All of the books in Paige Tyler’s SWAT series have been über edgy because of the characters’ high risk jobs, but as an explosReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
All of the books in Paige Tyler’s SWAT series have been über edgy because of the characters’ high risk jobs, but as an explosives expert, Landry Cooper raised the bar even higher. TO LOVE A WOLF kicks off with a flashback to the incident that ended his military career (and turned him into a werewolf), moves on to a bank robbery where he meets the One, and then launches into the main plot which involves a serial bomber.
It’s amazing how many offshoots an author can craft from a seemingly simple baseline. I’d originally doubted these novels’ longevity because in my opinion the story lines involving hunky alpha werewolf cops were limited compared to the bevvy of potential sexual positions. Tyler proved otherwise by infusing her titles with protagonists whose complex backgrounds, varied personalities, and unique romances keep things hot.
In previous installments, SWAT’s classified nature has either been a secret waiting to be sprung on an unsuspecting mate or a case of like speaks to like, however in this particular instance it was Everly’s family who’s in the know which added yet another layer of intrigue to this series’ coffers. It brought the formerly subtle paranormal elements of this world to the fore, and also led to an expansion of the mythology.
It was delightful seeing the team member that everyone normally turns to for advice struggling to come of up with some pearls of wisdom suitable for his own situation. I enjoyed Cooper’s lightheartedness, hero-like qualities, and learning the more technical side of his branch of law enforcement. Danu’s complicated past made her a challenge to woo; I also liked her spirited nature, and her creative side. Another perfect match!
TO LOVE A WOLF or not to love a wolf—what a silly question!...more
Kitty has to head back to her hometown of Denver to tend to a family emergency, and in doing so ends up having to face the veReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
Kitty has to head back to her hometown of Denver to tend to a family emergency, and in doing so ends up having to face the very thing that got her and I off on the wrong foot since the first installment of this series. I was happy that Carrie Vaughn made her heroine confront her demons at this point in the story arc because I don’t think that I could have dealt with Norville in her submissive state for much longer. The vampire and police detective threads also picked up where they left off, and the romance took an unexpected turn which left me feeling pretty satisfied with this volume.
When push came to shove, Kitty made the right decision when the time came to face her fears for her mother’s sake, and I was relieved to see her get back on the horse so to speak. Her return wasn’t without its hitches, and she did have a couple of weak moments, but all in all Norville finally found her inner strength. I enjoyed her interactions with her human pack, and the various supes that she’s picked up along the way. My hope is that the winds of change continue gusting well past KITTY AND THE SILVER BULLET because now that I’ve gotten a taste of alpha Kitty, I can’t go back to the omega version.
Vampire politics usually make for interesting plot lines, and this one was no different. The author revealed just enough of their machinations to make me feel like I learned something important about their inner workings while keeping the rest in the dark, and me speculating in-between titles. The romance has taken a completely different direction than what I’d originally anticipated, and although I’m slightly bummed by that, especially after one particularly poignant scene, it shows promise. Albeit, I suspect that something (or someone) might happen that’ll rock the current pairing’s boat.
The Midnight Hour is back in business after a brief hiatus which is fantastic news because Marguerite Gavin has a real knack for the protagonist’s on air voice. There was also a fair number of characters in this audiobook what with the vampire/werewolf war, and the narrator made sure to give each of them their own unique tone and pitch; some I recognized immediately from the first novel while as others were brand new. Gavin infused the touching scenes between Norville and her mom with just the right level of emotion as well as the lovey dovey one towards the end.
KITTY AND THE SILVER BULLET was an installment that I could really sink my teeth in to!...more
I wouldn't want to binge read this particular kind of book because the humour would get old fast, but as an occasional breakReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
I wouldn't want to binge read this particular kind of book because the humour would get old fast, but as an occasional break from the norm, it's a good pick. The story is told from Hal's seriously skewed POV with blips from other characters (i.e. reality) he comes into contact with, and the outcome was gosh darned funny! The flow was somewhat disjointed though which made it confusing at times. That being said, I wouldn't hesitate to check out the next installment if Adrian Phoenix decides to turn this into a series.
