Anna Edwards-Hidden Pain

Hidden Pain is the 5th book in Anna’s Glacial Blood PNR series. These books aren’t really standalones, but they aren’t really serials either. Each book follows a new couple/thruple, but they are all in a larger story arc, and if you haven’t read the ones before, you aren’t going to really know what is going on, trust me on this.

This one has MMF going on in it, and OMFG, it’s hot. And it’s not just for the yummy sex, and I totally agree with Lily, but it’s hot for the realizations that come about for the characters because of their relationship.

So, Kingsley, a human, is in Kansas as the big wolf pack, where his sister, Isobel is marrying the love of her life, Zain, who is a bear shifter. They are going to go back to the Glacial Blood pack, but since they are gearing up for war, this time and place is the best place for the wedding, and for the families with tiny babies to stay. Hunter is the alpha of the pack, and he has invited Kingsley to stay, and he is keeping Lily, a bear, prisoner for Kas, until he decides what to do with her.

But here’s the thing, Hunter and Kingsley are drawn to each other, and they are both drawn to Lily. So, they decide that she’s going to go into the set of rooms in between Kingsley’s and Hunter’s.

All three of our main characters are dealing with some kind of trauma or stress. Lily has had horrible things happen to her at the hands of humans, and then even worse at the hands of Nuka, that motherfucker. She’s angry and hurt, and I totally think that she deserves to be. I would be too. And of course, Kingsley had to deal with his asshole father who, well, asshole is a really good description of him. But that’s OK, he croaked it. And Hunter. He’s dealing with having to be an alpha and leading his pack into the future and planning on fighting a war, and oh yeah, trying to figure out who is going to be his heir after he’s gone. He thinks that he has to shut down everything he wants so that he can do what he needs to do.

I love watching the three of them heal themselves and heal each other. We’re at a very tense part of the overall story, and I feel like that healing is a really integral part of the upcoming fight. Healing makes you stronger, and they had to make sure that their broken edges were sanded off.

I think, of the three of them, Lily had the most healing and growth, really. I’m not discounting anything that Hunter and Kingsley have dealt with or are dealing with, because they have their own journeys to handle, but really, I think Lily has the longest journey. Once we have her backstory, we can understand exactly how long that journey is and everything she had to deal with.

I cannot wait for the next book in the series to come out. Anna keeps me all dragged into the series.

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OMG, Lily’s backstory broke my heart. That poor woman, and then Nuka the fucka?

OK, that’s all for today. Go check out the entire series. Happy reading!

 

Anthology-Bite Me

So, several of the usual suspects, plus a couple new ones, have gotten together and given us 9 lovely vampire stories. Bite Me has stories from Addison Cain, Zoe Blake, Alta Hensley, Myra Danvers, Eris Adderly, Livia Bourne, Sara Fields, Anita Gray, and Cassandra Faye. Cassandra Faye may sound like a totally new person, but that is Jennifer Bene’s new pen name for her more paranormal stuff.

As with any anthology that includes these ladies, there is dark and then there is DARK. That’s one of the nice things about anthologies, if you ask me, you are going to get a wide variety of darkness plus different takes on the subject. All the stories are about vampires, but there are 9 different ideas. The stories also vary in length. Some of them are prologues to new series, which I am dying for. So, with all that being said, let’s dive in, shall we?

Addison Cain-Cathedral

If you remember When the Darkness Wins, you might remember Pearl and Catacombs. Addison also released it as a standalone. Well, Cathedral is about Jade, Darius and Pearl’s daughter. I feel sorry for Jade. Having Darius as a father can’t have been easy at all. She’s nothing but a pawn in the hands of her father.

I was really excited to see this one come out, because I’ve been dying for more of that story and that world since I read Catacombs a million years ago. Or at least a few months back, whatever. Of course, Addison being the tease she is, there’s more to the story that we don’t know yet. But I’m sure we will, sooooooon. 

Zoe Blake-Till the End of Time

Zoe went back to the 1400s, and the most well-known vampire, Vlad Tepes, Voivode of Wallachia, Son of Dracul, aka Dracula. Only this origin story doesn’t start with the Impaler. It starts with his wife, Mirella. It also spans a lot of years.

I love how much research that Zoe had to have put into this one to get the true flavor of 1400s Romania. You get a real feel for Mirella and the whole geopolitical situation of the day. A whole lot of historical fact was wound into this story as well as the fiction, and it makes for a really rich story.

