Nia Ferrell & Claire Marta-Morgan

This is the first book in a new series from these ladies, and I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of the series. This book was really intense, both in sexy, sexy times, because those are great, as well as the interpersonal relationships between Morgan, Aiden, and Zac. But, it’s also incredibly suspenseful and the story is compelling. So, let’s talk about the first book in the Guarded Hearts series, Morgan.

Morgan is a grad student in psychology who lives with her roommate Casey, who is in the ATF. Morgan is working on her thesis about sexual surrogacy, and to that end, she is actually going to take on a client and be their sexual surrogate, and use her experiences in her thesis. And so enter Zac and Aiden.

They are members of the Order of the Phoenix, a mysterious order that fights evil. They used to be based in Notre-Dame de Paris, but, you know, fire. So now, they are in Morgan’s town, renovating an old military school/base called The Citadel. And part of their new remit is to date, mate, and procreate. The problem is that the guys make the most socially awkward person you have ever met look like Casanova. I mean, they were out at a bar and there was a woman there who they took over their knees and spanked. Whoops. Not the best thing ever, so now they have to go to therapy. They are getting sensitivity training, and they are learning how to date, which means they are going to be seeing Morgan in her professional guise. They are partners, as in a team who work together, not as in two guys who fuck each other (although I truly suspect that is coming. Or at least I hope so), and so everything they do, they do together, including sexual surrogacy therapy.

When Morgan first meets the guys, she thinks that they are a couple, which kind of makes sense, because they have been partners and friends for a long time. That kind of long term relationship can form a really tight bond that could look like a love relationship, especially if they live in the exact same apartment and share a lot of space.

This is a PNR, but it isn’t heavy on the paranormal aspect. They talk about vampires, and the guys talk a lot amongst themselves about being who they are. They call their bodies flesh robes, which is kinda awesome. We don’t really know much about the guys and what they are, really. There are hints of various things, and I made a couple of guesses before we eventually learn more, and I was kind of wrong on all counts.

I love that the fire at Notre Dame is such a huge plot point in the book, since that’s such a current event. At least, I’m assuming that’s what triggered that particular plot point. But, I thought that it was really interesting to work it into the story. I’m sure that Claire or Nia will tell me about it.

I really like Morgan, I think that she has a really good heart, even when she is fighting against herself. She truly wants to help Zac and Aiden, even before she has feelings for them. She really wants to help pretty much every person in pain that she runs into, which is why she’s going into psychology.

Zac and Aiden are good men. They have such a strong moral center, and are so earnest. There is also a real innocence about them. Maybe innocence isn’t exactly the right word, but it’s kinda close. Purity maybe. Light? A combination thereof. And even when they get all kinds of dirty and filthy and imagine what’s going on as well as having all kinds of sex, they really hold on to that particular feature, which I think would probably be really hard.

Casey is fearsome, and her book is next. I can’t wait to see how her story goes.

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Harold gave me the fucking creeps from the very first time we saw him.

I’m pretty sure that certain things aren’t quite as finished as the Order of the Phoenix thinks that they are.

I’m surprised that Casey hasn’t beaten the absolute shit out of certain people as of yet.

OK, that’s all for this one today. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Grace Goodwin-Hunted

Grace is back with the 17th book in her Interstellar Brides Program series. Hunted is an awesome addition to the series. And while no species will ever surpass my beloved Atlans, the Everians aren’t bad.

This book is different to the other ones in the series. Generally, we have a male who has been in service to the Coalition for years who is getting matched to a bride, but that’s not quite the case here. Instead, we have Vice-Admiral Niobe, who is the highest ranking person in the entire Coalition military force. The ONLY person who can override her is Prime Niall. She is half-human, half-Everian, and runs the academy, on top of other, more secretive kinds of things. After years of service, a friend of hers has talked her into undergoing the bride testing. And she gets a match. She’s matched to Everis, to Elite Hunter Quinn.

Now, as an Elite Hunter, Quinn is more like a military contractor. He’s not officially part of the Coalition, but he is employed by them. He’s currently supposed to be working on a secret base, but the Hive has taken the base captive, and he’s a prisoner. Years ago, he underwent the testing for a bride, but hasn’t been matched yet. Then, all of a sudden, a woman transports into the secret base he’s one, and singlehandedly kills three Hive members and is pretty much BAMF. She rescues Quinn and when he asks who she is, all she tells him is that she’s his mate. Which pretty much knocks him down with a feather.

OMFG, Niobe is way up in my personal fave heroine list. She is strong, fierce, talented, and maybe just a little bit scary. She is where she is because she worked really hard at it. She has earned every last bit of respect and responsibility that she has. She is tough and thorough. Her goal is to get rid of the Hive and to keep as many Coalition members safe and unharmed as possible. I think that it might hurt her a little bit every time someone gets hurt on her watch, and it’s always her watch.

