Renee Rose & Lee Savino-Alpha’s Prize

Renee and Lee are at it again. Once again they have pulled us into their world of hot Alpha shifters and the women who are their mates. This time, we are getting the story of Carlos and Sedona. A good chunk of Alpha’s Prize takes place at the same time as Alpha’s Danger does. If you can cast your mind back to that story, you’ll remember that it’s about Garrett and his mate Amber, who also happens to be psychic. When Garrett’s sister Sedona goes missing, he takes Amber to Mexico to try to find her.

Still casting your mind back, remember that Sedona was kidnapped by a shifter on the Mexican beach. She was then sold to another group who dragged her to their home. That group was the Monte Lobo pack. Fun fact, Monte Lobo means Wolf Mountain in Spanish, which you may or may not already have known, so maybe less of a fun fact, but whatevs.

Those pendejos were el consejo of the Monte Lobo pack. They are a council of elders and have been ruling the pack while Carlos has been in the US going to school. Those fuckwads are led by Don Santiago, who is also a relative of Carlos. They are very not nice guys and have been running the pack for their own glory and benefit. When Carlos comes home from college after graduation, they use him as a puppet Alpha. He wants to make changes, but el consejo keeps putting him off. Fun fact #2, in the FB groups, the question was asked whether or not it was bad to want Carlos to kill the council. The overwhelming answer to that question was that it wasn’t bad to want that to happen.

The council has locked Sedona in a cell. Not only is she naked, she’s chained to a bed. The council brings Carlos down to see the wonderful prize they secured for him. Then they locked him in the cell with her. So, here we have a hot Alpha male and a hot Alpha female who just happens to be fertile, and it’s the full moon when shifters tend to be really randy anyway. The pendejos want for Carlos to impregnate Sedona at the very least. The Monte Lobo pack is severely inbred, and they need the new blood. If Carlos doesn’t make Sedona his mate, then the council wants her to be a broodmare for everyone. Brood wolf? If Carlos does claim Sedona, that’s almost as good, the council thinks he can just keep her pregnant.

So, we know that Garrett and his dad rushed to rescue Sedona. What we didn’t know until this book is that Carlos sent Juanito to set her free so that she could go to her family. He felt bad what the council did to her, even if he doesn’t feel bad about mating her. So, he lets her go. I think he was also doing it for the good of his pack since Garrett and her dad’s packs would’ve ripped the Monte Lobo pack to bits and pieces and then pissed on the bits and pieces.

OK, so this is where we separate if you want to stay spoiler-free. I love this series, and each one is better than the last. Renee and Lee write some spectacular scenes apart, but when you put the two of them together, they must egg each other on, because the scenes are even hotter. This book has one of the sexiest sex scenes I’ve read and considering that you guys know what I read, that’s saying something. This one is a bit darker than the other books, in my opinion, mostly because of the fact that it deals with the capture of Sedona. There is some very hot spanking and punishment. In fact, I wonder if I could borrow Carlos for a few hours, because hot. I’m looking forward to the next book, which involves Amber’s friend and a member of Garrett’s pack. Promises to be good, and with a heroine named Foxfire, I’m betting colorful too.

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When you read the book, you’ll get the reference to mangos. I don’t even like mangos all that much, and that particular scene made me want to get to know mangos better, because dayum. I may or may not have gone back to reread it. Hell, who are we kidding, we all know what that means. You’ll probably want to go back and reread it too. Pro tip: highlight it which will make it much easier to find.

I suspected Santiago of being the dickhole that he was, but I didn’t think he was as big a dickhole as he was until he turned out to be. OK, strange sentence, but you get the point. I expect he’ll be back through in books to come. I mean, he has to be, right?

I love that Carlos worked hard to not just jump on Sedona and make her decisions for her when he found her in Europe. Of course, he had to follow her there, but still. He did let her go out and make her decisions and live her life, which she’s never been able to do. Even when they are together in Europe, he works hard on wooing versus going all cave-Alpha on her. But, he does use the fire he gets from her to clean house, which is yay.

