Review of United: Magiford Supernatural City by K. M. Shea

United: Magiford Supernatural City (Pack of Dawn and Destiny Book 2) by [K. M. Shea]

Synopsis:
A wolf is attacking the humans of Timber Ridge and changing them into werewolves—against their will.

The change process is extremely dangerous and involves bloodshed. It isn’t something that happens by accident, which can only mean one thing.

Someone is doing this on purpose.

I’m going to find the rampaging sicko responsible for this outbreak, even if it means I have to master my new magic to stop them.

Thankfully, Greyson—the Pack Alpha and the most powerful wolf in the Midwest—is always down for a hunt. The only problem is that I’m starting to find him attractive—which is the worst thing I could do. He’s got an incomplete mate bond, and since I’m a hunter, I could never be a wolf’s mate.

That’s okay. I’m used to being alone. I’m a werewolf hunter, not part of the Pack. But that’s an awfully dangerous place to be when there is a rogue wolf on the loose.

United is the second book in the Pack of Dawn and Destiny urban fantasy trilogy, and is part of the Magiford Supernatural City world. It features werewolves, hunters, and fae, and is filled with humor, adventure, and a sweet romance that will have you laughing out loud.

Review:
I absolutely loved this book. Pip’s werewolf connections grew even stronger, and she tries to learn to harness her stronger wolf’s kiss powers all while trying to figure out who is turning the wolves against their will and trying to keep some semblance of personal comfort. From the beginning I had been so sure I knew what the cause of all of this was, and I was so wrong. There were lots of little twists and turns and plenty guests from other books/places in the same world. I was so glad when the elephant in the room was finally addressed at the very end of the book, just for it to end on such an amusing argument cliffhanger! I cannot wait to read the third book in the series and I’m so glad I only have to wait another month!

P. S. The Bedevilments grow on you, methinks.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of A Lady of Rooksgrave Manor by Kathryn Moon

A Lady of Rooksgrave Manor (Tempting Monsters Book 1) by [Kathryn Moon, Jodielocks Designs]

Synopsis:
On the brink of losing her position as a maid and with no prospects to go on, the offer of a place at Rooksgrave Manor—a house of ill and unusual repute—sounds like a perfect fit for a young woman with Esther’s inclinations. Even better, the invitation comes by the hand of the handsome Dr. Underwood, a delicate gentleman with a ferocious alter ego who knows exactly what he wants from Esther.

Upon arrival, the men and the daily decadence of the manor feel too good to be true for a girl of Esther’s station. There are rules to be followed, expectations to meet, and Esther is afraid she might be too wicked even for a place like Rooksgrave.

Temptations lurk around every shadowy corner and Esther has never been a girl able to resist. But the risk of disappointing her new gentlemen isn’t all that’s threatening Esther’s new position. Rooksgrave Manor’s protections for its unusual patrons are failing, the wards are crumbling, and Esther’s new and exquisitely pleasurable life may all come tumbling down.

Review:
The synopsis gives you no idea just how much spice you’re about to walk into. Esther is a girl who really likes sex, and there are plenty of men who are more than willing to give it to her well, good, and often… even if there is something a bit different about them. This book… I had worries that a WIP had too much spice too soon, and this definitely assuaged that fear! Not only was there a lot of sex, but it was all written quite well! Despite having lots and lots of sex, there were actually some pretty intense plotlines and depth beyond the physicality. This book had everything; believable characters, gripping plotlines, prejudice to be dealt with, and through it all–you just wanted to keep reading more.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

Hate Notes by [Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward]

Synopsis:
It all started with a mysterious blue note sewn into a wedding dress.

Something blue.

I’d gone to sell my own unworn bridal gown at a vintage clothing store. That’s when I found another bride’s “something old.”

Stitched into the lining of a fabulously feathered design was the loveliest message I’d ever read: Thank you for making all of my dreams come true.

The name embossed on the blue stationery: Reed Eastwood, obviously the most romantic man who ever lived. I also discovered he’s the most gorgeous. If only my true-love fantasies had stopped there. Because I’ve since found out something else about Mr. Starry-Eyed.

He’s arrogant, cynical, and demanding. I should know. Thanks to a twist of fate, he’s my new boss. But that’s not going to stop me from discovering the story behind his last love letter. A love letter that did not result in a happily ever after.