I have to admit, as much as I like Quinn, there are times when I really didn’t like him and got really mad at him. I think that there are just times when he just doesn’t quite get it. And that makes things a lot worse. Even when he has things explained to him, he has to have them explained to them in about a zillion ways before it clicks with him. That is really frustrating to me, and I’m sure it really frustrated Niobe too.

I love the whole Everian aspect of this with all the hunting. That’s just a lot of fun.

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I am hopeful that we find out more about the Nexus and the Hive soon.

OK, that’s all for today. Go check it out! Happy reading!

 

Aria Adams-Her Raven Mates

Her Raven Mates appears in the box set Fated Mates. Full disclosure, this is the only one of the stories in the set that I’ve read so far, but since I now own the book, I’ll be getting to the rest of the stories at some point, I’m sure. There are a lot of them, and they will be a welcome change when I need something quick and easy to read.

Eileen is living under a curse. She has been cursed to be a swan 23.5 hours a day. And that 30 minutes when she gets to be human aren’t at the same time from day to day, so she can’t even plan to have any kind of life. Her mother tells her that this is the only way to keep her safe.

Vir, Bran, and Morwain are brothers. They are also raven shifters who are currently cursed. They are ravens by day and men by night. They are trying to track down the evil warlock who cast this curse on them so that they can get back to their normal lives of being private investigators. But it’s not easy, and their enemy keeps finding them.

I will have to admit that as soon as I found out that the heroine’s name was Eileen, I was hoping for just one Come On, Eileen moment. What can I say, I’m a child of the 80s, and I remember so much 80s music. And Aria didn’t disappoint me. There is a spot when one of the guys says it, and it made me happy.

The novella is pretty short and a nice quick read. Overall, I really enjoyed it. Because it’s short, you get a lot of insta-everything and not a lot of background, but that’s just fine, Aria makes it work really well.

I love that the guys all have Celtic-ish name and are ravens, mostly because there are raven stories in Celtic mythology. Frankly, I think ravens show up in most mythology somewhere, somehow. They are gorgeous birds and wicked smart. Why wouldn’t you put them in your mythology?

Anyway, go check out the entire set, especially if you are into fated mate romances. No spoilers today, it’s too short a story.

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Golden Angel-Chasing His Honey Badger

I keep trying to say that PNR is one of my favorite things to read, but that’s kind of a lie. Pretty much everything is one of my favorite things to read, lol. But, the point is that I love to read PNR. And I love Golden Angel’s Big Bad Bunnies series. It’s really unique in some of its viewpoints and the way that it takes things. Chasing His Honey Badger continues on with the Harry Potter, Monty Python, and Disney references that run through the rest of the series.

Actual footage of Bailey Bunson.

We’re at the last of the Bunson brothers now, Brice. All his brothers have mated, as has his sister Bethany. The only ones left are him and their baby sister, Bailey, the Bunny of Caerbannog. And Bailey says that she’s holding out for her fated mate while dating everyone possible, and hanging with Kasim, a lion shifter. But they aren’t our focus here. Today, it’s Brice and Rana.

Brice has been hanging with Eli’s group so that he can help take down The Company, while all the rest of his family are with Steele’s pack. One day, Brice sees a group of hot biker chicks in the parking lot, walks over to them because he, you know, is a guy who is catching up on his wild oats, and biker chicks are hot. As he is walking up to one of them, he realizes that she smells perfect and like all the good things ever, and that she’s his fated mate. When he walks up to her, she is pretty pissed and just doesn’t want to deal with him. Then she and her group, which are all her cousins, just leave. When Brice tells Eli what happened, Eli tells him that Rana has anosmia, which means that she has no sense of smell, which means she can’t smell if he is her fated mate or not.

Rana has been burned before. She’s had 2 other guys tell her that they were fated mate, but turned out that they weren’t. She and her cousins, all honey badger shifters, took care of them. And you don’t want to fuck with Rana and her cousins. They are smart, fierce, and vengeful. I think it’s probably righteous vengeance in most cases, but I wouldn’t want to do anything that would get me on the wrong side of them, especially if they have honey and ants around. So when this random guy came up and told her that she was his fated mate, she was both pissed and upset. She thought that he was trying to make fun of her in a very not nice way. So, she leaves with her cousins, headed towards the mountain where Steele’s pack is living so that they can visit another cousin, and she’s just going to ignore him. What she doesn’t count on is the Bunson connection.