OK, that’s all I have for today. Everyone go out and buy some mangos, just in case you feel inspired after you read this one. Tomorrow, we have a Jaye Peaches book, To Hold You. Meanwhile, happy reading!

 

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Lee Savino-Bonded to the Berserkers

(I’m writing this part before I’ve even finished the book. I’m 70% done right now, just getting the post started. I swear I’ll finish it before I write more. It’s really good.)

So, Lee Savino has brought us a new entry to her Berserker series, Bonded to the Berserkers. There are a whole lot of books before this one. They really aren’t standalone, you do need to read the whole series before you get to this one. Luckily, they are pretty quick reads, so go get up on that.

So, I’ve finished now, so yay, back to the Berserkers.

OK, backstory of the Berserkers. The stories take place in the Viking era. The Berserkers are all Vikings or Celts who were going to go fight for a jarl, who wanted to make sure he got the best warriors possible. So, the last 100 standing he had turned into werewolves. The Berserkers had three forms, man, wolf, and beast. The beast is a mindless hybrid. While the beasts give them some awesome power in battle, the problem is that they slowly go mad from having it inside of them. The Berserkers need to have mates in order to keep them stable, but the problem is that they searched for many years with no luck and the men started to despair. Finally, they discovered that there were women who could mate with them. Those women had their own magic and were called spaewives.

The first spaewives were 4 sisters, and were the first Berserker books. Now, we have a whole abbey full of spaewives, and they are in the Berserker Brides books. I’m going to say right now that I love all of these books, including this one. It’s a good series, a nice balance of sex, violence, spanking, and plot. However, my very favorite is Kidnapped by the Berserkers. There’s so much pain in it, but it’s so beautiful. But, back to Bonded.

Bonded is the story of Laurel, Haakon, and Ulf. Note, the majority of the Bersker books are MFM menages. Laurel is the cook at the abbey, and when the Berserkers come to raid the abbey to get all the orphaned spaewives, she holds off Haakon and Ulf for a moment with pots and pans, and a huge cauldron of cabbage soup. That doesn’t stop them for very long and Haakon grabs Laurel, tosses her over his shoulder, and away they go.

Haakon and Ulf have a warrior brothers’ bond, which means they can communicate mentally, and the same woman will be the mate for both of them. Ulf went through a fire and half of his face is burned, so he thinks he’s too ugly for a mate. Haakon is the more easy going of the two.

While they are trying to get away from the Corpse King, Laurel tries to run away. Haakon has gone off to try and find a different path and Ulf scares Laurel. When she runs away, she runs to the edge of a cliff and falls over.  Haakon catches her and breaks her fall by breaking himself, badly.

Ok, so we all know what time it is. If you don’t want to risk any spoilers, then this is the place to end for you. If you haven’t taken a look at this series at any point, I recommend you do so. It’s full of very hot Alpha guys and strong women. Yes, the women end up submitting to their mates, but they aren’t weak-willed women. They are fighters and strong in their own right. The women claim their mates as much as the men do. They are lovely stories, and each one has its own HEA. The series does build from one book to the next, so I truly recommend you start from the beginning if you haven’t read it.

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Alright, now that it’s just us, I can let my hair down and talk about the good stuff.

Laurel is tough, she really is. She is willing to fight for Haakon when Ulf has to lure the Grey Men away and Haakon, still injured, is left alone. She wants to keep her men safe, just like they’ve done what they can to keep her safe. Ulf literally walks through fire for her.

Ulf did make me mad. Not at all his he’s too ugly for a mate shit, but for the fact that he dumped Laurel in the unmated women’s quarters. I just wanted to smack him for that. He does make up for it, but still, I got mad.

Lee always comes up with some hot punishments, and she didn’t miss her mark here. I loved the final punishment and the one that Ulf does with the frame. I may or may not have highlighted that section for… later use. It was nice to get a check in with some of the other spaewives. It’s not a whole huge followup, but they were friends with Laurel, so it makes sense to have a little check in.

I love Lee’s books, and I love the way she writes her characters. One of my favorite things about this book is how much of a boob man Haakon is. Literally, he talks to Laurel’s bosom at one point. He’s obsessed.

