole lot of “mine” goodness.)
So, yes, I totally jumped on Moonstruck. Werewolves plus magic plus Lauren Dane? SOLD. And I’m happy to report it lives up to the expectations. One of the things that is often standout in her work is the large family/friend dynamic. In this element Moonstruck is no exception.
Katie Faith moves back to Diablo Lake after her father has a stint in the hospital, which is rough for her because she fled following a pretty embarrassing left-at-the-altar moment. She wanted to pretend she doesn’t belong in her small hometown of shifters and witches, but she really does. Her magic is thriving, and that makes the two shifter packs (one with her ex and one with the super sexy next-door neighbor) want to argue over who she belongs to. Katie Faith belongs to herself, damn it, and hero Jace knows it. He won’t fall into the traps of others or the old “traditions” of his father.
Moonstruck is straight-up trope-y goodness with paranormal spice. You have lovers who are fated for one another—expect some quick desire to claim, but a whole lot of family obstacles making for delicious delays—class warfare, second-chance romance, and the perfect small-town setting. The secondary characters are fully developed, which makes me excited to see how the others’ stories will come together in later books.
It’s a light paranormal romance that offers some good laugh-out-loud moments and a comfortable feel for anyone who enjoys small-town romances of any persuasion. It’s a good start to a new series, and I’m excited to read more adventures in Diablo Lake....more
Day Shift, like so many engaging mysteries, picks up steam as you delve further into its stoThis review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
Day Shift, like so many engaging mysteries, picks up steam as you delve further into its story. The novel begins at a meander—it took me three chapters before I was hooked back into the world set in Midnight Crossroad. The easy pace at the opening of the novel is a clever deception on Charlaine Harris’s part. She’s such a master of this. She skips from one eccentric Midnight resident to another touching on day-to-day minutiae that give the novel the feeling of a languid character study. Toward the end of the novel, though, you’ll be sprinting to solve mysteries.
The rich ensemble she’s crafted for this series is engaging and curious and Day Shift gives us more. We learn more about each of the characters, what makes so many of them more than human, but questions aren’t easily answered in Midnight. There are far too many secrets for that. And perhaps that’s why I was hooked the second we had chapters from Olivia’s point of view. While Manfred, the key protagonist of the first novel, is again front-and-center, Olivia is equally so this time. She’s engaging and fascinating and has the right amounts of ingenuity and darkness to make me crave every passage with her.
While Day Shift focuses on its characters, the deeper we get into the story, the more the plot winds. More secrets are revealed, and by the end I found myself rushing forward to get the answer of the whodunit instead of simply wanting more time in Olivia’s head.
Without giving any of the clever twists away, I was shocked to discover that the Midnight, Texas world coincides with that of the Sookie Stackhouse one. An ancillary character everyone will recognize makes an appearance in this book, and fit right in with the Midnight crew. It was curveball, and at first I balked a bit, but quickly everything fell in to place and I understood the decision. Plus, it’s like an Easter Egg for the Sookie fans.
Harris continues to be a master at the character-driven story. Day Shift has a cast worthy of your investment and intrigue piled upon intrigue. I’m eager to get back to Midnight, Texas just to unearth more of their secrets....more
I'm a big fan of the enemies-to-lovers trope, and this one has it in spades. That said, their issues do repeatedly interrupt them right before sexy acI'm a big fan of the enemies-to-lovers trope, and this one has it in spades. That said, their issues do repeatedly interrupt them right before sexy action. It's purposeful frustration, but I did reach a point of saying "just do it already!" aloud.
That said: BOWEN. So alpha. So tortured. So delicious. ...more
Can someone please tell me why I didn’t start this series sooner? As a fan of the sexy/dangerouThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Can someone please tell me why I didn’t start this series sooner? As a fan of the sexy/dangerous mixture of Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series, I should have known she’d offer a one, two punch in a straightforward paranormal romance.
Slave to Sensation has a mental game of cat and mouse, shifters who are all about “skin privileges” and completely enthralling sex scenes. Really, Slave to Sensation in one word is enthralling.
The romance is heady. Lucas and Sascha fall into the enemies to lovers trope, but it’s more than that. They agree to work together on a business deal, both with ulterior motives. Sascha is a Psy. Her emotions are supposed to not exist. She is supposed to be clinical, detached and logical. (Kind of like Vulcans.) This makes her kind the opposite of everything the changelings value. Changelings, or shifters, are about nature and emotion. The best example of the difference is not that Psys avoid touch, but that they’d prefer to use science to make children instead of doing things the—ahem—old-fashioned way.