This particular issue doesn’t come up in Brice and Rana’s story, but I think it’s adjacent to it, and it does come up in other books, but I love the way that Golden handles fated mates. In this universe, fated mates are so super incredibly rare that it’s shocking that 2 of the Bunsons have fated mates. Most shifters find someone that they love and court them and end up mating them. Once they have exchanged that mating bite, if there was a fated mate out there somewhere, that connection is broken. That can even happen if the fated person shows up 2 seconds before the bite has been exchanged, which would hopefully not happen, since the bites are generally shared during sex. The mating mark trumps all. I love that because I think, especially in shifter stories, fated mates tend to be the end all be all of the stories.

OK, here’s the reason that I think that this is adjacent to the fated mate thing. The fact that Rana can’t smell her fated mate means that she won’t know who he is if and when she meets him. She does feel a pull toward Brice, but hey, I feel a pull toward Jason Mamoa, but that doesn’t mean that I’m his fated mate or anything. Attraction is a thing. Fated mates generally have a really hard time fighting off the connection until they share the bites. I think that Rana sort of feels that, but not in the same way that Brice does, because Brice has the total package going on. So, Brice has to woo her more like a chosen mate would than just count on the biological pull of fated mates. I really love that. Golden just flips the whole fated mate thing on its head, again.

Rana and her cousins are a fucking hoot. I mean, I love them, they were just so funny. I would love to hang out with them. Not drink with them though. That’s a hard limit for me. We could totally watch Kinky Boots together, because whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.

Well, we only have Bailey left in the series, so we’ll have to see where her story goes.

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Honey badger don’t give a fuck. And Rana and her family pretty much prove that. LOL.

I love the cousins testing Brice for Rana to make sure that he is really the one. Family like that is awesome.

I also love Rana riding Brice into battle. The picture in my head was awesome.

OK, that’s all I have to say today. The Big Bad Bunnies are awesome, so you need to check them out. Happy reading!

 

Grace Goodwin-The Commanders’ Mate

We’re back in the main IBP ‘verse with The Commanders’ Mate. And with a title like this, you know that you aren’t looking at Atlans. That’s right. Today we’re playing with the Prillons. Two hot and hunky guys? Yes, please! And, we finally get to see Commander Karter get his HEA. We’ve seen him in so many other of the books. In fact, I think, most of the others, so getting to see him as the hero of his own book is awesome. The only character I’m waiting for more is Warden Egara. Grace keeps saying good things may be in store for our beloved Warden Egara, so I’m going to keep waiting.

While this is back in the main world, this book starts out different to all the others in this world. Every one of the other main universe books starts out with the testing, and we get to get into the hotness. We don’t know which male(s) the woman is going to match with, although we can get a really good idea as to the planet based on the testing. But, that’s not how this one starts out. This one starts out with Commander Karter and a disaster.

Karter is in a different sector of space than usual and is standing on a battleship that is not his own. Not only is it not his own, it’s destroyed and there are dead bodies and blood all around. The commander is gone, and not only gone, but dead. Luckily, most of his people are far away and safe. Karter has no clue what’s happened, why the other commander sent his people away, or why the ship he’s on is destroyed. There are 3 survivors, 2 are in Regen pods, and 1 is available to talk to. The only problem is that he’s Intelligence Core, and you know how intelligence agents can be. This one is no different. Mostly.

Ronan is the IC agent. Ronan who supposedly died 5 years ago. Ronan who is Kaed Karter’s best friend and Second.

Then, Karter gets the news. He’s been matched and his Bride is going to be teleported to the destroyed ship any minute. Karter freaks out, in a very masculine way, of course. Roman, on the other hand, is much less freaked,

Erica is an astronomer who has decided that she’s gone looking at the stars and is ready to be among the stars. So, she goes to be matched and finds her two Prillon warriors, Ronan and Kaed. Sadly, she teleports into a triage situation, and she helps to keep the wounded calm while they are waiting to be teleported.

I love Erica. Grace’s heroines all tend to be very strong women with fierce personalities, but there’s just something about Erica that I really like. She knows who she is, she’s comfortable in her skin, and she’s very happy being her. She also knows exactly what she wants, and she isn’t afraid to ask for it, or to tell people what she wants. Needless to say, I wouldn’t want to cross her. I don’t think that she’s one of those people who will yell at you, she will just get that deadly, calm, level, maybe even vaguely polite voice that will let you know just how badly you done fucked up. Frankly, that kind of voice frightens me more than the whole yelling kind of person.

I have always liked Karter. He’s a very honorable male who does what he thinks he has to for his people and the galaxy at large. He might have to make shitty decisions, but when you are at war and you are the commander of a battlegroup, you have to make shitty decisions and send out people who you know will die. It’s a choice that I’m glad I never have to make.

Ronan, poor Ronan, I felt so sorry for him. He’s spent time basically being a ghost, and that can be so hard on someone. Luckily, there’s someone who sees him and knows him.

