This review will contain my full reviews for each of the books in this new collection.
Death's Servant, Prequel 1
Have you read the V V Inn series by C.This review will contain my full reviews for each of the books in this new collection.
Death's Servant, Prequel 1
Have you read the V V Inn series by C. J. Ellisson? If so, have you wondered how Jon, an alpha werewolf, came to be part of Dria's entourage? If you haven't yet, what are you waiting for? :)
Jonathan Winchester (Jon) has had enough. His strong alpha wolf can't handle anymore conflict with the other alpha and his mate in the pack he's part of in Manitoba, Canada. Two alphas in that close proximity are bound to cause problems anyway. When Jon later finds his girlfriend in bed with another pack member and things hit the fan, Jon leaves. He ends up back in The States, specifically Virginia, close to his hometown.
A chance meeting finds him face-to-face with another werewolf; Raine, a beautiful waitress who claims there isn't a pack in the area. When his inner wolf wants to claim her as his mate, he tries to keep things slow with her. In doing so, she begins to pull away, rejecting his requests for dates and just flat out avoiding him - until he follows her...right into a vampire brothel.
His only way of rescuing those inside is by finding a bigger, badder vampire than the one running this one. And in searching out another vampire, he finds Dria and her human husband, Rafe. Will they be willing to help and at what cost to Jon?
I love C.J. Ellisson's V V Inn series. The characters are well developed and have fantastic personalities. Death's Servant is no different. We finally get a glimpse into how Jon became part of Dria's team. We watch both Dria and Jon struggle while coming to terms with how their relationship comes to fruition. The fact that Dria has a very tight hold on her humanity keeps the union between them from becoming violent or messy. Her want and need to help the slaves in the brothel shows just how much compassion this vampire has.
I'm glad I finally was able to read the book after having purchased it so long ago. If you haven't had a chance to read The V V Inn series, I highly recommend that you do.
Vampire Vacation, Book 1:
This is a great paranormal mystery. Alexandria (Dria to her husband Rafe) and Rafe own The V V Inn in Alaska where it's dark 24/7. Because of the name of the inn most customers and people on staff call Alexandria "Vivian" or "Viv." I found this too be an interesting play on words.
It's never a good thing when you're an innkeeper expecting your next wave of guests and, while inspecting the rooms, you find a dead body; especially the dead body of someone not registered as a guest. Throughout the book there is an ongoing search into how the body of John Pierre all while Dria and Rafe tend to all of the guests throughout the inn and beyond to the cabins outside.
The book is told from Alexandria's point of view and is in 1st person present tense. I have a hard time adjusting to 1st person. This book, however, wasn't that bad. The problem I usually have stems from the last of 1st person characters to have any character or personality. Dria and the rest of the cast have personality to boot. There is humor and snark that made me laugh out loud and anger and sadness that I also felt pull on me.
The Hunt, Book 2
After getting her employees and all the current guests involved in the undead-hunt for the bad guy in Book 1, Vampire Vacation, Dria, aka Vivian, and a few of those close to her decide to add this type of activity to the ever growing list of fun you can have at The V V Inn. With Vivian being as powerful as she is, what could possible go wrong? Right?
A great sequel to Vampire Vacation. This one is a bit different, however. It is still told in 1st person present tense but each chapter is told from the perspective of a different character within her seethe.
Ch. 1 = Vivian Ch. 2 = Rafe Ch. 3 = Asa Ch. 4 = Joanna Ch. 5 = Drew And so forth and so on.
I really enjoy the different viewpoints drawn out in this manner. It makes shifts in the dialog easier to follow since we know who exactly is talking/thinking/acting at that present moment. Merrie Destefano's "Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles" and "Feast" are written in this format and I've reviewed them both on my blog if you'd like to reference them. I'm also in love with The House of Night Books and they are also written this way.
As with the first book, this book, while not as erotic as Vampire Vacation (Book 1), contains strong sexual content throughout the entire novel.
Big Game, Book 3
Book 3 finds our super-vamp, Dria, and her sexy as sin hubby, Rafe on their way to Argentina. With them are some members of the seethe; Paul, Drew, Chelle. Dria and Rafe are bound and determined to figure out who wants them dead. Coming to the Tribunal's base before their intended arrival date doesn't seem to interrupt the plans of those that want Dria and Rafe to disappear...permanently.