Anyway, excellent book, excellent series, can’t wait for the next one! Check it out, and happy reading!

Imagine my ARC disclaimer here.

Lee Savino & Renee Rose – Alpha’s Danger

Taken separately, Lee Savino and Renee Rose are two of my favorite authors. They write some steamy stuff. But, when you put them together? Well, the temperature soars. That’s what happens with Alpha’s Danger. This is the second book in their Bad Boy Alphas series, and it is hot, hot, hot! This series just keeps getting better. I can’t wait to see what #3 will be like. I may not survive it.

Anyway, the main characters in this book are Garrett and Amber. Garrett is the head of the Tucson pack. Amber is the sweet human girl next door who just happens to have visions.

Amber is a lawyer who walks into the elevator in her apartment building and has three big, heavily pierced, and tattooed guys walk in after her. She thinks they all look like members of a motorcycle gang and worries that they are all thugs. However, that doesn’t stop her from being attracted to them, or at least one of them.

She worries even more about them when she finds out they are her neighbors. She calls the office to get the scoop on the guys, but the woman she talks to doesn’t seem all that happy with her questions. Turns out, Garrett not only lives next to her, he also owns the building.

Garrett knows that he is old enough that he should stop running his pack like it is a motorcycle club, grow up, find his mate, and settle down some. Problem is, he hasn’t found anyone that he wants to mate with. Meanwhile, he’s trying to keep his sister, his pack, and his wolf under control. His wolf likes the way that Amber smells and wants her. The problem is that Amber is human and humans can’t survive the mating bite.

Amber and Garrett start getting close and then she discovers he’s a werewolf. He swears her to secrecy, which he thinks she breaks when her friend Foxfire says something. And isn’t Foxfire just the most awesome name? Meanwhile, Garrett’s sister, Sedona, named for where her parents conceived her, has gone missing and he needs Amber to find her.

Now is the time for you to stop reading if you don’t want any spoilers. I love these two authors. I automatically read anything of theirs, even before I got to be on their ARC teams. (Yay me!) There is a lot of language in it, some spanking, and some seriously hot sex. If any of that bothers you, don’t read it. If, on the other hand, you think that’s totally awesome, go hit up ‘zon and check it out.

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OK, if you made it past the eye candy, I’m assuming that you don’t mind the risk of spoilers and want to get more of my thoughts and opinions.

You remember how I said that humans can’t handle the mating bite? Turns out that Amber can. She kind of forced Garrett to do it because she saw herself with the bite, so told him that she could obviously survive it since she saw herself as having survived it. Her visions have always made her sick, but Garrett makes it possible for her to have them without pain, which turns out to be important to the rest of the story.

I really enjoyed this book. Amber discovers that yes, she likes being spanked and having Garrett be the Alpha that he is, but that doesn’t mean that she is going to roll over and take it. She can stand up to him and does stand up to him, which I think is good for him. I’ve read too many books where the heroine gets spanked, discovers she likes it, and then all of sudden isn’t herself anymore. She just becomes overly submissive and loses her personality. That doesn’t happen with Amber.

So, I heartily recommend this book to everyone, at least everyone who likes hot alphas, pretty women, hot sex, and being spanked. It’s going to definitely be in my reread pile.

Imagine my standard ARC disclaimer here.

Kate Daniels Reread pt. 2

My next-to-last post was all about the world of Kate Daniels and such. Today we’re actually going to get into the books. I’ve read the first three, but this review may or may not talk about all three. From now on, the reviews will just be about one book at a time. I just got ahead in my reading. So, without further ado, let’s start reviewing!

Magic Bites

Magic Bites is the first book in the series. In it, we are introduced to Kate, a merc. She’s sitting in her house in Savannah, GA, drinking when a vampire shows up to ask if she’s talked to her guardian lately. Ghastek was the one who was navigating the vampire. He and Kate are going to have an interesting relationship over the series, so remember his name.