Alta Hensley-Master of Ceremonies

You know, I’ve often thought that a traveling carnival is a good place for supernaturals to hide, and apparently Alta did too. Cirque Romani’s MC, Valian, is more than meets the eye, and the Cirque’s audience is perfect to feed all his various hungers. Ada is his mortal assistant who madly loves him.

I really, really, really want more of this story. I mean, like sell my son’s soul for more of this story. I’d offer to sell mine, but that’s assuming that I still have one. There’s so much that happens here, and I want to see how all the events play out.

Myra Danvers-Enthralled

Myra, who is now one of my favorite authors, has given us a prequel to this. I can’t tell you exactly when it’s set, but I’m guessing mid-1800s. Axton is a new vampire, who follows his Dark Queen, his Night Princess, his Dam, Selma.

One of the things that I like about this is Myra’s language. She uses all kinds of euphemisms for various genitalia and sexual acts. It could sound silly in other places, but it really works well in this story. On top of that, I think that Myra also did a really good job of drawing us in and getting us involved in Axton’s feelings.

Eris Adderly-V Is For Vampire

Eris’s story is a prequel too. And being Eris, she gives us a totally different take on vampires. Her vampires in a couple of hundred years in the future. It’s also a genetic thing with them. You either carry the gene or you don’t. If you have the gene, you live in the underground as a vampire. If you don’t, you’re a normal and you live on the surface. November is 22V positive and a gate guard, keeping her people underground and normals aboveground.

I really like the whole futuristic dystopic world that Eris has created. I’m not quite sure that I could call it post-apocalyptic, but maybe post-apocalyptic adjacent? I’m really looking forward to what is going to happen with this, because it looks like there are some major, major changes coming.

Livia Bourne-Blinding Salvation

This is another prequel, and I may have to start counting down the days to this one. Hopefully, Livia hasn’t been taking too many lessons from Addison and won’t be a sadist. Lily was abducted to become food to Armand, a trapped vampire. But, you know, it’s never quite that interesting.

I really like Lily and Armand. Lily is very smart and very canny. I think that she is going to be really good for Armand. I like him too. I want to see more of how his mind works, because I think that he’s good and sneaky, and really creative when it comes to revenge.

Sara Fields-The Devil’s Game

Sara likes to play with us, I think. She gives us the story of Cain and Ruby. They are both strong, in their own ways, doing their own things, but then, they meet up, and sparks fly. They are fantastic together.

I wonder if there is going to be more of this. I hope so, I would really like there to be more. I think that Ruby and Cain play off each other really well. I like the whole premise of the story, and it plays back to some of the old vampire origin myths, which was always fun.

Anita Gray-To My End

Oh, this is definitely an Anita story. There’s probably a mindfuck in there somewhere. We have a Hunter named Sonny who is chasing down the Potentials and has to kill them. Then we have Vi, who doesn’t know exactly how special she is. But she sure knows how sexy new guy in town Sonny is.

You know, when I first read this one, I wanted so much for there to be more. I mean, I still do, don’t get me wrong, but I also think that the way that it ended is actually pretty much perfect. I think more story might ruin that perfectness. Does that mean I won’t read more if Anita gives it to us? Hell no. I will definitely read it. I’m sure that Anita can fix it.

Cassandra Faye-Sweet Ruin

Grace had a sexy, sexy dream. Probably a dream. Maybe a dream. Then she has a hallucination. A sexy, sexy hallucination named Nic who keeps showing up wherever she is. Sometimes he’s even dressed.

Sweet Ruin is probably the lightest story in the book. When you realize it’s a Jennifer Bene story, you might be surprised by that fact, but only if you haven’t read some of her PNR. It fits in pretty well with her books in that genre. It’s a totally different flavor to some of her other books. I loved Grace and Nic, and I think that they are really cute together.

OK, that’s all the stories and how I felt about them all. I’ve always loved a good vampire story and 9 of them is even better. Go check out the book and tell me what you think! Happy reading!

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Kay Elle Parker-Queen of Shadows

Queen of Shadows is the second part of the Shadowcrown Duet by Kay Elle Parker. See my review for King of Shadows here.

There are likely to be spoilers from the first one in this review, since it was a duet, and it was left on a cliffhanger. We all know that’s just the nature of the beast, but we also know that I will do everything possible in order to keep that from happening. But, you have been warned, and if you get spoiled, I’m sorry, but you were warned.

