Cross Breed by Lora Leigh
September 25, 2018
Reviewed by Helyce
Note: Might be a little bit rambly…
I remember when I found the Breeds. I came upon a book at my local used bookstore. I don’t remember which one it was, but it fueled my love of science fiction with its very imaginative theme of altering genetics and creating a completely different species by splicing animal and human DNA. Not a human who could shift into an animal–something completely different. When I realized this was a series, I headed back to my used bookstore and bought every single one they had.
I was hooked!
Over the years I’ve had a love-hate relationship with this series. It became repetitive and didn’t feel as if there was much of a story arc, until recently. And don’t get me started on the editing, or should I say, complete lack thereof. One of the books was shipped to retailers with a whole chapter missing. There were huge inconsistencies, and no rhyme or reason sometimes; BUT I hung in there and dealt with all of that because of Cassandra Sinclair. She had sparked my interest from the moment she was introduced as a little girl. Cassie is special because she is not just a wolf Breed, but she also holds the genetics of a coyote. As a little girl, she was revered and protected for her gifts, especially her gift of sight. Cassie made appearances here and there throughout the series as she grew up and began working closely with Jonas at the Bureau of Breed Affairs as the most knowledgeable person with respect to Breed Laws.
Also over the years, we’ve been teased with a male Breed who was never far but always in the shadows. He and Cassie developed a secret friendship of sorts, as for whatever reason Cassie grew to trust him and had called upon him to help her over the years. There was always a debt to be paid, however, and Cassie always went into it willingly and always paid up. This secret Breed was dangled before us for several books and though I had my suspicions on who he might be, my hopes were dashed when that Breed got his own book and mate in a previous release. When Cassie’s sister is mistaken for her and kidnapped, Cassie wastes no time in contacting this Breed for his help. His price this time is steep, however, as he asks for one night with Cassie. For her sister’s safety, however, she agrees.
If you’re a fan of this series, and you’ve stuck it out, you may have had suspicions on who Cassie’s secret Breed was, but I was shocked (and I have to admit, a little disappointed at the beginning) to learn that it was a character named Dog. Yeah, stupid name…but Dog is a Breed that has been around for a long time. He is a coyote Breed suspected of working with the GeneticsCouncill, who are of course the Breed’s worse enemy. But Dog has always played by his own rules as he skates the line between factions as a double agent. He’s done whatever he’s needed to do to keep himself and his people safe, all the while keeping to an agenda of his own. He’d known that Cassie was his mate due to an encounter many, many books back, but he waited six years to claim her.
Though highly anticipated, I kept my expectations low, because I have read every single book in this series and have experienced the ups and downs that tend to happen in a long running series. I have enjoyed the story arc a bit more since Jonas’s book and the return to Window Rock, New Mexico to revisit events from earlier books in the series, but Leigh uses some previously used strategies to cause conflict here, so part of the book is same old, same old.
Within this mating between Cassie and Dog, we learn so much more about both these characters. Cassie long believed what everyone else had believed where Dog was concerned, so the fact that he turned out to be her mate caused much distress and conflict. But the revelation of the mating is nothing compared to everything else that is revealed about not only Cassie but of Dog’s parentage. It was exciting to see everything that Cassie had always held back within herself, come rising to the surface to reveal her true nature. Like Jonas and Graeme, Cassie is a primal.
All in all, Dog being Cassie’s mate took me by surprise, but by the end of the book, I was okay with it. As far as ‘mating heat’ goes, I was pleased to see that while there is a fair amount of sex in this book, it didn’t overwhelm the story has it’s been known to do in previous books. I sense a shift in where this story is going, though I couldn’t guess quite where that is at this point. I love that it ends with Graeme and his conniving plans. Like Cassie, Graeme seems to just know things. He is incredibly smart and super sneaky in his ways.
I always said that I stayed with this series to get to Cassie’s book, but I really don’t think I’m ready to quit, just yet.
Lionheart by Thea Harrison
October 3, 2018
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “It was good to be free. Good to be home.”
