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Paranormal romance

Under Her Skin (Shifter Shield Book 1)

“Some sons-a-bitches just need killing.” – Detective Daniel Moreland, Under Her Skin (Shifter Shield Book 1)

 

Lindi Parker couldn’t agree more. Some sons-a-bitches absolutely, positively needed killing. Like the father who kept coming into his little girl’s room at night – “He hurts me.” So, finally, she killed him. A ten-year-old girl killed her scum sucking pedophile father. Of course, as a counselor for the Child Advocacy and Protection Center, Lindi has seen horrific crime scenes, the horrors visited upon the most fragile, the most helpless among us. But this one? This one rocks her all the way to her core.

She isn’t alone.

“Solitude, isolation, are painful things and beyond human endurance.” – Jules Verne

Not that she hasn’t known love in her own life. Her adoptive family loves her with all their heart and soul. But understanding someone as ‘special’ as Lindi hasn’t always been easy. Especially when they thought that she was the only one of her kind. Now, not only has she found that others exist – they apparently all want her dead.

Well. That bites.

And hey! Look at that! They even have special people whose whole point in life is to track her down and murder her. Score!

Lucky her, huh?

Yes, this is a shapeshifter tale, with many of the same tropes as you would find in any other. But Margo Bond Collins steps outside the box in this one in ways both horrible and fascinating. And in doing so she writes a paranormal that leans heavily toward a blend of mystery and suspense that raises the bar to something beyond ‘just another paranormal.’

I enjoyed the book very much, and highly recommend it.

 

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Review: Bear In The Rough By Ariana Hawkes

Bear in the Rough (Broken Hill Bears)

“Superstition, bigotry and prejudice, ghosts though they are, cling tenaciously to life; they are shades armed with tooth and claw. They must be grappled with unceasingly, for it is a fateful part of human destiny that it is condemned to wage perpetual war against ghosts. A shade is not easily taken by the throat and destroyed.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables (1862)

Humans. As Hugo says, superstition, bigotry and prejudice incarnate. When you are ‘different’ it is hard enough. When you are a Shifter? Well, as Shrek put it, “Grab your torch and pitchforks!” Or, in this case, your cops with riot guns. Cause as much as we would like to think that we should all be able to live together, well. It ain’t happening. The humans love watching Shifters fight, MMA style, in the ring, but they certainly don’t want them in their towns. Of course, the Shifters don’t really care. After all, they worked out some really good financial contracts for their shows – so, who cares, right?

When Freya Wright was eight, her father disappeared. Walked out the door to “run a quick errand” and never returned. It destroyed her mother, and left a darkness in her own heart. Her mother took her from Washington and moved them to San Diego, but rather than getting better, she lost herself in a bottle. Now, with her mother dead, Freya has a plan to try to cut the darkness in her heart. She wants to walk the Pacific Coast Trail, the 2,659 mi trail up the coast from Mexico to Canada. While she plans to go alone, a high school reunion adds her friends Eloise and Marin to her trip. It will be hard, harsh and brutal, months of hiking over rough terrain in all sorts of weather. There are ups and downs, literally, but also mentally and emotionally. Then, the worst happens, what all women on their own fear. They see what they shouldn’t. And their lives will never be the same. Now, they are terrified, kidnapped and held prisoner. Life and death hangs in the balance, and is beginning to slide to the right.

In a lot of ways, this is a standard PR, but at the same time the strength of the women was pleasing, and the ideas behind human/shifter relations was interesting as well. It kept me interested, and left me satisfied. If you like PR with a ‘shifters in the modern world’ bent, give it a try. Free on Kindle Unlimited, or .99 if you don’t have KU.

Review: Last Immortal Dragon (The Last of the Gray Back Series)

26854031“I hope to outlive my enemies.” — William Sanderson

“I watched the spinning stars, grateful, sad and proud, as only a man who has outlived his destiny and realizes he might yet forge himself another, can be.”  ― Roger Zelazny, Isle of the Dead

Outliving your enemies is good. Outliving those you love, your family, your friends, the very world you once knew? How terrible. Excruciating loneliness. Emptiness. Watching everything and everyone you know age, die and turn to dust.

Such is the life of Damon Daye. For you see, Damon Daye is the Last Immortal Dragon. The only one of his once numerous kind. Alone. So terribly, terribly alone. Unable to die, he retreats to his mountain, Damon’s Mountain, where he watches over the Bear Shifter Crews under his protection. He grows too close however, to the scraggly crews under his care, leading to a need he hasn’t known for a while. His dragon wants to care for someone again – a child of his own.