THINNING THE HERD revolved around a farfetched mystery peppered with cartoon-like personalities, and a stalkerish romantic thread. In other words, the author set out to exaggerate every component of this novel to high hell, and she absolutely owned it! If you approach this title with a go-with-the-flow attitude, and just look at it as pure entertainment, then you'll find the experience rewarding, but if you don't fall into that category you might want to back away now.
I really enjoyed shadowing Oregon's Animal Control Officer at his day job; he's definitely in his own little bubble, and it was a riot seeing the world through his rose coloured glasses. Hal is under the impression that he's this big league superhero, everyone knows his secret identity, and that peps purposefully "pretend" they're oblivious *wink-wink nudge-nudge*. Also, according to Rupert, he & Desdemona are super tight when in truth she's actually seconds away from filing a restraining order against him. Aaah, young love.
Nick, the werewolf, and Galahad, the yōkai (cat shifter), were lively sidekicks, and the plot was pretty decent too until it seemed to get away from Phoenix for a bit. The protagonist up and went for a walkabout while the secondaries were fighting for their next breaths, and the leaps between possible Big Bads and their motivations were overly unchained for my tastes. I understand that the story was intended to be cray-cray; however the core structure still needs to be sound IMO.
THINNING THE HERD is best served with wine and lotsa CHEESE. ~3.5 Stars...more
Kelley Armstrong has a reputation for doing the unexpected, but in all of my years of following the OTHERWORLD STORIES I neveReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
Kelley Armstrong has a reputation for doing the unexpected, but in all of my years of following the OTHERWORLD STORIES I never would have guessed that Malcolm Danvers would be re-inducted into the American Pack. I genuinely thought that the probability of pigs flying was higher! DRIVEN begins with him meeting Elena in Bulgaria to discuss terms, ends with the unveiling of his true reason for rejoining, and there’s a kickass mutt hunt in-between.
This short takes place a couple of months after FORSAKEN, so because the two are closely intertwined it’s recommended that you read both. And, although the novella stands well enough on its own, newcomers will definitely miss out on the long running character histories. Malcolm didn’t become the nightmare of the werewolf world overnight, and in order to truly appreciate his level of depravity it’s important to start from ground zero.
Michaels is my favourite OTHERWORLD narrator, and I loved that she was this title’s lead. She’s getting more adept in her role as Alpha, and I really enjoyed how she handled Danvers senior. Wolves have a long life span, and the way the Pack is run has drastically changed since Malcolm was an enforcer, so it was fun watching him date himself, and I took real pleasure in the fact that his infamy was lost on the younger generation.
The Cain family needs no introduction because quite frankly they wrote the book on mutt bad behaviour. The plot surrounding the skinned weres was quite good, and I liked that Armstrong incorporated a few little bonuses that her rabid fans are sure to appreciate. Namely, the twins had a pretty awesome scene with Danvers, and Nick and Vanessa got a slice of a HEA which was nice. Davis also had one chapter from his POV—future Pack member?
August is an insanely busy month for me, and I’m not referring to real life stuff. I’m talking about the sheer number of mustReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
August is an insanely busy month for me, and I’m not referring to real life stuff. I’m talking about the sheer number of must-read Paranormal titles that are in the pipeline. I found out about this book two weeks before it went on sale, and don’t tell the rest of the pretties that are currently sitting in my review queue, but they all got vetoed by Molly Harper, and her werewolves. More sex, and a co-author helped to sweeten the deal.
I know that we’ve only just met, however I straight up LOVED the characters! Galina is a strong, independent woman who’s out to prove that anything men can do, she can do better. Andrey was a great pick for her for a partner; he’s a heavy hitter in their operation, yet he didn’t stand in Sudenko’s way of accomplishing her goals. Konstantin & Nik were SO cute, and Irina was pretty bold for a human. All raving aside though, Alexei & Maksim can go suck an egg!
The story delivered way more than I’d bargained for with its romantic entanglements, crime syndicate style subterfuge, and family double-crosses. When I booted up my Kindle, I fully expected to feel uncomfortable reading this novel in public either because of uncontrollable giggling spurts, or graphic humping. And, although it wasn’t quite as funny as some of Jacey Conrad’s alter ego’s works, the booty calls were on fire thanks to Gia Corona’s Erotica background.