But that story is nothing compared to the one unfolding between us. It’s getting hotter, sweeter, and more surprising than anything I could have imagined.

Something new.

But I have no idea how this one is going to end…

Review:
This book was full of tons of twists and turns that I never really knew what was going to happen. The characterization was well done, and while we focused predominately on Reed and Charlotte, we also had a couple of great little side characters thrown in as well. I hadn’t been sure I wanted to read something else after finishing the latest Beauty and the Beast trilogy I found myself deeply embedded in, but I am so glad I randomly picked this amongst all the books I had stowed away.

There was something humourous yet so touching and personal about this; from how people’s perspectives can change based on some heavy life events and how some people take the advice of those older and wiser and manage to continue on. Charlotte has such a wonderful happy disposition, and while she falls apart, she finds how to put herself back together and pushes for more. Reed, on the other hand, is so cynical and pessimistic that I cannot help but think that everyone has had some point where we allowed life to drag too heavily on us and needed to have that breath of fresh air to remind us that we’re truly alive. While I wasn’t sure that Reed would forgive how they met, I found that this book and the characters within reminded me of exactly how important living in the moment is, and how sweet life can be.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Devastation: A Beauty and the Beast Retelling by M. J. Haag

Devastation: A Beauty and the Beast Retelling (A Beastly Tale Book 3) by [M.J. Haag, Ulva Eldrige]

Synopsis:
Everything has changed…

Abused and rejected, Benella strives to regain a purpose for her life that does not involve the beast.  However, when her father loses his employment, she finds herself returning to the last place she ever wanted to see.

A beast no more…

Alec, Lord of the North, is a man once more, a man Benella doesn’t know or understand.  As she struggles to reconcile the cold, distant man with the beast she once knew, she must also learn when it is right to forgive and when it is time to move on. 

Review:
This book really put so much into perspective of how Benella felt about relationships and trust between people. There were multiple times one had to stop and wonder why she kept doing the same stupid thing without thinking, but then, people are not always wary all the time. Seeing Alec as a man as he attempts to understand and work with Benella is quite nice, especially when he slips and she is reminded of their time alone. Of course I wouldn’t wish bad things on our main character, but it did seem like there was a lot of almosts that set her mind on a course that could have made a very different end. I realized as I neared the end, constantly worried that the happily ever after wouldn’t happen, that Benella was quite a believable character, with real concerns even if the reader (omnipresent as one is) knew shouldn’t have worried. There were times she misplaced care for possession, though I couldn’t truly blame her as she hadn’t been looked after for most of her life. Many things in life could be far more easily understood if we looked from both perspectives, our own and others, after all.

There were two great quotes that I will share from this final book in the Beastly tales.

“My mother once told me time changed everything. In that moment, I realized what she meant. Nothing ever stayed the same.”

“Her search for material wealth and social standing wouldn’t bring her happiness. Happiness wasn’t so easily obtained. It took kindness and some true sacrifice, neither concept truly understood by my sister.”

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Depravity: A Beauty and the Beast Novel by M. J. Haag

Depravity: A Beauty and the Beast Novel (A Beastly Tale Book 1) by [M.J. Haag, Ulva Eldridge, Allisyn Ma]

Synopsis:
Seductively dark. Deliciously beastly.

Benella is concerned with two things–avoiding the two village boys who torment her and scrounging for food to help feed her family. Unfortunately, the best wild fruit and vegetables are near the walls of the estate, a dark misty place inhabited by an unforgiving beast.

When her tormentors lock her behind the massive gates, Benella knows her fate is sealed. Yet, the fate isn’t one she expects. Her encounter with the beast starts a bizarre cycle of bargaining for her freedom, a freedom the beast seems determined to see her lose.