Back in Alaska, Asa, Jon, and the rest of the crew there are preparing for the big game hunt when werewolves from various packs come to enjoy the fruits of Dria and Rafe's land. When the wolves become the animals hunted, it's time to figure out who is betraying the compound.
This is another absolutely fantastic book in the world of C.J. Ellisson's vamps and weres.
This installment of The VV Inn series is told in 1st person present tense and like Book 2, The Hunt, each chapter is told from the perspective of a different character within her seethe:
I love the writing style of C.J. Ellisson. Her characters are quirky, humorous, and quite likable--even the bad guys/gals are written in a way that you love to hate them. The suspense of both story lines - who wants Dria dead and who is hunting the wolves - is fantastically written. There are several HOT HOT HOT scenes that certainly leave this book steamy. I really liked the first 2 books in the series but I LOVE book 3. The dual story line keeps you fully engaged in the book. The plot is well developed and while the 2 storylines are in different parts of the hemisphere, Ms. Ellisson keeps them tightly connected. Bravo!...more
Nora has a very sad past that involving the death of her twin sister. During that time, a demon was beckoned from The Grave, who then denied the summoNora has a very sad past that involving the death of her twin sister. During that time, a demon was beckoned from The Grave, who then denied the summoner. As Nora tries to grow up as normal as possible, there are still residual hauntings that hit her out of nowhere.
This is what she thinks is happening after she hears things, sees things, and begins having ghoulish nightmares. In order to regain a sense of normalcy, Nora agrees to a weekend away from it all with a bunch of her friends. The getaway is at Aidan's house - the guy she can sense from across a room and kind of creeps her out.
When they go into the old Victorian home, Aidan has pretty strict rules about not going up any higher than the second floor. When questioned, he doesn't really have an answer but insists that his late grandfather indicated that it's unsafe. Of course, teens will be teens and next thing you know, the whole group of them are suddenly locked in a room without a door and a demon is beckoning them to the Challenges that await just beyond his shadow.....
Are you ready to be taken on the "living nightmare" of a lifetime? That is exactly what happens as soon as you open this book. Join Nora, Aidan, and a bunch of their friends as they try to outsmart a demon in room-after-room; each containing one friend's nightmare. Only those who can survive the trials will get to escape The Demon's Grave.
What a mind bending horror story! I was hooked from the prologue. As the story progressed you can't help but become attached to the main characters. Nora has such deep seated issues pertaining to her past and she's tries not to let it affect her. Most of the time she's successful at hiding her pain but when strange things start happening, little bits of memory force themselves to the surface. Aidan is a huge mystery throughout the book. Does he know the demon, or what his familial house harbors? Can either one of them trust each other to get them out of The Demon's Grave safely?
The writing style of this book is wonderful; smooth and flows along nicely. The entire book is engaging for the reader and there aren't any dull or boring moments. I found The Demon's Grave to be a nice and easy read. It took me a couple days to finish the book but when I wasn't able to be reading it, The Demon's Grave was all I thought about. It's one of those novels that tug at you and beg to be picked back up.
Please note that this is a trilogy and as such not all in Book 1 has been wrapped up into a nice neat package.
Also, remember that there is a Content Warning for Language, Sexual Innuendos & References, Minor Gore, & Violence.
Age Recommendation: 17+
Review copy courtesy of the author, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review....more
The Damnable Legacy takes the reader on a very emotional journey through the lives of several people. The cast of characters range from a teenager inThe Damnable Legacy takes the reader on a very emotional journey through the lives of several people. The cast of characters range from a teenager in a bad home environment, to a mountain climber, to a still grieving widower. Yet, as different as the lives are, they are very much intertwined; connected by things that they weren't aware of and things that will forever change the rest of their lives - for however long that may be.