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I love when Lady Karter shows her mates exactly what she’s made of and exactly what she’s going to do. She put both of them to shame at that point, and they both knew it. Then, later, when she had to do something about Kaed, she went about it the right way and made everything perfect. I really, really like her.

OK, that’s all for this one! Go check it out and happy reading!

Raisa Greywood-The Jaguar Knight

Raisa has given us the last book in her Shifter’s Mates series, The Jaguar Knight. I am terribly sad that the series is over, and I’m really hoping that Raisa gives us some short stories in this another world or maybe another series in it. I can see all kinds of other stories in there. Hint, hint. I’ll be happy either way, because I can always reread the books.

This is the conclusion of Soledad and Markon’s story. It also wraps up some other things here and there. It works really well.

So, Markon has finally caught his wayward mate and has brought her home. They enjoy one wild night of passion, and when Markon wakes up, Soledad is gone. Again. He can’t figure out what he did this time, and his jaguar ain’t talking, other than to tell him that he’s a stupid alien. When Soledad’s sibs show up, he gets told what he did, but only after her sisters and brother pretty much threaten to show him his internal organs up close and personal. Turns out that there was a 6 foot tall picture of his dead mate hanging right over the bed. The bed that she died in. The bed that he spent his first night home in Soledad in. I would’ve cut and run too.

When Markon finds Soledad again, she’s on a jungle planet and they have a talk. And you know, reconcile. Sadly, that’s not going to last for long. They are attacked, Markon is seriously, seriously, seriously hurt and Soledad is gone.

Markon has the worst luck with keeping a hold on Soledad. Of course, it’s not his fault this time, but still, he doesn’t have his mate or know where she is at. He’s damned well going to find her though. And of course, the Athena and all of Soledad’s sibs are going to get in on the search too, because that’s what is going to happen. Soledad inspires loyalty, which is why the Athena will be there, and love, which is why her sibs will be there. Of course, since she is still that fucking pirate, she also inspires a lot of fear and hate, but hey, not everyone is perfect, right?

There are some very, very, very unpleasant things that happen here, and some things that make me really happy that I’m not subject to shifter justice, because, well, it sure as fuck isn’t pretty.

Markon is strong, if somewhat stupid sometimes, and I like him a lot. I like him more in this book than I did in the last one, mostly because he got his stupid head out of his stupid ass, which is what he needed. I think that all the chasing he had to do really made him get his priorities in place and get everything straight. The last time chasing her had to be the hardest one ever. I couldn’t imagine trying to find my mate after she had been ripped away from me that way. That would be pretty damn horrible.

It’s a good thing that Soledad is as strong as she is. Stubborn AF too. I think that she’s a little bit blind in this one. She jumped to a conclusion and it ends up bitting her in the ass. But, the fact that she’s so damn stubborn and strong really helped her out here.

Jaguar mother and cub on the bank of the Cuiaba River in Brazil

Can we just talk about Mikhail and Ardix for just a second? Because that was just brutal. Not saying it’s not deserved, and I don’t blame him for his actions at all, but fucking brutal, man.

I love Renata’s round-up at the end. It’s perfect.

OK, that’s all I have to say on this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!

Grace Goodwin-Ascension Saga 9

Grace has finished Destiny’s cycle and the whole series up in Ascension Saga 9. There are box sets for Trinity, Faith, and Destiny if you want to get the box sets and read them that way, or you can get each book alone. But, this particular series is all done now. We’ll be back to the rest of the IBP with the next book, I think.

So, as the finish of Destiny’s cycle and the whole series, this book is totally awesome. It is seriously the perfect way to end everything up the way that it should’ve been.

I don’t really know what to say about this one. It had me WTFing all over the place. I didn’t expect anything that happened in it, and I thought I had maybe kind of guessed where things were going when I was done with 8, but then in comes Grace who’s like, yeah, good try, girl, but FAIL. Thanks for playing.

About all I can safely say is that Queen Celene is pretty damn awesome, and it’s obvious where her girls get their BAMFness from. I wouldn’t want to mess with her at all.

I have loved the Aleran world. I kinda enjoyed the way that sex and mating works for the Alerans. It’s slightly different to any other of the worlds in Grace’s IBP ‘verse, but it works so very, very well. Alera has definitely been a breath of fresh air, and I would love to see more from this world in the future. I know that Aleran males have gone to fight the Hive, so surely they can be put into the entire bride program to be matched, right? Hopefully Grace won’t leave us hanging for too long for anything new out of the ‘verse in general.

There aren’t any spoilers under the picture this time around, because you know how I am. I’m not going to do any kind of spoiling. Enjoy the pretty picture. Go check out everything that Grace has written and happy reading!

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