It was the plot that gave this title a leg up on the Paranormal Romance genre, and just on book 1’s in general. I liked the idea of Russian werewolf mafia, and thought that the authors intertwined all three elements to perfection. The point that I am trying to make is that FROM RUSSIA WITH CLAWS is the whole package; the Sudenko’s are a fantastic cast, the HEA provided immediate bliss, and the prospect that additional installments may be in the works is gravy.
FROM RUSSIA WITH CLAWS was Gia Corona & Jacey Conrad’s first full length team effort, and I’m definitely hoping that it won’t be their last....more
IN THE COMPANY OF WOLVES opened with two hard hitting scenes; the first featured the traumatic event that induced Jayna’s chaReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
IN THE COMPANY OF WOLVES opened with two hard hitting scenes; the first featured the traumatic event that induced Jayna’s change, and the second was a full blown SWAT maneuver, but with werewolves! Paige Tyler dropped a few more bread crumbs about her supes, another couple got a sexy HEA, and this installment’s villains gave the boys in blue a run for their money.
The author has been taunting readers with snippets of shifter lore since book 1, and finally after three volumes, I’m pleased to report that sufficient dets have been divulged for me to go all-in. Now, don’t go getting too excited because Tyler really doesn’t give us much except betas and omegas, but from a werewolf fangirl’s perspective that’s enough.
I enjoyed the plot of this installment; all of the stories have been adrenaline fiends, however this one was especially cranked up on account of the antagonists being wolves too. SWAT had yet to encounter a situation in which they were evenly matched with the baddies, so that was cool, and there was also an undercover operation that gave the action an extra edge.
Cooper got suckered into helping yet another team mate hook-up with their The One. No, not really. He’s simply a stand-up guy, and I can’t WAIT to read his story! Becker was just as alpha as Gage & Xander, but in his own unique way. Jayna was a brilliant heroine, and I absolutely loved her pack mates: Megan, Moe, Joseph & Chris.
IN THE COMPANY OF WOLVES is proof that good things come in threes....more
This book’s blurb had fun written all over it, and there’s nothing sexier than a werewolf with handcuffs, so Loribelle Hunt mReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
This book’s blurb had fun written all over it, and there’s nothing sexier than a werewolf with handcuffs, so Loribelle Hunt made an easy sale with THE SOUTHERN BELLE’S GUIDE TO WITCHCRAFT. I surmised that this story would be light on intrigue, and heavy on passion, but it was actually fully loaded with both which really worked in SOUTHERN MAGIC’s favour because what originally started out as an lazy Sunday fling now has the potential of being a lengthy affair. The Burke witches have pizazz!
Paranormal Romances routinely only incorporate enough world-building to put the plot into context, thus I was delightfully amazed by the amount of detail that the author opted to include. This series’ universe was lush and vast; from its affluence of supes, to the lore encompassing the Earthly & Terran plains, to the deeply rooted history of the Burke family. Hunt also made future installments hugely appealing with her simple yet efficient set-up, and by getting readers to rally to her secondary characters.
Witches are an acquired taste that I haven’t managed to completely adopt, however Scarlet and her relatives are definitely on the right track. It helped that she wasn’t merely a magic practitioner, but also a capable Guardian, and an all-around stand-up human being. One would have to be in order to take in her deceased sister / cheating ex-husband’s children. The extremes Burke goes to in order defend her town, and kin were enough to make anyone love her, including this witch-y naysayer.
The romance was understated, yet impossible to overlook; for one, the chief of police presented an imposing, but tasty figure, and two, they never had sex in a bed! The hood of a car scored big points, however first place goes to the lunchtime hook-up they had on his desk AT the station. It’s good to be alpha! I liked that these scenes didn’t drag on as they are wont to do in this genre, although Scarlet’s chain insta-O’s were a little too rapid fire to be convincing, but that’s par for the course in PNR.
THE SOUTHERN BELLE’S GUIDE TO WITCHCRAFT was deep fried fiction at its finest. ~4.5 Stars...more
Men in uniform is already a winning combination for the majority of romance readers, but then Paige Tyler went ahead, and sweReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
Men in uniform is already a winning combination for the majority of romance readers, but then Paige Tyler went ahead, and sweetened the deal by casting sixteen alpha werewolves as this series’ heroes. WOLF TROUBLE was an improvement on the first book thanks to its less foreseeable plot twists, stronger amorous components, and because the shifter aspects were explored in greater detail. I thoroughly enjoyed my second SWAT experience, and will, without fail, be back for thirds!