She rushes to Atlanta to find that Greg Feldman, the man who was her guardian after her father died, has been gruesomely murdered. He was the resident Knight-Diviner for the local chapter of The Order of the Knights of Merciful Aid. The Order is kind of like modern day Templars, only slightly less merciful. They will provide mercy, but sometimes that mercy is provided at the edge of a sword. The Order was founded right after the tech fell and the shift started. It is very regimented. Greg did get Kate into the Order’s Academy, and she tested out at electrum level, which is the highest you can go, and there have only ever been like 8. However, she walked out and became a merc, which drove a wedge in between her and Greg. There will be more about the Order in reviews to come. Anyway, she goes to the head of the local chapter of the Order to get help and ends up with permission to work with them to find Greg’s killer.

On the way to the solution, she goes to the morgue and meets Crest. She goes to Unicorn Lane and meets Curran, greeting him by saying “Here, kitty, kitty.” She goes to the Keep and meets Derek Gaunt, faithful, teenage, werewolf sidekick. And she goes to the Casino and has to talk to Nataraja. More to come in the spoiler section.

Magic Burns

In Magic Burns, a seven-year flare is coming. A flare is several days when the magic is extremely high. It’s a high peak of magic that plateaus during that time. Saiman, Kate’s magical expert, metamorph, and deviant extraordinaire, calls it the time of the gods. And he’s not wrong. During the flare, shifters have a hard time controlling themselves, Navigators have a harder time controlling their vampires, and magic users and magical people, like Kate, get a huge power boost.

This book starts out with Kate doing a merc job partnering Jim, a were-jaguar and the chief of security for the Pack. They are trying to track down a madman with a salamander. A salamander is a magical creature that starts fire. Just as Jim and Kate catch their firebug, he gets shot with a mysterious black arrow. Then Jim gets paged by someone in the Pack and has to leave. Remember, with the Pack, it’s us against them, and for Jim, he will drop everything when the Pack calls. He’s the Alpha cat and the security chief, so he’s super-duper responsible.

Later, Derek comes to ask Kate for help because someone has stolen maps from the Pack. Their maps are uber-accurate, and highly sought after. This person poofed in, grabbed the maps, and poofed out. While she was trying to figure out how to help with the maps, she runs across a street shaman named Red who had helped her a little bit in the last book, and his girlfriend, Julie. Julie’s mom is missing and Red tells Kate to take care of her. More in the spoiler section.

Magic Strikes

Magic Strikes starts out a few months after the flare. Kate is headed home from her job at the Order. She runs across Jim and some other shifters picking up a dead body. She offers them help, Jim turns her down. When she gets home, she gets a call from Saiman, telling her to come pick up something of hers. It turns out it’s Derek, who has snuck into his apartment to steal some tickets to the Midnight Games. The Games are an underground fighting tournament. In it, teams go into the Pit and fight each other. Derek has been working undercover in the Games and has found a young woman he’s trying to help, Livvie. That’s why he wants the tickets. Saiman extorts Kate into going to the Games with him, and Derek asks her to give Livvie a note from him. While this sounds like a minor little thing, it turns out to be pretty important.

So, we’ll leave it here until the spoiler section, which, as this is getting long, is going to actually show up tomorrow, I think. I don’t like to read long blog posts, so I don’t want to write them for people.

There is romance in the series, but there isn’t really any in the first books. Kate and Curran get a little kissy face going on, but nothing else really. It’s not until the fourth book that their romance really gets going. In these books they are still dancing around each other and kind of confrontational. Really, I think foreplay for them involves arguing and physically fighting with each other, in a sparring way, not in a bad way.

It’s a good series, well-written and enjoyable. The way the books work, they build on each other. Each book adds more to the characters and to the world, so there is always something new to find out. I really love that.

So, here is where this quick overview of books 1-3 ends, and we get ready for tomorrow’s post, which is going to be spoiler-iffic. And I’m going to leave you with this beautiful picture of a Barbary lion, just because.

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Kate Daniels Reread

0So, I mentioned that I love Ilona Andrews and the Kate Daniels series and that I read it often. Well, I’m rereading it now, in between ARCs and other books. I thought that I would do a review of the books as I reread them and my thoughts on them, as I find new things in the older books and reread the newer ones again. See, I’m just positive that all y’all want to know what I’m reading and what I think. I’ll reread all the novellas that go along with the series too, but I rarely read them in the place where they fit into the books’ timeline, I just read them all when I’m done, generally because I still can’t get my head out of Kate’s world.