Review:
I quite enjoyed this beginning of Beauty and the Beast’s tale by M. J. Haag. There wasn’t too much spice, but it set a very good scene for what Benella’s life was like, as well as how the Beast acted. Opening scene with the baker left a very lasting impression in my mind thought part of me wonders why Sara would be upset about the particular change in price since it seemed more beneficial to her. I found it very interesting that he was so kind and careful with her for so long. The duality of how she is treated depending on what she wears is not lost. I quite look forward to seeing how the story continues to unfold.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Synopsis:
All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire, and Elisabeth is implicated in the crime. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

Review:
While the book might take a little bit to fall into, the world is vast and well described, quickly letting the reader become absorbed. I quite enjoyed Elisabeth’s journey from start to finish, a library child, and one that was raised with biases that she will have to work with and against in order to save everything. I loved the idea of redemption, and especially the thought that things in the world are usually not black and white- there is the possibility for something to be dark and evil, but just as much possibility for it to be used for good. This was bittersweet to finish, and wish I could’ve had a few more chapters to hear just a bit more of what happened at the end…

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Hunts: Magiford Supernatural City by K. M. Shea

Hunted: Magiford Supernatural City (Pack of Dawn and Destiny Book 1) by [K. M. Shea]

Synopsis:
Ever feel like you don’t belong?

Try being a hunter living with werewolves. I’m the definition of “doesn’t fit in”. I’m not Pack, but I’m not the enemy, either.

I struggle to survive among werewolves who are stronger and faster than me, and are competitive enough to break a bone or two for the sake of “fun.”

Greyson, their alpha, is the worst of them all.

Blatantly relentless and twice as deadly, Greyson rules the Pack and expands its territory even though it’s already the largest in the region. I just wish he’d stop interfering with my life. He’s got enough trouble of his own with his incomplete mate bond, but he’s made it his hobby to tease and test me at every opportunity.

Doesn’t my life sound fun?

When wolves from surrounding packs start mindlessly attacking the innocent humans in our city, Timber Ridge, everything changes.

Werewolves don’t turn feral without reason. Which means someone is making this happen, and they’re targeting our Pack.

I don’t like where this is going, but how am I supposed to stop a feral wolf outbreak when I’m just one hunter? Can Greyson and I set aside our differences to see the Pack through this?

Hunted is the first book in the Pack of Dawn and Destiny urban fantasy trilogy and is part of the Magiford Supernatural City world. It features werewolves, hunters, and fae, and is filled with humor, adventure, and a sweet romance that will have you laughing in delight.

Review:
I adore K. M. Shea so much as an author. This series, like every other book I’ve read of hers, really draws you in from the beginning. She has a great way of showing you how things are instead of telling you, so you can experience what the character is going through and how they got there without an info dump about their past.

She expertly weaves in how Pip is connected to the pack but still a bit other, even if they love their “Pomeranian power ups”. I had my suspicions about Greyson that turned out to be true, but I had also thought that I knew where the threat started and that doesn’t appear to be correct. I loved the connections in this book, especially showing Pip’s relationship with others and how her role as outsider plays into her psyche, as well as how different and unique she is from having trained with the wolves.

Part of me wishes I had waited to start this series until next month when all three books are out, however, I loved it and will be quite happy to step back into Timber Ridge in 7 more days for book 2!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Merry Inkmas by Talia Hibbert

Merry Inkmas by [Talia Hibbert]

Synopsis:
Cash Evans knows exactly what he wants for Christmas. Too bad he can’t have her.

The infamous tattoo artist’s been watching geeky Bailey Cooper for months, but that’s all he’ll ever do: watch. Bailey’s too sweet, too smart, too good for the likes of him, and he knows it. So Cash keeps his distance… until a Christmas miracle makes him Bailey’s boss.

Socially awkward Bailey learned long ago that men just aren’t worth the hassle. Take her new boss, Cash: he’s a brooding beast who avoids her like the plague, but he also fixes her plumbing, helps the homeless, and offers Bailey a place to stay for Christmas.

She’s never met anyone so confusing—or so impossible to resist. And the more Bailey learns about Cash and his demons, the more she thinks it’s time to stop fighting.

Warning: this 50,000-word holiday romance features an alphamellow bad boy hero, a strong, geeky heroine, a naughty office flirtation, and a guaranteed happily-ever-after. There’s no cheating and no cliff-hanger. Enjoy!

Review:
This is the perfect amount of cute and sweet and complicated and just perfect in so so so many ways. There are some hot scenes in there but the relationships and depth of both characters Bailey and Cash and how they have to work together to overcome past trauma really made this book a hit. While the beginning tension did play a huge part in how awesome this book is seeing how different people react to tragedy and work to rebuild their lives, and use their talents, was great. Moving past the mental blocks put in place by what we see and experience from others in the past can be hard but oh so rewarding. The chemistry was perfect. The personalities were perfect. I loved this novel! I was left with only one question at the end… did Bailey end up with any more ink?