My two main criticisms of HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF were with regards to its lack of insight into the author’s wolves, and the overall cheesiness of the love story. Both of those issues were addressed in this installment, and as a result, I now have no problem committing to this series for the long haul. Tyler didn’t disclose all of her furry secrets, but she did provide an answer to my query about female werewolves, and explored it at length, so on that front I was completely satisfied.
This novel’s plot was more along the lines of what I’ve come to expect from the Romantic Suspense genre as a whole with its multiple threads—none of which were overly predictable—and a generous helping of action to help offset the steamier bits. The author excelled at weaving in the various law agencies’ procedures by tackling things like inter-department collaboration, and bringing all of their specialized training to the fore. This book lived and breathed SWAT.
Khaki and Xander’s relationship was a huge step in the right direction compared to the previous couples'; there were no eye rolling moments, and its progression felt more natural due to the female protagonist already being a cop… among other things. Yes, there were still a couple of things that were lost in translation, but it was normal men are from Mars, and women are from Venus stuff. The boss / subordinate dynamics also made the stakes more interesting to say the least.
WOLF TROUBLE was a sexy game of tug-a-war between two alphas, and a must read. ~4.5 Stars...more
I openly admit that I prefer the furrier parts of werewolf fiction, so it was pretty much a foregone conReviewed by: Rabid Reads (posting on Sept 24).
I openly admit that I prefer the furrier parts of werewolf fiction, so it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that I was going to love AUTUMN MOON. The hero has never walked on two legs, and has been burning with the need to touch the female lead for over three hundred years. And, if that doesn’t reel you in; this series’ antagonists keep things plenty interesting, and there’s also mysterious powers at work with the potential to be total game changers.
Here’s another shocker for you: Cormack is my #1 CELTIC WOLF! I straight up adored his character; being human for the first time after centuries as a Bleidd is massive, and Jan DeLima seizes the opportunity to properly describe his transformation from start to finish. Cormack has to learn to walk, talk, and completely change his way of seeing the world. He’s also a special case where having a V-card makes sense, and I love it when it’s the alpha male who’s inexperienced.
Elen was a darned good protagonist as well, but then again all of this series’ heroines have been kickass. Her abilities are impressive, so right there you had me at “strong woman”. I also liked that the author succeeded in creating a MC that has an awesome connection with the natural world without going full on tree huger. Plus, it’s near impossible to find fault in someone who’s so intrinsically kind-hearted, that she’s capable of forgiving all offenders, even Mae.
The plot thread that revolved around Pendaran was horrible yet absorbing, and the new layer of Guardian lore was greeted with open arms by this reader. We learn of their true purpose, and Taliesin persists in torturing me with his secrets. The next couple was effortlessly prepped for the fourth installment, and largely I just thought that the story flowed better than the earlier volumes. After three novels, DeLima has the blending of Fantasy and Celtic mythology down to a science.
AUTUMN MOON stands on its own, so you have NO excuse not to hang with Cormack & Elen. ...more
We haven't gotten to see much of Alpha Elena, so it was great witnessing her knee deep in her newish role dealing with Pack politics, and the challengWe haven't gotten to see much of Alpha Elena, so it was great witnessing her knee deep in her newish role dealing with Pack politics, and the challenges that come with being not only the sole female werewolf, but also one in a leadership position. Kate frustrated me at times with her rebellious attitude, and independent streak; I had to keep reminding myself that she's only eight, and that her behaviour was age appropriate, and entirely understandable given present circumstances. All of my favourite furry Otherworld characters were out in full force, including the latest additions to the North American Pack as well as the current candidates. The twists involving the twins were totally squee-worthy, and this series' Big Bad tables a proposition that will leave me on edge until the next short is announced. Highly recommended, but not to be read as a stand-alone....more
Bowman & Kenzie’s relationship is near impossible to put into words; they got married to unite Shiftertown, but never forReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
Bowman & Kenzie’s relationship is near impossible to put into words; they got married to unite Shiftertown, but never formed a metaphysical connection even after fifteen years together, and a cub. The romance had a forbidden fruit / dead spark feel to it, however not because they can’t keep their hands off of each other, and live in constant fear of forming a link with someone else. Needless to say, it’s complicated, and that’s what made their story so gut-wrenchingly emotional. And, I haven’t even touched on the plot, action, or secondary characters yet! Yes lovelies, MATE BOND is in the running for my top werewolf read of 2015.
