Tag Archives: Witches & Wizards

Blood Lust by Alexandra Ivy

 

St. Louis crime lord and renegade sentinel assassin Bas Cavrilo still remembers the first and last time he saw gorgeous clairvoyant Myst. That was the night they created their daughter Molly until Myst dropped 2 month old Molly at his apartment and disappeared again. Now Myst is back and Bas is demanding to know why, especially since Molly only recently survived a kidnapping by his enemies.

Bas listens as Myst explains being sold to the Brotherhood as a teen after a vision she’d create an Armageddon weapon, her escape and years of being their prey. Bas contacts The Mave, Lana to provide protection for Molly at Valhalla while he and Myst seek answers. Lana and Bas’ time as more than friends is long past but piques both Myst and Wolfe’s jealously when Lana agrees to help.

Brotherhood leader Stella’s confident it’s time for the weapon. As her minions search for confirmation the rumbles are heard in Valhalla and Stella plans beyond the step of eliminating Highbloods. Meticulous planning, a breach and a deviation from protocol are the perfect storm to position Stella for even more power when she stumbles onto things she can’t recognize. But then the big guns take aim.
Rating:4.25stars

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Obsession Untamed by Pamela Palmer

The previous outing left Vhypher escaping after stealing the Daemon blade that held the vicious Daemon King and his horde, a high level mage switching sides and be-spelling half of Tighe’s soul in a clone leaving only seven Feral Warriors to help their brethren and protect humans from the draden. Things got complicated when Tighe found himself seeing through the clone’s eyes and saw… her.

FBI agent Delaney Randall’s hot on the trail of an elusive serial killer that specializes in women and children. Having been that child, Delaney didn’t want another in that position. Though she escaped the mad man he must’ve done something to her because now she’s glimpsing new murders as he commits them.

It was bad enough Tighe was helpless to stop the murders he saw through the clone’s eyes but somehow Delaney’s hijacked them. His brethren’s sure Delaney’s death will restore the visions to him. Tighe’s too protective to let that happen though Delaney dredges memories he’d rather forget. When they meet, Tighe’s story ensures Delaney thinks he’s the killer on drugs. And woo hoo is he sexy!

This outing had great intrigue and the likeable leads chemistry was explosive in this cat and mouse tale. Delaney’s comfort zone of only black and white threatened the HEA a few times but softness did what softness does. The secondary thread of chasing the blade could’ve been tedious but had a twist or two of its own and was infrequent enough to create its own degree of excitement for its chapters.
Rating:4.5stars

The Unyielding by Shelly Laurenston

 

***A complimentary copy of this read was furnished by Kensington through NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review***
Not quite ready to share her theories with her sister Crows, Erin decides to check them out on her own first. Raven Stieg Engstrom isn’t too pleased when he’s asked to watch out for banthe tiny, gorgeous, funny, chaos-magnet of a Crow, Erin Amsel. As it turns out she could use a bodyguard. It seems everybody she ever met and some she hasn’t are trying to kill her.

Stieg may be the angry pile of muscle many think he is but he’s terrifyingly protective when it comes to Erin. Because it would be fun to annoy Stieg and keep her sister Crows from asking questions Erin decides she’ll be Stieg’s houseguest. The more the pair are together, the more they want to be together. Erin and Stieg were a good couple, especially after Stieg realized she’d taken liberties with him.

Meanwhile, Raven’s, Crows and the rest of the Nine have met and decided the only one among them all that has a chance of stopping Gallveig’s return and continuing to live was Erin. They just haven’t had a chance to tell her. Erin suspects she knows who is responsible for Gallveig’s imminent return which will bring about Ragnarok and whose ever really ready for an apocalypse?!?

Wrapping the Ragnarok arc Gillvieg had no intention of living her existence in Hel. Given the high stakes, the clans were cooperative and a few of the gods checked in with support. All bets are off and nothing’s off limits as Erin and Stieg suit up in full warrior mode on their quest. This reader loved that the hero moments were plentiful and more than fierce, they were formidable.

However, the sheer number of obvious scenes designed to stress the incessant cuteness of Erin’s antics were too much, too one-note and crossed the line into annoying silliness more often than not for this readers taste, affecting my overall enjoyment of the outing. Based on ratings, this opinion is a minority.
Rating:3.75stars

Unconditional by Lauren Dane

A dozen years ago Pacific pack enforcer Josh Neelan was turned and didn’t know how to cope so he left Roseburg and Michelle Slattery without a word. Before Josh left, Michelle planned to tell him how she felt and that she was a witch. Now a police officer with a personal stake in a missing person’s case, Michellle has to ask the pack to help track down the victim while resisting Josh’s charms.

Michelle refuses Josh’s offer to let the pack handle it but learns Mages are suspected of being behind a rash of kidnappings and deaths of witches and weres across the continent. With Michelle calm about the otherness of the wolf lifestyle, she and Josh found time to mate as the mystery of the kidnappings and murders deepened.