I sort of consider Kate Daniels to be in the post-apocalyptic category as well as being in the UF category. While there hasn’t been a huge apocalypse like one may think, the fact that tech and magic are at war with each and there are times that magic rules the world and time when tech rules the world and so many things just don’t work anymore is apocalyptic to me.

I’ve already read the first two, Magic Bites and Magic Burns, and I’ll be getting into the third one, Magic Strikes, in a couple of days since I have some ARCs to read and review, as well as a couple of other books I need to get read and reviewed. I’d complain about having so many things on my To Be Read pile, but I really can’t. I just have to complain that there aren’t enough hours in my day or days in my week to get it all read. But, it’s better than not having enough to read.

The main character in this series is Kate Daniels. She starts out as a merc with a mouth and a big secret. Her secret could mean that everyone she knows dies, if it gets found out. She is much more powerful than people think she is, and she does everything she can to keep that power hidden. She was trained by her father, Voron, to be an awesome swordswoman and fighter. He also taught her to hold vengeance near and dear to her heart. He tried his best to turn her into the perfect sociopath, though it didn’t quite take.

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There are a lot of other characters that show up, and I’ll talk about them as they pop up, but the big one I’m going to mention right now is Curran. Curran is the Beast Lord, the Alpha of the Pack, which includes all shifters in Atlanta and surrounding areas. He’s a HUGE lion. Kate describes him as a paranoid psychopath. He is very controlling and holds to his rules very tightly. In this world, that’s important for shifters. They can either go Code or go loup. The Code is a set of rules that each shapeshifter needs to follow to help keep their animal side under control. Going loup means that the animal has overtaken the human side and the shifter runs around going crazy, attacking people, causing general chaos and mayhem. But that’s not the only reason that Curran is a control freak, it’s also the fact that he is an Alpha. Alphas are controlling and dominant, it’s part of their make up. And since he’s the Alpha of Alphas, he’s even worse.

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I’ll talk about more characters as they come up when I’m reviewing the books. But, I do want to mention two groups, the Pack and the People.

I’ve already said that the Pack is led by Curran. It’s made up of six clans into which all shifters fall into. Each clan is ruled by their Alpha, which is usually, but not always, a mated Alpha couple. They have the highest say in their clan, but Curran can override them. Each Alpha couple has a seat on the Pack Council, which is the ruling body, headed by guess who. The clans are Boudas, who are were-hyenas; Wolves; Clan Nimble, made up of animals like mink, foxes, etc,; Clan Rat, who are generally the scouts of the Pack; Cats; and Clan Heavy, which are the big shifters, like bears, buffalo, and such-like. The Pack is based in the Keep, a huge fortress that they have built, and are continuing to build. Membership of the pack is somewhere around 1,500.

The People are the Navigators of the Dead. Vampires are created by a virus, and are turned into mindless killing machines. Navigators are people who have the power to take over the minds of the vampires and control them. They can see and hear everything the vampire can see and hear, and can converse through the vampire. The People are based in the Casino, a huge Taj Mahal inspired building that is part casino, part stable for vamps, and part office building. In the early books, the head of the People in Atlanta is Nataraja. Unlike the Pack, which has no higher structure, the People do have a much larger structure, which is headed by Roland (remember that name).

This post is getting long enough, so I’m going to split it off here. Tomorrow will begin the actual reviews of books 1 and 2.

As always, if you have suggestions, questions, whatever, let me know. If you have a book that you are gagging for me to read and review or you just think that I would love to read it, let me know. I’m always up for more books to read. And I generallay think everyone is entitled to my opinion, LOL. No really, I just like sharing my opinions and viewpoints.

Have Mercy! The World of Patricia Briggs

Welcome to another entry in my UF category, saga, whatever you want to call it. Anyway, today is Patricia Briggs and the world of Mercedes Thompson, which also includes the Alpha and Omega books, since they are a spin-off of the series.