Here’s the thing, though. Sascha isn’t a normal Psy. She feels and it takes constant effort to keep up mental walls, to make sure no one knows. The consequences for feeling in her world are worse than death. Only Lucas makes her feel. He makes her question what she knows about her own kind. He makes her want something more, even if it only lasts a few days.
Singh was smart in the way she brought these two together. Sascha is so cerebral and so scared of anyone finding out the truth, she starts to open to Lucas in shared dreams. Dirty dreams where she tests the waters, imagines what it would be like to touch someone, to be touched back. It’s these baby steps that make her reactions to her first real kiss with Lucas feel genuine. We get pulled through their love story with growing tension that makes putting the book down near impossible.
While I clearly devoured this book, I wasn’t immune to some of the obvious points in the plot. Maybe I read too many angst-filled novels, but I felt like the big conflicts toward the end of the novel could have been harder on them both. I expected things to fall apart and have to be repaired, and it didn’t ever get that bad. That said, the characters were engaging and the writing super sexy.
I may have immediately downloaded Visions of Heat (Psy/Changeling #2) after finishing Slave to Sensation. The romance will keep me coming back to Psy/Changling again and again.
Jessica McClain could use more females on her side, and I’m game because after just one night wThis review was originally posted at Vampire Book Club.
Jessica McClain could use more females on her side, and I’m game because after just one night with her—oh, Full Blooded was must-devour-at-once read—I need another book or three with her as the main character.
In Jessica’s world werewolves are par for the course. They’re also always male. Her dad is the Alpha of his pack. Her brother is ferocious, too. And, well, she grew up with them as the human sister. Werewolves aren’t supposed to have female children, but when she didn’t shift into a wolf at puberty, folk calmed down. She moved away, took an alias and became a P.I.
Apparently, she was just a late bloomer. At 26, Jessica shifted for the first time. The first female werewolf in existence. Maybe more. And it scared the crap out of everyone in the supernatural community. They need to try and hide it, because the supes think her turning is damn near a sign of the apocalypse. Only keeping that a secret isn’t all that easy, especially when you have a woman who fought so hard for her independence. Jessica’s not willing to be hidden away, and she craves the fight.
Quick writing and a heroine women will love make Full Blooded a delight to read. Jessica McClain manages to be one of the boys and fiercely independent. She’s at times girly, at others positively feral. The dynamic is engaging.
It doesn’t hurt that our Jessica might have a thing for a guy that should be sooooooo off limits. And readers will love him. I did. (See how I’m not telling you which guy it is? Spoiler-free review FTW!) Trust me, though, Jessica has excellent taste in men. Nom.
The plot thread opened at the end will leave you clawing for book two. Really. It may involve the aforementioned Captain Hottie. Despite that, the ending isn’t a burn the bridge cliffhanger, and I loved every bit of Full Blooded. You will, too. I know these things.
Sexual content: Sex and really epic kissing...more
J.A. Saare is at her best when she merges emotional turmoil with cutting action scenes. TheThis review was originally published at Vampire Book Club.
J.A. Saare is at her best when she merges emotional turmoil with cutting action scenes. The latter half of Crimson Sunrise brings this repeatedly in fresh ways that make your heart break for some characters and want to hug others.
Crimson Sunrise picks up a few weeks after Crimson Moon. While Emma and Caleb are happily together, they haven’t had much alone time. The two are staying with Caleb’s parents and others in the werewolf pack are around … lots. Caleb’s wolf has claimed Emma as his mate, so this makes her family. And adjusting to their nature — and not being around her trueblood vampire parents — makes her a bit antsy.
A kidnapping puts the pack on high alert, and Emma is sure the trueblood vampires are involved. I don’t want to give anything away, but there are prophecies, trickery and our girl chooses to become either a vampire or a werewolf.
While the first half had me making Twilight illusions (only with the vampire being the one heartbroken and not loved ‘that way’ — poor Trent! — and the werewolf being the alpha asshole at times), this isn’t a bad thing. The romantic elements were elevated and the way Emma handled Trent and his feelings were far better than Bella’s stringing along of Jacob. That said, the second half ditched the love triangle bit and focused on Emma and Caleb working together to fight the big bad.
Saare manages to write eye-popping action scenes that evoke emotional revelations from her protagonists. It’s in these moments that we see Emma’s strength, her devotion to friends and family and just how much power this one woman holds. Really, once you make it halfway through this one, it picks up speed and intensity. The ending sets the stage for book three and some big-time drama while still giving closure. (Thank goodness.)
Sexual content: Sex, kissing, lots of interrupted making out...more