As Lyonesse is slowly being destroyed, it’s ruler, King Oberon, sleeps deep within his palace, the victim of an assassination attempt. His only chance at a cure comes in the form of the top Elder Race surgeon, Dr. Katheryn Shaw. When she arrives, her presence awakens him though he is no longer the man he was before. His only means of survival caused his emotions to be stripped from him. Now Katheryn must find a way to not only cure his body but also his soul. Because Queen Isabeau is coming to finish what she started and unless Oberon can come to care about Lyonese and his people again, it will fall forever.
The 3rd story in Harrison’s Moonshadow trilogy gives us King Oberon’s story and the final conclusion to the war between the Fae Courts. Set in the same world as her Elder Races series, the focus here is on the Fae demesnes and the ongoing war. Easily read as a standalone, you do not have to read the Elder Races to enjoy though I do recommend starting with book one of this trilogy-Moonshadow. If you have been following the series, you will remember that Oberon had vanished and Lyonesse has been shut off from the world by the Light Queen’s Hound-Morgan le Fae. Those who managed to escape are seen in book one, rallying for help while book two deals with Morgan Le Fae and his battle to escape Isabeau’s control.
Fans of the Elder Races, especially Dragos, will definitely love King Oberon (King of the Daoine Sidhe) who exhibits the same sense of power, arrogance, and all-encompassing passion. As old as Dragos, Oberon was celebrating the Winter Solace when Morgan le Fae bespelled him. Oberon was forced to put himself into a coma to save his life and the lives of those around him. Unfortunately, when he went to sleep, his power went unchecked and the city became a frozen tomb. When he realizes his domain has been breached, he awakens with a fury, seeking to destroy that which has dared to disturb him.
Pieces of dried fruit lay sprinkled over the trampled crimson-and-gold bedspread like confetti, and there was the sharp, aromatic scent of cheese. Curious, he pawed at a small, overturned tub. As he flipped it over, one of his claws sank into soft butter.
He licked it off as he took in other details. Amid the rubble was a fur-lined cloak and a strange piece of clothing that looked like a formfitting blue coat, and another odd, lightweight sheet of something that looked like metal but was pliable and made of a foreign substance he had never seen before.
The interloper had planned a ravishment, and she had brought… snacks?
Dr. Kathyrn Shaw has been a mainstay throughout the Elder Races series. She has saved the day on multiple occasions and her assistance in Moonshadow opened the door to the fight that ends in here. One of the Wyn and trusted by the inner circle surrounding Dragos, she has the moxie and strength to hold her own against the bigger creatures who exist. Intelligent and witty, I found her calm demeanor, crisp mannerisms, and innovative ideas quite amusing as she pits herself against one of the most dangerous creatures in the demesnes.
Silkily, he asked, Cat got your tongue?
Very funny. Her grumpy mental voice sounded much better than her physical voice did. Okay, I apologize. I am so very sorry for what happened—
Come down here and face me properly, or are you too much of a coward to do so? He threw out the challenge carelessly. He had no real expectation she would comply. If they stood face-to-face and she was grounded from flight, he had no doubt he could easily destroy her.And she certainly didn’t seem to be motivated to continue the confrontation on the ground. Instead, she told him in a steady, crisp voice, Oberon, you’re going to die unless you consent to medical treatment.
That voice. That sounded exactly like the voice that had wound through his dreams, interrupting his nightmares of Isabeau. He snapped, I did not give you permission to address me by my name.
She retorted, I don’t really give a shit.
When Kathryn and Oberon come to an “understanding” the real work begins.
Harrison does an excellent job in here of not only expanding on the history and politics of the Fae courts without overburdening us with recaps and unnecessary information while slowly building a romance between two strong-willed people. Warriors who are honor bound to care for those around them. The enormity of their precarious situation is tempered by sharp wit and moments of compassion and sorrow. I love that Kathryn gives Oberon no quarter. She treats him like a patient and slaps him down when he gets a little too autocratic. She has served under Dragos for centuries…Oberon is a piece of cake.
“What other symptoms have you experienced since the attack?”
I remember having the emotions, but I no longer experience them. In fact, I only feel two things anymore: anger and lust.”
She stopped writing, suddenly inundated with the memory of yesterday’s encounter. The feeling of his mouth moving so urgently over hers as he speared her with his tongue. The delicious sense of weight as he shifted to lie on top of her, and the thick, heavy feeling of his erection pressing against her hip. For one shocking, mindless moment it had been glorious.
