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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.

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Review: Gray Back Alpha Bear (Gray Back Bears #2) by T.S. Joyce

Gray Back Alpha Bear (Gray Back Bears, #2)Who would have ever thought I would find Trailer Park Bears fascinating? Well, the way T.S. Joyce writes them, you simply can’t put the books down!

The Trailer Park Bears truly do live in trailer parks. Broken-down singlewides, parked in the middle of the forest, where Dragon Shifter Damon Daye has brought them in to clear trees devastated by bug infestations. The TPB’s series is actually more than one series. The first tells the story of the Saw Back Bears, this second series is all about the Gray Backs. While the Ashe crew, the stars of the Saw Bears 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.

Book one was Matt’s story. Now, book two takes us deeper into Creed’s story. Determined that there will be NO, absolutely, positively NO! females in his park, he was set back on his heel when Willa, Matt’s mate, blew into the park. Now, Gia is here, and Creed is wholly determined that she won’t change how he lives his life.

Honestly, this one sort of let me down. There were too many missing parts, too many unlikely ‘surprises’. Don’t get me wrong – I love Ms. Joyce’s Trailer Park Bears. But I hope the next is more pulled together than this one. It felt too rushed. Maybe a publishing deadline? However that may be, watch for my review of Gray Back #3, Gray Back Ghost Bear.

Celia Kyle’s Buchanan Clan – A Dual Review

Celia Kyle is, without a doubt, one of my “go-to” authors for Bathtub Books (those books you crawl into a hot tub with, complete with candles, wine and chocolates no the side). Her Ridgeville Series is, so far, my favorite by far. Maya is a hoot!  The Grayslake series is another favorite bathtub/bedtime read. There are others, from Hot Shifter romances to Hot Aliens… whatever your tastes!

Now, there is “The Buchanan Clan”. Three sisters, daughters of the premiere Alpha Lion in the world, it’s time for the Buchanan girls to find their mates. There is excitement. There is a bloody fight. There is the obligatory HEA, much in the manner of Celia’s “Quick &Furry” series.

26047931The first, Impawsible, is Bethany’s story. You see, Bethany has a problem. She is a rare white rabbit shifter amongst lions. NOT a comfortable place to be! When she was little, all the boys wanted to chase her, first to see if they could literally scare her to death, and then to see if they could have her for an appetizer. Literally. Well, the second would be accomplished if the first succeeded, so what’s the dif’? But when they boys decide that there is a third option as she gets older, well, Deal’s Gap, North Carolina, “The Neutral Zone” where the oddballs and hybrids of the shifter world reside, becomes the perfect place to hide.

Oops.

The past comes back to haunt her, and well, read it and find out!28929344

In the second of the series, just published, we return to Deal’s Gap and the Buchanan girls with “Press Paws”, Hanna and Ryland’s story.

Hannah has always been the “good girl”, no matter her snarky ways and toenail polish obsession (which she spills onto her sister’s newly refinished deck in the first hour of her arrival in Deal’s Gap. Thank goodness Bethany and Carter are on their honeymoon!) Intent on finding a handyman to fix her “oops”, she comes across Ryland – and all bets are off when it comes to the arranged marriage her father and the head of the Lachlan clan set up.

Again, the past comes to haunt Hannah and Ryland, complete with claws, fangs, and a nasty attitude.

Celia is always good for a few things, no matter what she is writing. There is love, of course. But also a bit of action, some giggles and downright belly laughs, and a great deal of heart. If you haven’t found her yet, I recommend her for a cozy, relaxing read!

I received both of these books from the author in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. Thank you for reading my review!

Shifters In The Snow Anthology Now Out!

15 novellas. 800 pages. Only $0.99!

For a limited time only, have a happy Shift-mas with the bundle the reviewers can’t put down. With over 100 five-star reviews on Amazon, Shifters in the Snow is the perfect guilty pleasure this holiday season.

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.

All of these stories are EXCLUSIVE to this bundle. You haven’t read these before and you won’t find them anywhere else.

Click now to experience a shifter Christmas you’ll never forget.

Available at:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble Nook
iTunes
Kobo

Win a $100 Amazon gift card just for buying or reviewing Shifters in the Snow!

Review: Power Shift by Calinda B and Tina Winograd #ReadingAlley

Power Shift“Of mankind we may say in general they are fickle, hypocritical, and greedy of gain.” – Niccolo Machiavelli

Chia Petit wants, desperately, to keep her little corner of Alaska safe – for both shifters and humans alike. She has worked hard over the last three years to make sure that happens, setting up rules and regulations for what you can and cannot do in Charming, Alaska. So far, it is working, and most everyone loves the Charming Queen of Rules. Of course, not everyone likes that Chia has set up a safe place for shifters. And politics being politics, well, people love you, but humans are incredibly fickle . . . and that very fickle nature means that Chia’s life has suddenly turned to garbage in the last 24-hours. And it all centers around that jerk-off Hung Durand. Bounty hunter, total ass, and massive pain in Chia’s backside. She wants him dead. But first? First, she wants to do him.