With the Cascadia pack ruling family mated off, this outing spins to its allies and connected pack, Pacifica by introducing a new threat. Leads Josh does well in the spotlight and his lady choice, Michelle is strong and independent without being irritating. Cameos from Cascadia Wolves and (presumably) De La Vega fan favorites and new characters fanned the all hands on deck urgency of the read.
Rating:4stars

The Carver’s Problem by B.L. Brooklyn

 

***A complimentary copy of this read was furnished by the author in exchange for an unbiased review***
After ten years of captivity and constant torture, an almost feral Cort shows specks of civility thanks to his roommate, Theya. Trading surreptitious glances and accidental touches skirts the edges of their platonic relationship. Their domesticity is marred by fairies and carvers trying to arrest Theya and Jeri’s determination to force Cort into the pack Alpha role Jeri abandoned.

While Dar hosts a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting with Jeri, Trish and Mikhail make decisions about their relationship as our intrepid rebel species pack plan a rescue mission when Theya is captured causing Cort to surge toward his humanity. A glimpse in Fairyland and a visit to the traditional carver camp leads to someone valuable ending up with the rebels and insinuates battles to come.

Meanwhile pack member Mikhail’s familial issues are highlighted after he locates his missing younger brother, Soren. Rescued by alone in the world earth carver, Trish, Soren’s been living as her pet. Returning to pack land, Mikhail, Soren and Trish’s reception mirrors Dar and Beth’s giving this reader a sense of deja vu and a wonder on the quick resolution of some conflicts.

For this reader’s taste this outing had a case of sophomore slump. Lacking was a sense of urgency tying the installments and seamless transitions between two sets of major characters smoothing the flow. However, easily accessible characters, rapid pacing and the battles quickly exposed blatant bigotry and power mongers along with their insidious betrayals as a bit more this corrupt world is revealed.
Rating: 3.5stars

The Vampire King by Heather Killough-Walden

Vampire Charles Alexander Ward hates his king, Roman D’Angelo, and vows vengeance for the death of his magic mentor. Through magical help, Charles learns vampire secrets to use against Roman and the perfect tool for the king’s downfall would be paranormal author Evelynne ‘Evie’ Farrow. Charles would ensure Roman never forgot he’d been bested him whenever he saw his Queen.

Two days ago, Evie was in the coffee shop scribbling notes and hoping to be inspired enough for another best seller when he came over, looking and acting like one of the heroes she never tired of writing, A sultry, sexy, smoldering vampire even his name, Roman, conjured ideas of vampires. Evie decides lust time is over since Roman thinks he is a vampire and she needs to be protected from his enemies.

While the many tried and true tropes used and fairly good characters gaining powers supported a solid outline of a paranormal King finding his Queen, for this reader’s taste the pacing, multiple POV’s and storylines plus too much explanation did not. Sometimes confused and unable to connect to the characters wasn’t the outing was not this reader’s idea of a good time.

Perhaps its foundation story jitters urging caution on a second helping of the series for this reader. (Overwritten to the point of confusion on the too many threads, also the foundation story read like the series bible.) Perhaps it isn’t jitters. (There was intrigue, a good heroine and the hero wasn’t too stupid. Also the foundation laid out the direction, rules and parameters of this series world.)
Rating: 3.5stars

Undiscovered by Sara Humphreys


*** Complimentary copy of this read furnished by Sourcebooks Casablanca through NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review***

For 500 years dragon twins Zed and Zander Lorens have shared a curse. Immortal, unable to shift and the recurring nightmare of their worst torment, Zed perpetually hibernates in the dream realm while Zander occupies the human world. Rena McHale’s recurring nightmare burns her alive but one night it’s different, escape with the word mine ringing in her ear.

With the deadline looming there isn’t much time to convince Rena she’s meant for Zed, Zander’s hopeful for the first time in centuries. Rena’s flabbergasted as she looks up and literally sees the man of her dreams as Zander walks in asking for help to save his brother. One look at Rena and Zander’s certain Rena’s Amoveo and can break the curse.

Zander tries to teach Rena about her Amoveo heritage and keep his distance at the same time as they make their way to the Amoveo ranch. Their relationship gets more complex when neither Zander nor Rena can ignore the volatile attraction between them and Zander’s old enemy appears to be the opposite for Rena and a bone of contention for their future.

Cameos by some Amoveo fan favorites link the series but it’s not necessary to read the previous series to enjoy these new characters as dragons are introduced. Rena and Zander are great complementary characters and their journey introducing the dream-walking, shape-shifting hybrid Amoveos is well done for new fans.
Rating: 4.5stars

Moonshadow by Thea Harrison

LAPD Witch Consultant Sophie Ross’ convinced there’s nothing quite like psychically seeing a hot immortal kill someone while you’re interpreting your morning runes to put you on edge. Fretting the interrupted vision only left snippets signaling travel, impending danger and bad news, Sophie wondered if they were connected to her meeting with a prominent NY surgeon that travelled so far to meet her.