His voice sounded softly in her ear, deep and dark as the ocean and rough with the lion’s purr. “But I do feel anger and lust very deeply, Doctor.”
She had gotten so lost in her reverie she hadn’t noticed he had come around to her side of the desk, and she nearly leaped out of her skin. “For crying out loud, Oberon! Back up and give me some personal space!”
She listened to her own exclamation with deep dismay. That was supposed to have come out much more sharply than it had. Instead of sounding disapproving and offended, her voice had sounded as breathless as a gasp.
“Are you sure that’s what you really want?” Callused fingers traced the line of her jaw, down the side of her neck, and lightly pressed against the very spot where he had sucked so hungrily at her pulse. She remembered. Oh, she remembered it all too well. The shadow of his body fell over hers on the desk as he bent over her, and his lips brushed against the sensitive shell of her ear as he whispered, “Or wouldn’t you rather experiment with just how deep and hard my feelings can really go?”
Oberon had her rattled. He knew he did.
But suddenly she laughed, and the bright, carefree sound broke the sensual spell he had begun to weave over them both. “Did you really just say that to me? My lord, that line was bad.”
She wasn’t funny.
Though heavily driven, the strong narrative and steady bites of action and intrigue keep the storyline flowing at a brisk pace. Favorite characters from both series make appearances to this readers delight. I enjoy any interactions with Dragos and the New York demesne, especially when clues are given to what is coming new. We also meet back up with couples from books one and two. I was a little disappointed we did not see Queen Titania and Queen Tricks. As part of the fae demease, it was odd they weren’t a part of this trilogy. I especially loved the scenes with Robin aka Puck. Heartfelt, his journey has been a tough one and everything he went through to save his king was heart wrenching.
Your king is going to die unless something is done for him. Why didn’t you want to bring Annwyn and the troops with us?”
He stamped at the snow desultory. Other than tangling his mane and tail, the wind and the massive cold didn’t seem to affect him at all. “I wanted to judge you for myself while they weren’t around. If you were a threat, I would take care of you.” He looked at her sidelong to see how she took his words.
He might be old, unpredictable, and dangerous, but he had nothing on a cantankerous, bullheaded dragon. She said gently, “You were looking after your king.”
“He told me to guard his place and watch them. A long time ago, Isabeau took me and held me captive for years. I failed him once. I won’t fail him again.”
Lionheart leaves readers happy with it’s firm resolution to the main conflict yet just enough open to allow her back into this world again. As always, Harrison gives readers an adventure overflowing with action, suspense, humor, romance, and just enough tragedy to make the journey unforgettable.
Ocean Light by Nalini Singh The Trinity #2, Psy-Changeling #17 PNR Berkley
June 12, 2018
Favorite Quote: They might only have a fragment of an instant in time, but he’d make that fragment extraordinary.
Ocean Light is Bowen Knight’s story; the leader of the Human Alliance and one of the leaders in the Trinity Accord. Fans have been expecting his story, straddling the fence and withholding our forgiveness over his past deeds. Bowen had an experimental chip put in that blocks the Psy’s ability to manipulate human minds. However, now the chip is failing and he is living on borrowed time. An assassination attempt essentially kills him but his sister’s uncompromising love sends him deep into the ocean and into the hands of the secretive changeling group, BlackSea. They have the knowledge to potentially save him but certain members dislike humans and want him gone.
Kaia Luna is a member of Blacksea and works as a chef. Her dislike of humans stems from a traumatic event in her past. An event that has chained her to the deepest part of the ocean. Co-opted into helping with Bo’s care, she has no interest in humoring a man whose days are numbered. But the more time she spends with Bo, she discovers a man worth fighting for.
As Kaia and Bo grow closer, fighting for more time together, they discover a hidden tie between the Alliance and BlackSea. Betrayal exists on both sides and when Kaia is caught up in a net of deceit, Bo will do the unimaginable to save her.