There are a lot of things to like about “Power Shift.” There are lions and tigers and bears (oh, my), and a wonderful group of characters and personalities. Chia’s roommate is a very old vampire, and the two of them are hysterical with their practical jokes and interactions. Cecil Carpenter, Husky Shifter, town drifter and barhopper, is probably my favorite character. He is loyal and courageous (even though he is terrified at the things he must do to keep Chia safe when the world starts coming apart around their ears.) Dick Nighthawk (real name “White” but you can’t take advantage of the Alaskan Natives without them thinking you are one of them) and Red Mountainbear (ditto) are bad guys you love to hate. And the idea of ghosts that haunt you, literally, because you fail to face the bad things you have done in your life, was quite interesting. Overall, I would normally really enjoy this book. However, Chia herself brought down my enjoyment of the story. She has a lot of good qualities, but her obsession with sex soon became tiresome, then caused me to lose respect. The world is burning around you, you need to focus and save people’s lives, and yet all she can think of is sex – so she misses signs, misses opportunities – and gets people killed. It was both distracting and irritating, and finally dropped my rating by two full stars.

If you can overlook Chia’s irritating personality and obsession with sex, the rest of it is really good. I started skipping over the parts with Chia thinking – anything. It detracted from the book – which is a shame, because the rest of the book, without the obsessions, was quite good.
I received this book from Reading Alley in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. Oh, and I really like the cover!

Review: Hedging His Bets – Celia Kyle & Mina Carter

Hedging His BetsIt’s tough being a big, tough, scary shifter – when you change into a hedgehog weighing about a pound. Oy. How embarrassing! Especially when you are totally addicted to Honey, an Amazonian honey-blond with attitude to spare. But when Blake finds out that Honey adores Hedgies, he decides he will play the ‘poor little hedgehog’ and get himself into Honeys arms that way. What could go wrong?

Um…. well, let’s see. You come into her home playing a role . . .

What happens next is funny, sad, and a lighthearted look at just how dumb men can be when they are determined to get what they want! This is a light-hearted story, just what we expect from the team of Celia Kyle and Mina Carter. Lots of humour, quirky characters, and of course, an HEA. Not brain surgery, but lots of fun.

Hedging His Bets (Hedging His Bets #1)

by Celia Kyle (Goodreads Author), Mina Carter (Goodreads Author)

Review: Bite Me (Pride Series Book 9) by Shelly Laurenston

Bite Me (Pride, #9)“Just cause you got the monkey off your back doesn’t mean the circus has left town.” – George Carlin
Poor Livy. Being a honey badger shifter is really the pits sometimes. Let’s take her father’s funeral.

“So how did it go?

“Fistfight on the casket. Poisonous snakes in the backyard. My father’s ex-girlfriend head-butted by my mother… The usual really.”

Wow. Growing up in a family known for being enemies to … well … everyone, isn’t actually all that easy. Especially when you have no interest in learning the finer skills of pickpocketing at age three or how to best break in to a safe, steal the swag and get away clean by the time you are a preteen. Huh. Livy isn’t interested in the family business of breaking every local, state, federal and international robbery law on the books – she just wants to be a photographer. And she is a really good one at that. But family business rears its ugly head, no matter how carefully Livy tries to stay away. And her father’s death will lead to a return to the family business, will she or nil she. Thank goodness she has good friends to back her up. And, believe it or not, her family as well. Of course, when her old friend Vic, a bear-tiger hybrid, shows up along with his friend and sometimes business partner Shen, the giant panda, things get even stickier.

Livy: “Your feline is showing.”
Vic: “Because you’re not being rational and there’s an eight-foot four-hundred-pound whiny baby over there begging me to claw the holy shit out of him.”

Polar Bear Hockey Player (and aforementioned whiney baby): “You are Rude!”

Livy has no interest in a ‘relationship’ with anyone – especially when said hybrid makes her insides feel funny. But sometimes what we want and what we need are very different. And having a mammoth sized hybrid on her side turns out to be rather a good thing after all.

I read the first two of Shelly Laurenston’s “Pride” series quite some time ago and remember liking them, and finding them rather funny. “Bite Me” is sooo much more! I laughed so hard all through the book I had tears running down my face. The story is great, but the characters make the book. From Tennessee hillbillies (and proud of it) to savants in everything from art to music to science, Shelly takes what could be cliché characters and make them so much more. There is tremendous humor here, but also depth – the love of family and friends, the sacrifices friends are willing to make, and a lot about love and duty, greed and egotism – and the best way to break into an unbreakable vault, of course.