This was only my second encounter with Jennifer Ashley’s writing, and I was reminded once again why I NEED to one-click the rest of her SHIFTERS UNBOUND series ASAP. The world-building is top shelf, there’s an assortment of weres to fan-girl over—I’m partial to the wolves—and the dynamics between pack members, couples, and outsiders are exceptional. The author smoothly fuses humour, romance, and adrenaline while also going above and beyond in areas such as pop culture references, and mythology. I enjoyed the Guardian tidbits, and the DRESDEN FILES & IRON DRUID CHRONICLES hollas were just straight-up fun.
The protagonists are going to tie you up in knots with their crisis-of-the-heart, so brace yourselves for waterworks! Shifters place the mate bond above all things, and because Bowman & Kenzie have yet to form one, it’s expected that they call it quits if ever they find it with another. Both of them are tested in this book, and I was furiously cursing Ashley at certain points while mentally preparing myself for an ugly cry free-for-all. I loved the two leads, and how the author drove me into becoming wholeheartedly invested in the final outcome.
I liked how far reaching the story was from Ryan’s challenges as the son of an alpha, to Cristian’s problems with no longer being head honcho, and Gil Ramirez’s battle to find happiness. The villain’s depravity knew no bounds, just when I thought that his deviousness had reached its max, he pushed the envelope even further, and the last blow was godawful. Every minor thread was as all-consuming as the central plot was which made this novel seem as though it was superglued to my hands because I couldn’t pry it from my fingers.
LIFE AFTER THEFT – 4.5/5 One of the things that sets Kelley Armstrong’s OTHERWORLD stories apart is that she doesn’t only tellReviewed by: Rabid Reads.
LIFE AFTER THEFT – 4.5/5 One of the things that sets Kelley Armstrong’s OTHERWORLD stories apart is that she doesn’t only tell the “good” characters’ tales. The leads in this short were Hope Adams who happens to be an Expisco Half Demon and Lucifer’s daughter, and Karl Marsten, professional jewel thief extraordinaire and lifelong thorn in the Pack’s side. This was an entertaining read about one crook trying to con another (take a guess as to who comes out on top), and the protagonists’ struggle to be role models for their children when they both thrive on chaos.
FORBIDDEN – 5/5 This was a twisted novella that’ll leave you questioning who the real monsters are, and a great opportunity to learn about how Morgan joined the Pack. The author kept me in suspense, as she so often does, right up until the end about who the culprits were, and following Elena & Clay’s investigations just so happens to be one of my favourite pass times. I loved the brief look at Michaels’ challenges as Alpha-elect, and the mixture of werewolf / witch lore, and ritualistic magic.
ANGELIC – 4/5 Another story featuring the darker side of this author’s universe with Eve Levine and Kristof Nast as the stars. Savannah’s mom somehow got roped into doing the Fates’ dirty work in her afterlife, and this tale revolved around one of her missions. This was the first, and only appearance made by the Djinn in this series, so that was pretty cool, and I enjoyed watching Eve manipulate angels and demons alike. She’s such an awesome character to tag along with because she has zero qualms about being evil, and winning by any means necessary.
ZEN AND THE ART OF VAMPIRISM – 4/5 I had a decent idea where the plot was headed from the get-go, but you never know with Armstrong, so I didn’t count my chickens before they hatched. Zoe Takano is a secondary that plays a very minor role in the WOTO series, and pops up in a number of shorts, however little is known about her. This was a cute novella about two vampires trying to take over her home turf, and her non-violent way of getting them to think twice about their decision. The various Toronto landmarks that were highlighted during her guided tour of the city were a nice bonus too.