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Review of Black Swan by Kel Carpenter and Aurelia Jane

Black Swan (A Demon's Guide to the Afterlife Book 3) by [Kel Carpenter, Aurelia Jane]

Synopsis:
Everyone wants to be different, until they are. Take it from a true Heinz 57, being special isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Especially when it sets off a series of events that will end the world. You know, the catastrophe I was sent to prevent in the first place.

Fate has a funny way of doing whatever it wants.

In trying to change the future, I’m now the catalyst for destruction.

I should have known it was a bad omen when I shifted into a white raven instead of a wolf.

Our enemies may be more powerful than we ever imagined, but I’ve got a talking crow and Bloody Mary on my side.

I have friends now—and family. Not to mention, one hell of a love life I have no intention of giving up. I would die for any of them, but that’s not the plan.

It’s time to see if I can stop this black swan.
Tick. Tock.

BLACK SWAN is book three in A Demon’s Guide to the Afterlife series. This is the FINAL book in Fury’s story. Start the series with DARK HORSE right now!

This is an adult paranormal romance series with multiple love interests and some dark elements. If you don’t like strong but flawed women and alphahole heroes that need to learn a thing or two about boundaries–this book is not for you. If you love works by Tate James, Ivy Asher, Raven Kennedy, Joely Sue Burkhart, and CM Stunich, then dive right in to the Afterlife. It’ll be one hell of a ride.

Review:
This was a decent ending for Fury’s story. There were definite aspects I never saw coming, but it flowed well and I quite enjoyed it. The relationships were and are really what drove this book/the series. I love Hades and Fury’s relationship and the dynamic there. There were a few times that I didn’t read fully and was skimming, but it was never for that long. One great take away is the depth of what being forced into situations can do to a person, and how unhealthy hoping mechanisms can’t be encouraged and it’s okay to get outside help for problem behaviours. It’s also okay to not put up with people who abuse you. All in all, I can’t wait to read the last (?) book in this series of Hades and Jules, but I greatly did love getting to be in Fury’s world.

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯

Review of Gleam by Raven Kennedy

Gleam (The Plated Prisoner Series Book 3) by [Raven Kennedy]

Synopsis:
Book 3 of this adult fantasy series continues in this epic story inspired by the myth of King Midas, fae, fated romance, and insurmountable greed.

“I don’t choose him. Not anymore. I’m choosing me.

King Midas made me the woman I am today. Notorious. Unattainable. His.

The thing about being confined is that you believe it’s to keep the bad out. …Until you realize it’s about keeping you in.

I’m now in a strange kingdom surrounded by liars, with no allies of my own, but I won’t sit idly by and let myself wither. No, there’s something that’s bloomed from the pit of my repression. Something dark. Something angry.

But the last thing I expected was for my anger to call out to him. King Ravinger.

He’s sinister and powerful and entirely too seductive. I’ve learned my lesson with trusting manipulative kings, so why does my chest constrict every time he’s near? I need to tread carefully, or I’m at risk of losing much more than just my freedom.

Regret and revenge war inside of me, and I need to figure out a plan fast before I get tangled up in the schemes of kings and queens.

Because I won’t be caught in a cage again. No, this time, it’ll be me setting the trap.
…I just hope my heart comes out of this unscathed.

Please note: This is an adult fantasy series with dark elements that may be triggering, including Stockholm Syndrome and emotional manipulation, as well as explicit romance scenes. Read at your own discretion.

Review:
Firstly, the trigger warning on this one is different than the others, which is interesting, but going into the story itself…

There are so many moments of finally in this novel! Unfortunately I personally found that while certain awaited scenes were nice, I was drawn out of the story because of the modern language usage that in no way fits any other part of this series. Additionally, this was the first book in the series that I found myself actively skimming parts of instead of fully reading to continue on. Auren finally looks inside and realizes all the ways that she was taken advantage of, and her resolve is quite inspiring. There were moments of sheer triumph, and there were also moments of true uncertainty and potential terror. Towards the very end there was a huge twist revealed that I never expected and wow. We end, as usual, with a big cliffhanger, though not quite so bad as some of the others- so frustrating that the next isn’t out until May!

Star rating: ✯✯✯✯