Determined to ascertain his boss fulfills his needs, even though Damon fights against it, Mason brings a woman to Damon’s Mountain. A woman who he believes will sign Damon’s contract to have a child with him, then walk away – something that has worked for Damon in times past, to assuage his desperate loneliness. But this time? This time both Damon and Mason are in for a surprise. For the woman Mason brings, Clara Sutterfield, an Alpha Bear, is much more than either expected. And that very fact may signal the destruction of not only everything Damon has built on the Mountain, but the destruction of the Last Immortal Dragon himself.

I absolutely adored Last Immortal Dragon. I have read (and reviewed) many, if not all, of T. S. Joyce’s Damon’s Mountain stories and have enjoyed every one. Ms. Joyce writes interesting stories, with true storylines – not just a weak storyline as a cover for multiple sex scenes. The sex is there, of course (this is a ‘shifter meets mate’ series after all) but there are actual stories here. Stories that carry the theme through the whole series and touch on real world issues such as race hatred, multi-racial marriage, environmental issues, human fear of the unknown, and political manipulation of those who are least able to protect themselves. She writes well, and fulfills so many promises other writers offer, but never achieve.

I highly recommend you start at the beginning of the Damon’s Mountain series and work your way through. Then check out Ms. Joyce’s other works. They are all solid entries in the Paranormal Romance genre, but are actually more than just a genre entry.

Reading Order for Damon’s Mountain:

Lumberjack Werebear (Saw Bears, Book 1)

Woodcutter Werebear (Saw Bears, Book 2)

Timberman Werebear (Saw Bears, Book 3)

Sawman Werebear (Saw Bears, Book 4)

Bear My Soul (Fire Bears, Book 1)

Axman Werebear (Saw Bears, Book 5)

Bear the Burn (Fire Bears, Book 2)

Bear the Heat (Fire Bears, Book 3)

Woodsman Werebear (Saw Bears, Book 6)

Lumberman Werebear (Saw Bears, Book 7)

Gray Back Bad Bear (Gray Back Bears, Book 1)

Gray Back Alpha Bear (Gray Back Bears, Book 2)

Gray Back Ghost Bear (Gray Back Bears, Book 3)

Gray Back Broken Bear (Gray Back Bears, Book 4)

Lowlander Silverback (Gray Back Bears, Book 5)

Last Immortal Dragon (Gray Back Bears, Book 6)

A Very Beastly Christmas (Gray Back Bears, Book 7)

Boarlander Boss Bear (Boarlander Bears, Book 1)

Boarlander Bash Bear (Boarlander Bears, Book 2)

Boarlander Silverback (Boarlander Bears, Book 3)

Boarlander Beast Boar (Boarlander Bears, Book 4)

Boarlander Cursed Bear (Boarlander Bears, Book 5)

 

Shifters In The Snow Anthology Now Out!

15 novellas. 800 pages. Only $0.99!

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Stuff your stocking with this delicious new collection of holiday romances. These books have it all, from dominant, possessive bear shifters to winter witches to panthers and snow leopards. These supernatural creatures are ready and ROARing to heat up your sheets this holiday season.

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Available at:
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Review: In the Company of Wolves by Paige Tyler #UrbanFantasy #Werewolves

In the Company of Wolves (SWAT) - Paige Tyler“There is no life to be found in violence. Every act of violence brings us closer to death.” – bell hooks

A meth addict mother. Check. A brutal, drunken stepfather. Check. Living in a hellhole of an apartment, waiting for said stepfather to storm into her room and rape her. Double check. Jayna Winston fled into the night on the very night that nearly happened. Bloody, beaten and alone.

Fast forward to the present day, and Jayna finds herself in a hell of a mess. In Paige Tyler’s mythology, werewolves are created at times of great terror and pain, and Jayna’s change came that terrifying night. Now, her alpha, Liam, has placed his small pack into the hands of the Albanian mob, locked them into committing crimes, from theft to murder. Murder. And Liam apparently doesn’t care that his tiny pack is in danger of being killed every time they commit a crime. That right this very moment Jayna’s life is in danger. Because Liam said there were no werewolves in Dallas. Especially no alpha werewolves. But now, in a warehouse in a bad part of Dallas, Jayna and the omega wolves Liam has taken in – huge, ruthless, savage – are surrounded. Surrounded by a SWAT team composed completely of wolves. Alpha wolves.