Nalini Singh’s paranormal Psy/Changeling series is one of my top ten favorite fantasy series to date. I find myself re-reading the series, welcoming with arms wide open this alternative futuristic earth populated with shifters, humans, and the Psy as they struggle to co-exist. Each new story expands the world, bringing with it nonstop action and suspense that balances nicely with the lush romances and just the right amount of humor. Her brilliant reads remain intoxicating and engaging from the beginning to end as Singh effortlessly builds a relationship between two people not looking for love while engaging in exquisite wordplay and multiple plotlines that fit together like puzzles pieces; eventually letting readers see the big picture.
This series has undergone some changes after a long ongoing arc was settled… to an extent. Season One is now complete and Season Two aka The Trinity series picks up the ongoing storyline while introducing new characters, revisiting old favorites, and expanding on the world. The Trinity Accord offers all three races a chance at peace but there are those who want it all back the way it was and will do whatever it takes to destroy the Accord and all those in it.
Readers will love meeting Kaia and Bo and getting to know them. While Bo is a familiar face, we are used to seeing him only as the head of the Alliance. We have seen occasional glimpses of his flirty self but in here we get the full monty so to speak. Kaia fascinates Bo with her changeling personality and he turns his charm to Defcon 10 in his attempts to get to know her and eventually woo her. They are remarkably alike in their loyalty, compassion, fierce hearts, and willingness to do anything for those they love.
Singh does a fantastic job of blending the suspense of the story with the slow-burning romance and an in-depth look at a very secretive changeling group. I have been very curious about BlackSea since their introduction in Tangle of Need. It’s rare you see water changelings in stories that aren’t merfolk and I love how Singh incorporates all sea life into the BlackSea family. Her imagination is boundless. The storyline starts out slower than usual as Singh weaves her magic, taking her time with BlackSea and building their backstory and Kaia’s. Strongly character drive, the focus is on the romance while interjecting Bo’s medical issues with a subplot concerning the Alliance. It honestly doesn’t pick up till around the 60/65% mark. Singh’s clear and concise writing style leaves little confusion as the individual plotlines begin to merge and the endgame reveals itself. A well developed and personable supporting cast embraces our protagonists, adding to their story while creating their very own. I hope we see more of them in the future. The energetic ending keeps you on edge while a full-bodied epilogue leaves readers satisfied and secure in this couple’s future.
As always, Singh entertains till the very end. I’m looking forward to the 3rd book in Season Two and have my suspicions about who that couple may be. *crosses fingers*
Mating the Huntress by Talia Hibbert Released: October 1, 2018 Paranormal Novella Self Published
Reviewed by Mandi
This is a super quick novella, and I really wish it had been longer because I loved these two – but I’ll take what I can get.
Chastity’s family has been hunting werewolves for generations. It’s in her blood, but due to a prophecy spoken when she was born, her parents have made her sit on the sidelines for all of her family’s hunting fun. When a man repeatedly comes into the bakery where she works, she knows two things – one, he is a werewolf, and two, he is very attractive.
Luke is indeed a werewolf, and prefers three things:
Luke Anthony was a simple beast, curse of the moon aside. He asked for very little: creatures to devour, excellent Wi-Fi, and a complete lack of human company, to be specific.
Simple indeed! It takes a lot of concentration and study to pass as a “normal” human, and he tries very hard around Chastity. With one sniff, he knew she was his fated mate. It gave him his first erection, which is a constant in his life now. He is very attracted to her, and wants so badly for any type of interaction. Preferably, interaction that will eventually lead him to mating with her, but even just a simple conversation would thrill him. But he is nervous that he may scare her.
She was special, and shy, while he was an apex predator with a burning desire to sink his teeth into her arse. How was he supposed to convey all of that in a way that wouldn’t scare her shitless? He had no idea. Just the other day, he’d Googled How to ask a woman out without making her fear for her life—but the results hadn’t been particularly helpful.
She finally gives him the time of day, and she agrees to watch a Halloween movie at his house. She comes off as very shy and coy, and Luke tries very hard to not frighten her with his more carnal instincts. But Chasity knows he is a wolf, and wants to prove to her family that she can hunt. She wants to take him down!
But when things turn romantic, it’s not quite going to go Luke’s way. She ends up straddling him with harmful silver hidden on her thighs, and shoves a silver knife into her chest – Luke is so surprised that his quiet crush has skills!