So, we left pregnant Allianna after she has lost both Kian and Islador. The one to a demon, the other because he was trying to save her. Now, Lucifer is doing his damnedest to turn her into his queen. He wants her and her child, plus any other children she may bear, so that he’ll have heirs. Luci may be bound and determined to have her, but Allianna is even more bound and determined to not have him, and one of the reasons is that she’s pretty sure she can’t be touched again, let alone ever have sex again. However, Luci left her a surprise.

Isla wakes up in Alli’s bathtub. While only short time has happened in the Shadows, it was an endless time in Hell, and Isla was tortured. He’s not quite the same person he was before. That’s OK, Alli isn’t exactly the same person she was before either, and now she’s even more because she’s the queen. She is doing all she can to hold her world together and to rule while she’s falling apart inside. She has Dhur there to help her and to protect and care for her, and now she has Islador who will help her. The problem is she also has Lucifer who likes to pop in now and again and pretty much be a douchelord. All this is making Alli just fall apart inside, which she tries really hard to hide, but not so well.

Meanwhile, Kian is being tortured, until Isla makes a deal with Lucifer, and he is put into a “safe” place for a few months. I don’t know what the agreement was, but it was something. But Luci has his plans for Kian too.

I kinda like and hate Lucifer at the same time. The thing is you can’t trust him further than you can throw him, because hello, Prince of Lies, original Fallen Angel. But, you can trust in the fact that you can’t trust him. It’s hard to know if he is lying or telling the truth, because again, Prince of Lies. But not every word out of his mouth is a lie. It would be easier if it were. He will always tell the truth if it will hurt more, but he may not be telling all the truth, or the absolute truth. And he does it all in such a charming way. Right until his charm fails and his monstrousness shines through.

Kian and Isla try to do their best by Allianna, but it ain’t always possible. And she is strong-willed enough that she’s going to fight hard to find out any secrets that they are keeping from her and keep them from packing her in cotton wool. In fact, I think it would be utterly impossible to pack her away and keep her safe.

The last time I wrote about these characters, I said that Allianna was high up in the tough, kickass heroine list? Well, this book did absolutely nothing to dispell that. She is definitely a kickass heroine, and she is there to kick ass and chew bubblegum, and she ran out of bubble gum a looooooong time ago. I think that anyone who wants to go against her or her kingdom or her family should think about least 15 times, and then reconsider. And then they should probably run far, far, far, far, far away, so she can’t even find out that they were thinking about anything.

Isla and Kian are both good men who dearly love her. And Dhur is more than just a guard or anything else, he is family, and is utterly devoted to the royal family.

I would still kill for a book about Dhur, and I would love to see the next generation.

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OMG, OMG, OMG!!! The baby drama!

And the ultimate solution?

OK, that’s all I have to say 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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Renee Rose & Lee Savino-Alpha’s Blood

Every. fucking. time. Every fucking time these two come out with another book in the series, I swear it’s the best one evah. Then, they write the next one. And the cycle starts all over again. I’ll bet that Alpha’s Blood is going to be hard to beat though. Now watch them make me eat my words. Because you know that they will try.

Lucius is the King of Tucson, when it comes to vampires. The centuries old vampire is the one in control of the area and he keeps all the vamps to the rules that he makes, and if they start to screw up, then he will do what needs to be done. He has something that isn’t quite an alliance with the werewolves in the area, maybe it’s more that they exist in a perpetual state of detente. Both sides recognize the authority of the other and that they both need to exist, and they will even work together toward a common goal, but in general, they really, really don’t like each other.

Lucius’ biggest curse is his sired. They all turn against them at some point. And he knows that they are up to something now. That means that he’s going to have to figure out what it is so that he can thwart it and punish the ones doing it. And for thwart, read kill. So, when he gets a sudden invite to a shifter auction, he knows that something is definitely up. Then he sees her. Selene.

Selene is the lone survivor of the massacre of her pack. She was saved from the foster system by a vampire named Xavier, who spent all her formative teen years being trained to kill Lucius, because Xavier showed her proof that he was the one who killed her pack. Now, after all the years of pain and training that she’s gone through, it’s time for the ultimate payoff. She’s standing on the stage at the shifter auction waiting to be sold, and the plan is that Lucius will buy her, because she’s perfect for him. And of course, Lucius does. Because our story would be so short otherwise.