A whole pack of alpha wolves. Toe-to-toe to one of said wolves, Jayna knows she will never survive. Until the alpha wolf dumps her into a packing crate, tells her to be very, very quiet – and then pours a shipment of very expensive perfume over the crate to block her scent.

What the . . . ?

Why did that happen? And to make it even weirder, the alpha, Eric Becker, tracks her down. But he doesn’t arrest her. He wants to help. Liam may have dropped Jayna and her tiny pack into certain death, but Becker wants to help. No one has ever offered to actually help Jayna. Now she and Megan, Moe, Joseph and Chris, three beta wolves, can no longer rely on Liam. And without Liam’s strength, they can’t leave, can’t fight back.

But Becker has a plan. First, he has to present himself as an omega, and be accepted by Frasheri, the Albanian mob boss, and his underboss, the psychopath Kostandin. And then? Well, here is what is going to happen . . .

Tyler’s mythology is interesting in its difference. Neither Jayna nor her pack members, or Becker himself, have been wolves for very long, all learning what it means. All have things to teach one another. Jayna is terrified, of course, of losing her much loved pack members, even Liam who sold them out to the mob in exchange for money and the illusion of power. To save them she will have to be stronger than she ever could have imagined. And she comes through beautifully. Becker and his people are strong, of course, but also very human in the best sort of way. A pleasant read.

I received In the Company of Wolves from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.

Review: Claimed By The Mate -Two Book Set: Feral Passions and The Alpha’s Mate

Claimed by the Mate is actually two books in one. “Feral Passions” by Kate Douglas, and “The Alpha’s Mate” by A. C. Arthur. I have reviewed both, one a wonderful story – the other? Not so much.

Parents can be so hateful. So cruel and full of spite, destroying the souls of their children on a whim, trying to force their will, destroying their child’s self-esteem. It never goes away. The pain of knowing that you are not enough, not good enough, not perfect enough, for your parents to love you.

Cheraza “Cherry” DuBois knows all about being unloved. She has her father’s height, his big bones, big breasts and lush hips. She isn’t out of proportion, she is just a big girl. And her parents hate her for that. While her sister got summer camp, Cherry got fat camp. And when she lost her virginity in the back of a car, while the guy took photos and spread them all over the net to humiliate her, he wasn’t punished. Oh, no. While she was kicked out of school and made a pariah by everyone who knew her, her parents made it worse. They cut all ties and threw her out of their lives like garbage. Their daughter wasn’t perfect, she was an embarrassment, and they made sure she knew it.

Now, ten years later, Cherry lives her own life as a marketing analyst, loving her work, but locking everyone but her sister, Christa, and Christa’s best friend Steph out of her life. Cissy and Steph have always been there for her. Always supported her. So when they beg Cherry to come along on a girl’s only vacation, a week at a private wolf preserve, how can she say no? A week in the northern California mountains, at a preserve and resort where only six women a week are allowed, where women can “get in touch with nature without the hassle of guys and all that testosterone-driven need to hike farther, climb higher.” Six women, the total focus of a bunch of really hot guys who are determined to make sure they enjoy their stay. Well, they do encourage you to bring along books, or knitting, or painting, or whatever other hobbies you wish to pursue. No Wi-Fi or cell phone reception, so the idea of total relaxation is quite appealing.

The landscape is gorgeous. The wolves come close, and the air is fresh and clean, just what a San Francisco girl needs to clear her head and relax. And it allowed me to relax as well as I pictured the landscape of the story in my mind. I could almost smell the air and see the wildflowers and the wolves. Kate Douglas paints a beautiful picture of the preserve. And of course, the massage that Cherry gets at her cabin made me way jealous… sigh.

Feral Passions is a lovely little paranormal romance that I truly enjoyed and will read again. I haven’t read Douglas before, but this book encourages me to check out her other works. I loved her understanding of Cherry’s pain and inability to see herself as anything other than ugly and unlovable because of what her family and others did to her. I also loved watching as she began to grow and change, beginning to believe in her own worth as a human being. Thank you, Ms. Douglas, for your eyes-open approach to Cherry’s situation and how her parents destroyed her ability to see good in herself.