At first glance, Mercedes Thompson looks like a Native American mechanic who specializes in working on Volkswagens. And yes, she’s heard all the jokes about Mercedes the mechanic who works on German cars. But, when you start to look deeper at her, you find out that there is a lot more to her than you think. One of those things is that she turns into a coyote. Unlike the werewolves in this world, which take a long time to change and who go through a lot of pain during their change, Mercy can change immediately, with no pain at all. That’s because unlike the werewolves, who have to be changed into being a werewolf, Mercy’s power as a skinwalker is innate. In the first book, we learn that her mother didn’t know what to do when she went into see her baby and found a coyote pup in Mercy’s crib instead of Mercy.

Because of that fact, Mercy isn’t brought up by her mother. She had an uncle who knew Bran, the Marrok. The Marrok is the Alpha of Alphas. He is the head of all the werewolves in the US, and while he doesn’t rule the other countries, he does have some influence, mostly because he is very old and very powerful. And when I say very old, I mean centuries, as in double digits of centuries. Grendel from Beowulf may be based on Bran. Anyway, he has a pack in Montana and finds Mercy a place with a foster family, where she spends her childhood until she’s a teenager when she gets sent to live with her mother and her mother’s family, in Washington State.

Back to Bran for a minute. Bran is Welsh and has two sons, Samuel and Charles. Charles is the only born werewolf. His mother was a Native American and had her own magic. She managed to hold off the change while she was pregnant so that she could give birth. Generally, female werewolves can’t carry children because the change is too violent. Charles has his own magic through his mother, and his change is more like Mercy’s, and he can come back fully clothed. He’s only a couple of hundred years old. He is also the main character of the Alpha and Omega series, with his wife Anna. She is a rare Omega wolf who is outside of the normal pack structure and acts as a calming influence. Omegas can help out with wolves who are out of control.

Samuel is Bran’s older son and isn’t too much younger than his father. When Mercy was a teenager, he romanced her and she fell in love with him. He wanted to have children, and he saw Mercy as a way to do that, since she wouldn’t lose her children due to her shifting, since her powers are in-born.

Mercy’s garage used to be owned by Zee, a fae who identifies as a gremlin. He’s one of the few fae who can handle touching cold iron. Zee has a long and storied history that he keeps pretty secret. He is powerful enough that the Grey Lords, the leaders of the fae, don’t like to bother him much. The fae are out and have been for years, and many of them live in reservations. The one nearest her is in Walla Walla.

One of Mercy’s loyal customer is Stephan, who loves Scooby Doo and owns a VW bus that has been painted to look like the Mystery Machine. He also just happens to be a vampire, and owes allegiance to Marsilla. Stephen and Mercy are friends.

And that brings us to Adam Hauptmann. Adam is Mercy’s neighbor. He is also the Alpha of the Tri-Cities pack. He also declared that Mercy is his mate. Mercy thinks it’s just to protect her and doesn’t realize how serious it is that he did that. He gets over-protective and she does what she can to annoy him, like leaving an old VW in a field between their homes that she vandalizes, just to ruin his view. Spoiler, Mercy does eventually find out how serious Adam is about the mate thing.

I really love these books, and I run through them about once a year. Patricia Briggs has great world building, and not only has characters you love to love, but she also has characters you love to hate, *coughChristiecough*. While there is sex and language in the books, they are relatively mild, and absolutely kink free. There is violence, but that’s to be expected in books like these.

The orders of the books is:

Mercy

  • Moon Called
  • Blood Bound
  • Iron Kissed
  • Bone Crossed
  • Silver Borne
  • River Marked 
  • Frost Burned
  • Night Broken
  • Shifting Shadows
  • Fire Touched
  • Silence Fallen 

Alpha and Omega

  • “Alpha and Omega”  published in On the Prowl and Shifting Shadows 
  • Cry Wolf
  • Hunting Ground 
  • Fair Game
  • Dead Heat 

Coming up in the next couple of days, reviews of two ARCs, Tears of Surrender by Sophie Kisker and Kavven by Hannah Davenport.