The book is told from Beth's POV. Beth is a cancer victim speaking through the pages as a spirit watching her carefully thought out plan come unglued at the seams, threatening to go astray. She knows a secret that will unite the cast of characters in unlikely ways and has set a plan in motion to do just that. As many plans go, however, nothing seems to be working out the way it's supposed to and her entire legacy is threatened. Will what Beth knows but never revealed while alive ever make its appearance into the lives of those she left behind?
I'm must be upfront about something - I would never have chosen to read this book on my own. It's not that it doesn't sound good or interesting but I prefer cozy mysteries, something paranormal/urban fantasy filled, or contemporary romance. I was asked to review the book. It's a re-release and the new publisher requested a review. I went ahead and decided to give the book a chance, knowing that if I didn't like it or wasn't interested in it after I began, I could stop reading it and move on to something else.
I was hooked from the first page. The author puts so much emotion into her writing and is so descriptive that you can't help but keep reading. As clues are given and parts of Beth's plan are revealed you have to keep reading in order to find out just how everything relates. The novel bounces between Lynn, as she prepares to climb a mountain, Ryan as he prepares to honor his wife's final wish that he scale Mount Denali in Alaska, the entire climbing team, and then Frankie's various adventures throughout the novel. Engagement is very strong in The Damnable Legacy and keeps the reader interested, emotional vested, and unable to put the book down.
The book is full of regrets, sadness, and tense moments but it also teaches lessons, displays courage, and emphasizes that not all hope is lost. Be prepared to become fully immersed in The Damnable Legacy as you take on and feel the emotions of each character - Frankie when she's taken to a ranch for troubled children; Beth as she watches her husband Ryan display an attachment to Lynn; Frankie's grandfather when he makes the decision to send Frankie to the ranch; Lynn on her last encounter with Ryan; and the revelation that Beth and Lynn both come to at the same time as Lynn ventures back down the mountain.
Frankie exhibits emotional issues and as such, I must note a trigger warning involving self-mutilation.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review....more
Kate's sisters take her out one evening in an effort to get her to meet more people - especially of the male persuasion. She wasn't planning on reallyKate's sisters take her out one evening in an effort to get her to meet more people - especially of the male persuasion. She wasn't planning on really finding anyone to talk to until she sees Matt. She finds herself drawn to him, that is, until he tells her he's a former cop and currently part owner in P.I. company. She has something in her past that makes her refuse to see any law enforcement officer as a good guy/gal.
Matt can't believe he's met someone that actually has him thinking about settling down. He has a clear "No Commitment" policy going on and she's testing his limits. Kate clearly has issues, however, and not wanting to upset her, Matt sit idly by, biding his time waiting her for her to feel comfortable enough to open up to him.
When a link to Kate's past shows up in Matt's present, will their relationship strengthen or fall apart completely?
Kate and Matt both have pretty sketchy pasts - Loss, suicide, foster systems, alcoholic parents. Kate is starting over in a new city with 2 of her sisters that she lived with in foster homes. Kate and her sisters have each adopted a child, saving them from the life bouncing from foster home to foster home. Matt grew up in a home with an alcoholic father. He was shot in the line of duty, unable to recover enough to be a street cop, so he opened up a P.I. business.
There is a reason that Victoria James is one of my all-time favorite authors - she writes impassioned and realistic contemporary romances. To date, I've read all but 2 of her books (I have them and they will get read) and each one manages to evoke emotional responses from me. At the very least, I tear up during some part of the novel. Her characters are believable and realistically written. She touches on topics that are sensitive but she writes them with class and respect.
Victoria's writing is phenomenal. Her characters, the plot, themes, drama, and passion pull the reader in and keeps them engaged. There is true emotion that can be felt by those readers that become one with the books they read. I am able to get lost in the novels and put myself right into the middle of them. I feel for the characters and drawing on my emotions is what makes a book worth 5 stars for me. If I hurt with them, cry with/for them, laugh, or get angry, then the author did a fantastic job and has written the perfect book - or in the case of Victoria...books, for me.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts about this book are my own....more
Blake has believed that her mother was dead her entire young life. When she turns 18, she and best friend Shelby seek entertainment by way of a fortunBlake has believed that her mother was dead her entire young life. When she turns 18, she and best friend Shelby seek entertainment by way of a fortune teller. What she professes to know includes Shelby encountering death and Blake will receive a visit from death - two entirely different meetings with death.