THE UNGRATEFUL DEAD – 4/5 Two entitled rich kids die in a car accident, and adopt the same snooty attitude as ghosts thinking that all necromancers must serve them. They bit off more than they could chew with one medium, and were then forced to seek out Jaime Vegas for help, only their definition of assistance was somewhat skewed, and they ended up getting exactly what they deserved. I liked how the protagonist tried to do the right thing until she realized why the other necro did what he did, and showed them why it’s important to stay on a Spiritualist’s good side.
COUNTERFEIT MAGIC – 3/5 Lucas & Paige remain at the bottom of the WOTO totem pole for me; don’t ask me why because I honestly don’t know. They are the straight arrows of this world which makes them stand-out like sore thumbs in a series where all of the other characters walk the line between light & dark. They’ve been married for eight years now, and this tale created unnecessary drama in their relationship in the form of potential infidelity. We did get some Savannah / Adam action in this one though, and the classic Cortez-Winterbourne investigation as well which saved it....more
GABRIEL'S GARGOYLES - 4 stars It was fun getting a glimpse of young Gabriel, although I can't say that he's much different 20 years later. He had to grGABRIEL'S GARGOYLES - 4 stars It was fun getting a glimpse of young Gabriel, although I can't say that he's much different 20 years later. He had to grow thick skin at a very young age, but I liked how he can turn any situation to his advantage—an excellent lawyer in the making! Bullies beat him up, so he steals their money, he hides an obvious stash of cash to keep his junkie mother from finding his real savings... I'm pretty sure I know who helped him out with his Xmas present for Rose, but that's not revealed until VISIONS, so I'll leave it at that.
THE PUPPY PLAN - 5 stars I've been dying to read a story from the twins' POV, so it was a real treat getting to spend some time inside Logan's head. This short is overflowing with cuteness, and I loved how being a parent hasn't changed Clay in the least, he tries to be responsible, but even his own kids aren't fooled. Armstrong still managed to weave a mutt problem into this tale while also delivering a magical Christmas moment. The bond between Kate & Logan was awesome; I can't wait to delve into it further in FORSAKEN this January!...more
March 20th couldn’t come soon enough as far as I was concerned because not only do I adore Sierra Dean’s writing and humour,Reviewed by: Rabid Reads.
March 20th couldn’t come soon enough as far as I was concerned because not only do I adore Sierra Dean’s writing and humour, but this spin-off series also promised more werewolf action than its big sister. I sometimes forget that SECRET MCQUEEN started out as 4-star reads, and didn’t wind up on my favourites pile until book 4, so when I loaded BAYOU BLUES up on my Kindle, my hope burned eternal. The story itself was tip-top, however like all younger siblings; I suspect that it’s going to take several installments for Genie to get out from underneath Secret’s shadow.
This novel had everything that I look for when I suss out Urban Fantasy titles: a resilient heroine, plot twists, budding romance, super-duper secondary characters, and dynamite paranormal elements. I wasn’t keen on the overdone anti-supe thread, although the author did modify it enough that the story didn’t suffer too much. The dialogue was shockingly snark-free; I missed the punchy one-liners that Dean’s other series is well-known for, and despite the odd funny bit, I found that the narrative was kinda stiff. I didn’t expect this spin-off to be a twin, but I did count on similarities.
Genie had some good, and bad traits; in the earlier chapters she was portrayed as doe-eyed, and naive, however as the book moved forward I found that she got her footing, and showed signs of being a protagonist that I could get behind. This installment transitioned her from spoiled royalty to fledgling leader; McQueen’s motivations were pure and well-intentioned, and it’ll be interesting to see how she handles Callum’s gift, her brother’s ambitions, and Pack politics. As a Princess, she needs to be more diplomatic than her sister, so Genie will doubtless be a different kind of heroine.
I was happy that the Church of Morning plot was dealt with in its entirety, and hopefully won’t be an on-going theme in this series, although I wouldn’t bet on it. Humans and supernaturals rarely coexist in harmony, but at least the author won’t be able to use this particular trope again. Still, it was an apt introduction to the new world order, and I enjoyed the smoke screens. I fully back Genie’s taste in men—Wilder Shaw, NOT Cash—and was crazy about fictional me’s debut even though it was short lived. I always knew that I wouldn’t last 2 seconds in UF!
BAYOU BLUES kickstarted my latest Sierra Dean infatuation!...more