The second book in this two volume set, The Alpha’s Woman by A. C. Arthur was diametrically opposed to the mindset of the first book. Honestly, it clashed so deeply with the strong woman character of the first book I found it disconcerting. Kira Radney is the daughter of an alpha wolf, and the mythology of the story is different than most paranormal romance werewolf stories. Here, the wolves came about through Zeus being Zeus, i.e., a complete and total jerk. Fast forward and the wolves have been segregated on earth, away from utopian Arcadia, and are now two warring tribes, the Hunters and the Devoted. The Hunters want to kill off all the Devoted, who wish to live in harmony and peace with humans and the other hidden creatures as well. The Hunters simply with to hunt, kill and rut. Kira is an alpha, born to the Hunters, but when her mother is murdered and her father tries to foist her off on a brutal beta so that she can be controlled, she takes off, only to find herself captured by yet another alpha. An alpha who captures her and drags her back to his home, only to mind rape her and pull the whole “you are going to take it, and not come until I allow you to” crap that some women, for some stomach twisting reason, think is ‘sexy.’ When it got to the alpha telling Kira that she was going to learn to be strong and in control, then tying her to a weight bench and raping her – well, that is when I stopped reading. That sort of cold, manipulative, demeaning savagery makes me sick, and I had to put the book down and walk away. How is rape teaching a woman that she is in control of her own life? The whole ‘out of control’ sexual content of the book, and the weak-minded female character thinking with her vagina instead of her head, was diametrically opposed to the strong female character of the first book. I wouldn’t have put these two together on a bet.

So, one beautifully done book and one bit of sickening, over-sexed savagery. Kate Douglas will get more of my attention, while Arthur will go on my “not again, even if there is nothing else left in the world to read” list.

I received Claimed by the Mate from the publisher in exchange for a realistic, honest review. As you can see, I honestly loved the first, honestly despised the second! Five stars for Feral Passions, zero stars for The Alpha’s Mate.

Review: Spiral of Need by Suzanne Wright #ParanormalRomanticSuspense

Spiral of Need (The Mercury Pack, #1)“Nothing like being accused of attempted murder to complete a girl’s Friday evening.” What a great opening line to a new series by a favorite author!

I have been a fan of Suzanne Wright for quite some time – since I first found her “Phoenix Pack” series. The stories are well written, have great backstory and, within a paranormal romance setup, speaks to issues we all face today. Prejudice, hatred, all the nasty habits of humanity. But her works speak of the good as well – love, duty, honor. All the things that, if we would only concentrate on those instead of hating one another, we could become better, stronger, and more worthy of our presence on this beautiful planet.

Now, Ms. Wright has a spin-off that melds the Phoenix Pack with the newly created Mercury Pack. Led by Nick Axton and his mate, Shaya Critchley, a previous member of the Phoenix Pack, this first book is just as strongly written, and just as filled with wonderful characters and situations as the Phoenix series.

We first met Derren, the unwilling Beta of the Mercury Pack, in “Carnal Secrets,” book three of the Phoenix series. Broken and bitter from years imprisoned as a 14-year-old for a crime he didn’t commit, Derren is tough, introverted, and brutal. And the one thing he hates, more than anything else, is a Seer. But when Cain Holt calls, Derren can’t say no. He owes Cain, another shifter juvie prisoner, a favor. And he can’t turn down Cain’s request to rescue, and protect, Alyssa “Ally” Marshall from an intolerable situation in her present pack. Of course, Derren has every reason to hate Seers. Not only was he betrayed by a Seer, whose son committed the rape Derren was accused and sent to prison for. His Alpha and best friend, Nick, and his enforcers Marcus and Roni were also betrayed by Seers. Yep. Having a Seer in your pack can be a wonderful thing – but a bad Seer can be as bad as a bad Alpha – deadly and destructive.

Suzanne continues her wonderful world-building and character building, her story telling strong and well designed as usual. Betrayal, hatred, back-stabbing and murder are all part of the story – and yet the strong bindings of family and pack are intertwined, pulling the story forward and drawing me into Suzanne’s world once again. Suzanne, like Eve Langlais, is a strong writer of paranormal romance without the ridiculousness of so many other paranormals. Her female characters, both the good and the bad, are truly strong characters, whether you love them or hate them – and some of them you really, really hate! My ‘go-to’ authors for nights when I need to read strong women, complex plots and a great world so close to our own.

I received “Spiral of Need” from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. The only thing I would change is the title – in my opinion it doesn’t really ‘fit’ the book, but otherwise, I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes strong characters and well written storylines. I would call it more “Romantic Paranormal Suspense” than simple “Paranormal Romance.” It is stronger than simple PR.

Publishing TODAY!

Review: Pyromancist by Charmaine Pauls

PyromancistPyromancist by Charmaine Pauls is one of those odd-birds that I find it very difficult to review. While there are many 5-star reviews out there for the book, I find it difficult to agree. Ms. Pauls is an interesting woman, without a doubt, who has enjoyed wide-ranging travels and homes, from her birthplace in Bloemfontein, South Africa to university in Potchestroom, then life in France. Today, she lives and writes in Chile. As her author description says, “Their household is a linguistic mélange of Afrikaans, English, French and Spanish.