I’ve respected Lucius every time we’ve seen him in other books. He seems like he’s as benevolent a king as he can be. I don’t think that benevolent is quite the right word, but he’s not a complete tyrant or anything. He doesn’t necessarily rule by fear, and he does give his sired and the vampiric citizens of his kingdom free will and enough rope to hang themselves by, but he also isn’t going to let them run willy-nilly over him. He’s willing to work with other supernatural types, as necessary. He’s ruthless when he needs to be, and rather pragmatic, I think. I really enjoyed getting to know more about him and about his history. Overall, it made me respect him even more, and definitely like him a whole lot.

I like Selene. I think that she’s a fantastic character. I also think that she started out the book a little emotionally stunted, but that’s pretty natural, considering what happened to her and the fact that Xavier wasn’t there to make sure that she was emotionally mature. He just wanted a fighter and he wanted a fighter who believed in what he believed in, and that’s what he got. I like the journey and the growth that we get to see in her over the book. It’s not easy for her, and I don’t think it was ever going to be easy for her, but it was a fantastic journey to read.

I can’t wait to see what Renee and Lee come up with next. I think that Lucius and Selene, and how perfect is that name for a werewolf, are going to be really hard to beat.

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The whole electrical scene? I’m pretty sure that my Kindle melted down after that one for a little while.

Also, I think that Selene and Lucius are going to be so fucking great at their roles.

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

 

Renee Rose & Lee Savino-Alpha’s Prey

When I sat down to write this blog, I was surprised to realize how many books in this series there are now. I think I saw that Alpha’s Prey was book 11. No wonder these books are so good, Renee and Lee have plenty of practice in this world, and all that practice goes into making books that just get better as the series goes on.

So, even though this series started out in Arizona with werewolves, this book doesn’t have any of those wolves in it, except very tangentially. Nope, we’re in the mountains of New Mexico with a growly, grumpy bear.

We met Caleb in the last book, when he was pulled in by the wolves to fight Grizz. We really don’t know much about him though. We basically only see him as the fighter. But now we really get to meet Caleb and appreciate him. He has been going through the last 3 years as almost a ghost and in near hibernation. He lets his bear rule him a bit more than he should, since he has spent a lot of time as a bear. He spent enough that the wolves had to come and force him out of bear shape into human shape. His mate and daughter were killed by something that seemed unnatural, and he just went… bear. Even now, he only deals with the world in the summer when he goes to get work and spends most of the winter in as close a state of hibernation as people can get. But this winter, he’s awake-ish, thanks to the wolves.

Miranda is an ecologist. She’s studying global warming and is tired of the men in her department. She’s had to work a whole lot harder than they to get to the same place, and she has a Ph.D., just like them. But that doesn’t stop them from talking to her tits instead of her face or treating her like a secretary. Now, she has to go up to a cabin in the mountains to get more research info, and she’s actually looking forward to it, because she loves the mountains and nature, even in the winter. On her way, at a tiny little town, she’s warned off by local people because there are 3 other women who have gone missing, and a crazy bear in the woods. Then Miranda meets the crazy bear, as he looks in her window to try to see what’s going on. She thinks he’s less crazy looking and more intelligent.

OK, first of all, I love the idea of the ecologist and the werebear mountain man. I mean, are there 2 more compatible people because they are both concerned with what’s going with the natural world, the climate in general, and the ecology of any particular area? I snerked about that, because I thought it was just too funny.

I like Caleb. He is just a downright good man. I think the only mean bone or bad bone in his body shows up when he is being protective, and even then, he’s only mean to the people who deserve it, not the innocent people around him. He’s just good, and even better, nice. We see examples of it through the book, other than the way he is with Miranda, because it’s easy to be good to the woman you are interested in but not so nice to other people.

I totally get Miranda. She’s so tired of being seen as her body instead of her brain, or instead of seeing that the brain and the body are part and parcel. Caleb sees that from the very beginning. I think that he’s probably the first person who has ever seen Miranda for Miranda, and it can be terrifying to have someone see you so intently. It can also be wonderful, to be the focus of someone like that.

I thought that they were perfect each other, because they both were drifting through life, not quite awake. Their meeting shook them up and woke them up and made them discover what they had been missing.

I can’t wait to see where Lee and Renee are going to go next.

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I both dislike and pity the bad guy. I mean, yeah, he’s fucking insane, but he’s also a victim. Of course, he took the bat shit crazy part a lot too far, and I would like to know if he was crazy before he went through what he did or if it happened because of his experiences. Interesting question, no?

OK, that’s all I have to say right now. Go check it out! Happy reading!

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!