Especially when death turns out to be none other than Blake's mom.
Now that Blake is 18, her mom has popped back into her life to help her develop her reaper skills. Being half human and half deity, Blake can assist spirits cross over from our world and into the next. Unfortunately, due to unfortunate circumstances, Grim, Blake's mom, is unable to reap souls and send them on their merry little ways. It is now the job for Blake - one that is hard for her to accept at first. After a while, however, she feels it's her duty to help those spirits move on before they become "lost." Will Blake be able to restore balance between the living and the dead or is the imbalance already too great to be salvaged?
I was engaged rather quickly and The Reaper's Daughter kept me interested and entertained. I found Blake's actions and reactions fit perfectly with how one might be if their "dead" mother suddenly reappeared in their life, told her she was half human/half deity, and that she was also a reaper of souls. Talk about a shock to the system for an 18 year old - I think if I were her I'd be trying to find the nearest rock to live under.
The author's writing in The Reaper's Daughter is well thought out, smooth, and consistent. There wasn't any discomfort due to awkward conversations or actions among the characters. All-in-all I like the novel. It has all of the required elements for a paranormal novel. There were twists and turns that take the reader on quite the ride right along with Blake, Shelby, and some of their new friends.
Review copy courtesy of the author at no cost, in exchange for an honest review....more
Deanna Randolph has finally entered her first season in Newport. She, and her parents, are hoping for a better outcome at this event than her season iDeanna Randolph has finally entered her first season in Newport. She, and her parents, are hoping for a better outcome at this event than her season in New York. Joe Ballard decided not to pursue an engagement with Deanna, humiliating her and her family. Now she has to worry about seeing him at all of the Newport gatherings and she's just not sure how she feels about that. Fortunately, there is a new gentleman in town, Lord David Manchester, and it seems he has his eye on Deanna - or maybe Deanna just wishes it so. Her very proper mother hopes to find Deanna a match soon so as to put the embarrassment behind them.
When a maid is found slain on the rocks behind the home of the first event, Joe becomes a suspect due to unfortunate timing and circumstances. It's up to him and a reluctant Deanna to weed through the money and high society patrons to find out the truth behind the death. Of course, the main persons of interest are of the working class and finding the real killer may just put more people, including Deanna and Joe, in danger.
Deanna is being raised as a proper woman of the times, although, she's not all that thrilled about it since she desires independence. She finds herself drawn to the death of the maid, wanting to help avenge her, all while trying to prove that, while Joe may be a scoundrel, he's not a murderer. Her character is well written and I found myself rooting for her. She knows what's proper and what's not but also knows right from wrong - even if doing what's right isn't what's proper. I enjoyed the kinship she shared with her maid, Elspeth, in a time when fraternizing with the help was not accepted.
I found A Gilded Grave to be a well-written historical novel. The story was engaging and the main characters were likable. There was a touch of romance but nothing that overshadowed or lessened the importance of finding out who the killer(s) is. The murder mystery was suspenseful, never really revealing information that may give anything away. I loved the twists and turns that the author threw at the reader - it's hard to accurately guess when there are so many players that fit the bill. All in all this was a nicely laid out mystery novel.
Paperback review copy courtesy of the publisher, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, opinions, and statements about the book are my own....more
Please Note: There may be spoilers from book 1 and potential spoilers from Baby's Got Bite!
Baby's Got Bite overlaps book 1, Take It Like A Vamp, for aPlease Note: There may be spoilers from book 1 and potential spoilers from Baby's Got Bite!
Baby's Got Bite overlaps book 1, Take It Like A Vamp, for a short time at the beginning, taking the readers back to Casey and Nick's wedding in Greece. After the stage is set between Bennett and Linc, the story then jumps ahead 10 weeks. What was supposed to be a one night no-strings-attached fling becomes much more involved.
Linc is a werewolf, and as such, he is unable to get a human pregnant. Yet, here Bennett is pregnant and knows full well it belongs to Linc. Think about that for just a second - I'll wait..... The history provided by Bennett about her family is vague at best. Bennett's mother indicated that her father was gone and naturally she figured that meant either dead or he abandoned them...until she learns the truth about her parents.