And here, I believe, is where my difficulty with the book lies. Others may not agree, but I found the language very stilted and over-descriptive. In my experience, this is common in books that were written in one language and translated to another – especially when books are written in a Germanic based language and translated to a Romantic Language, or vice versa. It requires a deft hand to translate the text in such a ways as to assure smooth flow. I found the staccato delivery distracting, and often found myself “skimming” the text, moving through the book and catching sentences here and there. I couldn’t really ‘lock-in’ to the storyline.

Then, there are the names. I actually thought, when I picked up the book, that this was a lesbian-oriented book. “Josselin” is a very odd, very rare name (ranked on the 38,782nd position of the most used names) and is, according to my research, given almost solely to female children. Clelia, from the Greek Kleio, is nearly as rare, and I have no idea how it is pronounced (Klee-leeah?). These issues were very distracting as was the consistent use of French.

Now that I cleared that up, what I gathered from the story was hit-and-miss for me. The main characters seemed very childish – especially when Clelia kept calling Josselin by a ‘pet name’ he found absolutely irritating. The story itself, as a paranormal romance, was fairly standard. Boy and girl grow up together, boy leaves, boy comes home, girl discovers powers, etc. The characters had rather unique abilities, and Clelia did grow as a character, which is something many female characters in paranormal romance often don’t do. I hate weak, whiny females in my reading, and though Clelia starts out weak, she does show growth.

Overall? Three stars.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review back in April. I kept picking it up, reading a few pages, and putting it back down again, so it didn’t get finished until today, when I made myself pick it up and read all the way through. The book is too ‘hot’ for a young audience, but the writing was young, so I wasn’t really sure what market the writer was going for. You may love it – if so, good for you! If you enjoyed my review please click Amazon Reviews and click “Like” on Amazon. It helps the authors by encouraging others to read my reviews. Thank you!

Review: Gray Back Bad Bear by T.S. Joyce

Bad bear, no Bisquit!

Gray Back Bad Bear (Gray Back Bears, #1)
Yes, Yes, I know. Gotta have the half-naked guy on the cover… sigh.

If you are familiar with T.S. Joyce and her Sawbears series, you will be familiar with the Gray Back crew of werebears. While the Ashe crew, the stars of the Sawbears series, is the “A Team” of lumberjacks, well, the Gray Back crew is, as alpha Creed puts it, “The C Team”. Rowdy, constantly battling, and constantly covered in blood, the Gray Backs are a misfit band of dominant bears. Broken dominant bears. Creed the alpha, Matt the man-ho, Clinton and Jason the goofballs. And then there is Easton, a bear so broken he can’t stand to live close to the others – and can’t seem to stop fighting, even when it might mean his death. A broken clan with a brutal and savage history, they are the clan that nobody wants to mess with. But when Willa shows up, can things change for the better?

Willa Madden is pissed. The girls camping trip she thought she was taking with her high school gang to celebrate them all graduating college was supposed to be to someplace warm and beachy – someplace like Cabo. Instead, “The Bombshells”, Brittney, Kara, and Gia drag her off to Saratoga – Saratoga, Wyoming, not Saratoga, Florida. It seems the Bombshells are intent on scratching “Do a Werebear” off their bucket lists. Something Willa has absolutely, positively NO interest in. But, Willa is a ‘go along to get along’ type, and besides, she likes camping. And if the Bombshells are staying in a hotel without telling Willa, she is perfectly happy to camp out in the woods alone.

Of course, things change when she literally runs into Matt-the-Man-Ho. They find that they can be friends – snarky, smart-mouthed, ‘say what you mean and mean what you say’ friends. Of course, that is after Willa trips over a waitress and shows off her ‘granny panties’. Well, they aren’t granny panties to Willa. “They’re called comfy cottons, I’ll have you know. They came in six festive colors!”

Besides – “Ha! You, mister, are barking up the wrong tree. I’m a virgin and proud.” She waved her hands in front of her skirt. “No one has touched this magical box with their tally whacker, and I assure you, you won’t be entering my sacred temple either.”

Five feet of snark and attitude, Willa is determined to have a good time on her trip, no matter what. Until things happen, bad things, and the story gets a lot more complex.

Gray Back Bad Bear is a cute story, with both humor and pathos. I had fun with it, and if you like T.S. Joyce, you are sure to like this book.

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