Sophie learned how she ended up with a foster family of witches and was shocked the surgeon had been charged to ensure Sophie received a chance at her inheritance. Sophie could be the proud owner of an enchanted English medieval fortress and land, if she can break its spell. Taking up the challenge, Sophie’s floored to see the hot immortal she’d linked to was less than an arm’s length away.

The hounds of hell on his tail are the least of wyr Nikolas Sevigny’s problems. He’s more concerned about the dwindling number of half fae Daoine Sidhe knights fighting at his side, harried with no respite under the relentless pursuit of his enemies. Plus Nikolas isn’t completely sure the unknown but unforgettable woman had magic and could easily be colluding with the Light Court in hunting him.

The entire relationship between leads Sophie and Nikolas was built on and fueled by snark that worked for this reader and the story by giving them good chemistry. For my taste, the pacing, multiple early slow burning threads and an inability to appreciate Sophie kept this Elder Races spinoff foundation tale firmly as a likeable but not lovable outing while it tried to gain solid footing.
Rating: 3.5stars

Blood Assassin by Alexandra Ivy

When Duncan O’Conner mated necromancer Callie Brown and became her sentinel things changed. As Callie’s former protector, Fane grieved the loss of their bond and the purpose that had defined him for a decade. Powerful psychic Serra saw an obstacle removed since she’d loved Fane for years. Fane’s boss Wolfe saw a way to gain Valhalla’s most powerful sentinel for its army.

Though caught on video leaving Valhalla alone, Serra’s friends know something’s wrong. Callie and Fane combined their knowledge and correctly concluded, distraught over Fane’s latest rebuff, Serra relaxed her mind shields and opened a gift from an enemy that now controlled her. Fane immediately dismissed his plan to move to Tibet as a trainer and volunteered to get Serra safely back to Valhalla.

The poisoned locket had been sent by Bas, a high-born mid-western crime lord that needed to ensure Serra’s help in locating his kidnapped daughter. At Serra’s side working to find the girl, Fane admits his rationalization for keeping his distance and vows those days are over. Serra’s distrustful of him since Fane rebuffed her often and harshly. But she has to trust him somewhat as time is running out.

Meanwhile a triangle is forming with Serra at the center, Wolfe and the Mave are dispatched on a mission after it’s discovered how far reaching Serra’ troubles really are and Bas’ reach is farther than they know. The kidnapping villain was delicious, like a spider weaving webs of red herrings in the form of multiple layers of henchmen with little to no information to share even with psychic assistance.

Once again this layered series presents a story that seems simple at first blush but left simplicity in the first paragraph. Two favorites having star turns, a diabolical villain, a compelling storyline plus teasing tidbits on the Valhalla leadership kept this reader intrigued during this well paced read. Though the series should be read in order to appreciate ‘high-born’ world it isn’t necessary to follow the tale.
Rating: 4.5stars

Born in Blood by Alexandra Ivy

born-in-blood

Hard-boiled Sergeant Duncan O’Conner doesn’t like the relationship between shy necromancer highborn Callie Brown and her sentinel, Fane. He doesn’t know if they’re lovers. But he’s sure he’ll be her next and her last lover because he and Callie have more than an attraction. Right now he’s not happy this dead body forced him to let Fane help Callie and she’s looking too comfortable in Fane’s arms.

Callie tells Duncan and Fane she was stalked by a powerful necromancer while doing her duty and needed to talk to the Mave, the supernatural leader in Valhalla. As Duncan and Fane are united in ensuring Callie’s safety they don’t hesitate to pause their male measuring to escort her. Callie and Fane were surprised since humans usually want the distance between their species.

When Fane and Callie resist, Duncan shares the unusual mutilation of the body but not a secret he’s been guarding which settles the argument for Callie. During their meeting, the Mave provides proof the latest murder is one in a series that may have ritual magic at its core and gives the trio clues to start a quest. As Duncan and Callie take their relationship past flirting the dead body goes missing.

For this reader, though it is evident telepath Serra’s primary concern is Fane, she’s awkwardly placed throughout the read. The evil, goal oriented villain felt one note and his mostly interchangeable cabal hinders rather than helps the villain’s nefarious and diabolical scheme. While necessary, these nits could have been streamlined for a smoother read in my opinion.

The first full length novel of this series clearly wove descriptions and explanations into the multi-layered foundation of this world as the norms and Valhalla residents interacted. The characters were fairly well fleshed and the pacing was mostly good in this interspecies tale wrapped around a mystery but tended to drag with important but seemingly fluff pieces of minutiae.
Rating:3.5stars

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