The dialogue and banter between Linc and Benette is wonderful. It's playful at times and snarky at others. Bennett is fiercely independent, learning to take care of herself long ago. Have a hot and intense alpha male in her life was never the plan...but then again, neither was becoming a mother. The direction this book took in regards to unplanned parenthood and the union of two independent souls was refreshing. I'm so happy the author wrote the book with a caring, loving father who is involved, instead of making him appear incompetent or a deadbeat. Having a strong male take of the mantle of responsibility all while falling in love with the mother of his child is endearing and makes me hopeful for the their future.
The main issue I had with the book, which gave it 4/5 stars instead of 5/5 stars is the lack of an action sequence that the blurb indicates there will be. We didn't have an "Alvinia" in book 2 like we did in book 1. All of the build up to the uniting of 2 enemy clans in this book led to a pretty lackluster crescendo.
Baby's Got Bite was a wonderfully written and fast paced paranormal book, despite the action sequence issue. The story is fun and definitely hot and sexy. The reader will get to visit with characters from Book 1 but they don't overshadow the main power couple. If you're looking for quick paranormal romance reads, I recommend you check out both books in the Take It Like A Vamp series.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley at no cost, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own....more
Averie has a rough life. As such, in order to help make ends meet, she takes on a catering job working for her friend Mike's mom. The catch? The job iAverie has a rough life. As such, in order to help make ends meet, she takes on a catering job working for her friend Mike's mom. The catch? The job is inside a haunted mansion. When the mysterious owner, Mr. Brackett, requests Averie to be a seated guest at the meal, she hesitates until she's offered more money. Little does she know that she's part of an experiment to travel back in time to prevent the heinous crimes.
It helps settle Averie when one of the guests, Quillan, joins the party. When the clock strikes midnight, it's Quillan who transports Averie to safety - all the way back in 1859. Quillan has mastered the art of time travel for the sole purpose of preventing the Faulkner family tragedies. The prevention of the massacre will affect much of the town's lineage and will forever change Averie.
I was pleasantly surprised with this time travel novel. Sure, there are some issues that didn't make sense - such as, when you change the past, you also change the future. This was touched on but for as radical as their murder prevention was described (who died, who didn't, how lived happily ever after, and so forth), the ending didn't seem to change enough. However, I enjoyed the characters, especially how Averie couldn't contain herself and act the part of a late 1800's woman. She ruffled a lot of feathers when she interacted with the slaves, which was not accepted back then.
One issue I had with the book was the POV. I am not a huge fan of 1st person and this book is written that way. First person always seems harsh and more abrupt than 3rd person and I don't find it particularly pleasing to read.
There is a romance that builds throughout the pages but it doesn't overshadow the story. I enjoyed reading about Averie after she's sent back to a time so drastically different to the modern age. She just can't stand idly by during the time of slavery and the Underground Railroad. I enjoyed the historical attributes to the book. All-in-all though, One Last Time was an quick and easy read.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher through NetGalley, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review....more
Georgia Thornton is down on her luck. First, her fiance leavers her at the alter; then, she loses her job on the police force; and finally, she ends uGeorgia Thornton is down on her luck. First, her fiance leavers her at the alter; then, she loses her job on the police force; and finally, she ends up on the reality tv show Love or Money going to face-to-face with 10 men, which really isn't all that bad, if you think about it....I'm talking about the men and not the being ditched or getting fired parts. After all, she could find love and/or make some money (since she doesn't, you know, have a job).
Everything is moving along as it should, that is, if you think finding your next romance on a tv show is the way to go. At the taping of the very first date, however, tragedy strikes in the form of a defective bungee jumping cord. The injured party, no longer able to compete, is replaced my none other than Georgia's estranged fiance, Paul, who just happens to be a police officer. While trying to figure out the mystery behind the defective bungee cord another contestant is found dead. Add in a suspicious makeup/hair stylist, fishy circumstances, and dates with a bunch of hot men and you have a wonderful book.