Yes, the first ones were OK but Book Nine? Priceless! It is now on my “to be read immediately when feeling sad” shelf. And I am going to go back and read the rest as well. The first two were more of the typical ‘paranormal romance’ with some humor thrown in – lots of sex and not as much story. This one? LOTS of story, lots of laughs, and a tiny bit of very well-done sex – lagniappe rather than main course!

Highly recommended. Have fun! Oh, and please note. Just because Shelly’s wonderful cover artists couldn’t figure out the best way to make Vic look sexy in his hybrid form, (he really is quite terrifying in his shifted form! All. That. FUR!!) and put that gorgeous tiger on the cover instead, doesn’t mean that Shelly doesn’t respect her friends, the hybrid shifters!

Review: Shifting Dreams by Elizabeth Hunter

Shifting Dreams | [Elizabeth Hunter]This was my first introduction to Elizabeth Hunter, and I am so happy that I found her through a book blogging friend of mine. I listened to the Audible edition, narrated by Liisa Ivary, and this is just another example of how a good narrator can take a good book and make it even better. Her smooth delivery led me through the book, introducing me to the characters and the world in a smooth and well-modulated way.

The story itself introduces us to Cambio Springs, a shifter town – a dying town since the military base closed down. Without something good happening, the town will disappear, and the safety of its inhabitants as well. A bar, a small school, and a tiny café are about it. Seven extended families started the town when one of their number had a vision of a crow flying over hot springs. And one of those springs is very, very special.

Jena Crowe is a single mother, trying to keep her two boys fed and a roof over all their heads. After losing her husband three years ago she is lonely, but so busy she has no time to make any changes to that situation. Here comes Caleb Gilbert, the new Police Chief – a normal, apparently. Well, maybe not.

The story is interesting, the mythology well written, and it kept my attention quite well. There are some congruency issues that should have been caught by the editor, but they weren’t enough to be completely irritating. As another reviewer pointed out the Caleb character was pretty dumb at times – an officer who makes the kind of mistakes he makes is a dead man – clearly illogical for someone with his background. I really enjoyed the world building the most about the book. Interesting world building, to me, is just as important as character development. Ms. Hunter does just that.

I will be trying out her other books when I get a chance. I picked up A Hidden Fire: Elemental Mysteries, Book 1 narrated by Dina Pearlman. Right now it is on sale at Audible for $1.99, what a great deal!

Review: Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

gunmetalHumankind seems to have an enormous capacity for savagery, for brutality, for lack of empathy, for lack of compassion. – Annie Lennox

From her birth, Andrea Nash has had a brutal, horrific life. A Beastkin, the child of a hyena who turned into a human and a hyena were, Andrea was tortured, beaten, and brutalized beyond comprehension. Once she escaped from the horrors of her beginnings, Andrea focused – on building a life, creating the person she wished to be. In order to reach her goals, she became the best Order Agent she could possibly be. And the Order of Merciful Aid would never, ever allow a Beastkin amongst their ranks. So, Andrea hid in plain sight, wearing a medallion under her skin to hide her genetics.

When the world fell apart during the war Kate’s millennia old “lovely” auntie Erra started, Andrea made a decision which destroyed her life. She decided to stand with the Order, a group that would just as soon see her dead as a member. Thrown from the Order, and having turned her back on the Pack, and her Bouda prince lover, her life soon falls apart in every way possible.

I examined myself sitting there. I’d held back for so long. I’d been good for so long. I’d always did as expected. I followed the rules and regulations. Look where it got me. Being good hurt.

Now, Kate and Andrea have opened Cutting Edge Investigations, their own little “Order.” And when the murders of several shifters lands on Andrea’s desk, it isn’t only the job that is the problem. Oh, it couldn’t be that easy, now could it? Oh, no. Aunt B is determined to bring Andrea into the fold of the Bouda clan, whether she wants to be folded or not, and the murder victims are all employees of Rafael – yes, that Rafael. Sigh. And of course, when Rafael brings his new flame with him to Andrea’s office, all ‘seven feet of dumb’ girlfriend, well, Andrea blows a gasket. And what comes next will throw Andrea’s life into yet another turmoil which will change her life once again.

Andrea being Andrea, there is a lot of pain – but there is also a lot of humour woven through the story. As with all of the Andrew’s work the story is tightly woven, perfectly plotted and continues the storyline beautifully. I am thrilled with Andrea’s story! I waited a long time for Andrea’s story, and I couldn’t have been happier with the outcome.

Highly recommended!

 

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