He was admiring her calves and considering her excellent takedown technique when she demanded, “Is your dick still hard right now? Seriously?!”
Since the answer was quite obvious, he didn’t bother to confirm. Instead, asked, “Are you trying to kill me?”
She responded by stamping on his head.
As I said, I would have liked more time with these two – partly to explain the world and backstory more, and partly to allow Luke to retain his less than human interactions for longer – before he becomes too charming. A fun, quick read.
Hi everybody!! Tori here. Due to time constraints from a new job, Helyce was nice enough to let me slide into her space today to review two of my FAVORITE authors, Jennifer Estep and Molly Harper.
Venom in the Veins by Jennifer Estep Elemental Assassin, #17 Paranormal Romance June 12, 2018 Self Published
Gin Blanco, restauranteur and Ashland’s latest boss of its underworld, is shocked when Stuart Mosley, Finn’s boss and Gin’s friend, is assaulted and almost kidnapped. Between parties and date night with Owen, Gin’s investigation a new player in town who has a bone to pick with Gin. Vampire Alanna Eaton has come back to Ashland to buy back the family estate and pay Gin back for the murder of her mother, Amelia. A member of The Circle like her mother, Alanna has resources galore at her back and a reputation for a killer bite but so does Gin and when push comes to shove, Gin proves that the venom in her bite is deadly.
Jennifer Estep’s deadliest assassin is back and once again must use her skills to protect a friend in the 17th installment; Venom in the Veins. Set in the small town of Asheville, North Carolina, Gin aka The Spider, a former assassin for hire turned queen of the underworld, has experienced multiple changes since the beginning. A former loner who was an assassin by night and restaurant owner by day, Gin’s alter ego is now out in the open and she is surrounded by friends, family, and a lover. When her favorite banker is attacked, Gin must search her past to find answers. Solid world building and a well-established character base have left the bulk of entertainment to the plotlines, but I fear the time has come to Estep to wrap it up. The feeling of deja vu is strong as we follow a familiar path and watch Gin once again fight a new enemy for things she has done in the past. The push on the arc was welcomed and I like that Estep is still able to surprise me with the actions of a longtime antagonist. While I enjoy this series overall for its female-centric arc, I’m ready for the final battle between Gin and the Circle.
Ain’t She A Peach by Molly Harper Southern Eclectic, #2
June 12, 2018
Frankie McCready, the town coroner, and local embalmer is not pleased her one-night stand has relocated to Lake Sackett and has been hired on as the local interim sheriff. With her teen nemesis causing mayhem and destruction with his pranks, his parents threatening her job, and her parents’ overly smothering love, Frankie has enough to deal with without being shadowed by an overzealous cop trying to prove a point.
Eric Lindon left the Atlanta PD for Lake Sackett due to an “incident” involving a Segway and zombies (don’t ask). He was not impressed by Frankie’s houdini act after they spent the night together and is even less impressed by her now. The town’s laid-back attitude leaves a lot to be desired but Eric finds it growing on him…if he could just get Frankie off his mind.
I love Molly Harper’s writing. Zany humor, eclectic characters, outrageous storylines, and pure southern charm light up the pages as Harper revisits her fictional town of Lake Sackett, GA, picking up the storyline from Peachy Keen. As always, the family is the base on which love and laughter rest. This quick read doesn’t disappoint with its hilarious narrative and smooth flowing storyline. Harper hits the nail on the head as she talks on the idiosyncrasies of small-towns, multi-generational families living and working together, and the power of love. The slow-burning romance works best with this couple as Frankie and Eric must work through their own issues before they can truly accept and act on their attraction. Of course, no Molly Harper book is complete without the usual cast of supporting characters whose own crazy antics will leave you in tears as they offer advice, shoulders to cry on, escape plans, and dogs to adopt. I adored Frankie’s parents, especially her father. Understandable in their overly protective ways, I liked how Frankie gently cut the apron strings. The ending was a tad far-fetched, but it all worked out perfectly in the end.
I thoroughly enjoyed Frankie and Eric’s story and can’t wait to read book three. I am crossing my fingers it will be Duffy’s story.