I was hooked from the beginning. I started reading the book about 7:00 pm and couldn't put it down. I finished reading it before going to bed at midnight that same evening. The premise of A First Date with Death will be familiar to those that watch The Bachelor and/or The Bachelorette. Actually, even if you don't watch them you'll catch on pretty quick (I don't watch either show but know enough about them to make the comparisons). I found myself trying to identify the men there for love and those who were only in it for the money right along with Georgia.
I enjoyed the multitude of red herrings tossed around to keep the true villain under wraps. I had no idea who the murderer was until near the end of the novel. The novel has humor at all the right times and wit. There are emotional scenes that occur between Paul and Georgia and her pain is so heartfelt and realistic.
The only real complaints I have are the rush at the end and the date scenes. After building up the mystery and suspense, the quick revelation was a bit of a let down. Some of the date descriptions were a bit wordy, too, and just seemed fluffy. I'm hoping that the reveal is paced a bit better and the descriptions are overly flowery in the next book.
For the most part I found this cozy mystery novel to be entertaining. The plot was well developed and the story was paced out well (except for the rushed ending). Once I began A First Date with Death, I was engaged immediately and read the book in one sitting (as noted above).
I'm pretty pleased with the protagonist, Georgia. While many may think that she was passive or not engaged enough, I found her character to be written well. She'd lost her job, was left at the alter, and was trying to find love and help a friend by appearing on a reality show. She wasn't bargaining on death, mayhem, and her former fiance to rear their ugly heads in the midst of taping. Her actions and reactions were spot on with the happenings that unfolded in the book. The bachelors all played their part well and the show "must go on" mentality was felt throughout the book. The introduction of Paul was curious and added another level of depth to the novel. His presence was actually good for Georgia in several ways that you'll discover as you read the book.
I anxiously await what the author has in store for Book 2.
Review copy courtesy of the author, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts and opinions in this review are my own. ...more
In conjunction with the upcoming 40th anniversary of the epic release of Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen comes a short picture book inspired by his mIn conjunction with the upcoming 40th anniversary of the epic release of Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen comes a short picture book inspired by his music. Johnny 99 is a race car that's been busted again for street racing. In his quest for independence, Johnny travels across the United States looking for adventure. When he finally returns home to his family, he's an altogether different vehicle.
This is an easy to read book that children will love. They won't get the musical references but the illustrations are bright and vibrant and the story has depth and meaning. Any child that loves cars will find great joy in this book. Parents, grandparents, babysitters, and more will have a fun time reading this to small children. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if lovers of The Boss start belting out the songs that are quickly referenced in the picture book.
Paperback review copy courtesy of the publisher, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own....more
Ramona is a vocalist that attends a Liberal Arts School in Milwaukee, WI. While living like most college students; poor, uninsured, and unsure how sheRamona is a vocalist that attends a Liberal Arts School in Milwaukee, WI. While living like most college students; poor, uninsured, and unsure how she's going to continue to pay for things as they come up in her life, things take a drastic turn. She's been feeling under the weather lately with severe abdominal issues that reach a crescendo one day during vocal practice. On the advice of her vocal instructor, Roni heads to the campus clinic who, after finding a painful spot under her ribs, refers her to the Surgical Center for either an ultrasound or endoscopy to figure out the problem.
Enter one Dr. Dexter Frost. With one icy stare, he's able to turn Ramona from a sick college student into a patient in heat.
Throughout Volume 1, we get snippets of Ramona's life as she relives memories. As the story progresses, Ramona's past threatens to overtake her multiple times. Her illness isn't helping; she's overly tires; stressed out about things happening back at home with her grandparents; and now she has to figure out how to pay for medical treatment.
The first part of this series sets the stage of what can only be anticipated as hotter, steamier, and more erotic things to come. We get some background information about Ramona that seems less than helpful right now but I have no doubts that all will be explained in due time. The chance meeting with Dr. Frost enlightens the reader a bit more about Ramona's mother - yes, there is a link.
The PDF review copy that I was provided by the author at no cost, in exchange for an honest review, was 108 pages longs. I zipped though that and got to the major cliffhanger ending a whole lot faster than I thought I would. The story was so engaging and easy to read and then I was at the end. I can't wait to see where Eme Strife takes us next!...more