Reading Fanatic Reviews


The Blood King by Amber K. Bryant

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The Blood King*

Not Quite What I Thought But Still Good

I’m not quite sure what I was expecting after reading the book description, but what I got wasn’t quite it. I don’t think the author was wholly honest in the blurb about the actual nature of some of the characters in this book. Rather, she danced around what they were, perhaps hoping that the reader would draw their own conclusion or might not connect the dots. Despite feeling like I was somewhat tricked into choosing a book that I would not normally have chosen, the authors’ writing style is actually quite good. She has a command of the use of descriptive words; they truly do create a word picture without feeling as if they are overly descriptive, making the writing feel ponderous. She has crafted a complex paranormal world here. The heroine is strong in a take-no-prisoners way. She is definitely is the boss and in control. There were several scenes in this book that were really evocative, allowing you to feel as if you were actually immersed in the world and experiencing it. It is rare when authors can do this, so I quite enjoyed that aspect.

Magic and Mystery Box Set by Lily Webb

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Magic and Mystery Box Set*

The First Books of the Series

I was a latecomer to the Magic and Mystery series, so I was delighted to be able to pick up the first three books in the series as a single box set. Zoe is a witch who has only just coming to realize the extent of her powers, and I liked watching her evolution. It is sure a bumpy ride for her. I enjoyed seeing, too, more of the backstory and interactions between her and the other characters. These books are relatively light and are easy reads. The author does a good job setting up a paranormal world, make it seem completely logical that magic is an everyday happenstance because, in the world of the books, it is. So the author has managed to make the paranormal aspect seem integral and not fantastical, which I don’t think is always an easy thing to do. Well balanced, nice set of books.

Premonition by Gisele Vezelay

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Jane Austen Fanfiction with a Supernatural Twist

I am a big fan of Jane Austen fanfiction. In fact, when I was in nursing school a few years ago, I rewarded myself with a Kindle at Christmas, for which Amazon rewarded me with one month’s access to Kindle Unlimited. For whatever reason, I filled my subscription with Jane Austen fanfiction and read through books as often as I could (which isn’t easy when you are in nursing school!). So I have read many, many Jane Austen fan fiction books, from the absolute worst to some pretty amazing ones. And I am always on the lookout for a new book or a new author to satisfy that craving for Miss Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.

This author is new to me, but I am delighted that I have found her. This book lived up to my expectations of what good Jane Austen fanfiction should be. It is just a little off from canon, which I always like. The language is elevated; I could hear some of the actors from the 1995 BBC production as well as the 2005 movie in my head as I was reading the dialogue. I always consider that a good sign. I liked the paranormal aspect of this one. One of my absolute favorite pieces of Jane Austen fanfiction is actually “Haunting Mr. Darcy,” by Karalynne Mackrory, which is unfortunately only available in paperback at this time. While this book by Ms. Vézelay is not humorous like that one, the paranormal aspect is still enjoyable. Mr. Darcy is a bit more forward in this one, and I found that refreshing. Imagine him asking Elizabeth for the first two dances at the Netherfield Ball right after the Bennet sisters meet Mr. Wickham in town; loved it! The book was refreshingly free from issues with grammar, punctuation, and usage. I am a professional copyeditor, so these types of errors can really distract me and keep me from enjoying a story. I’m so glad this wasn’t an issue here.

I do have two quibbles with the author. One is that she refers to Lady Catherine as Lady de Burgh. She is the daughter of an earl, so her correct address would be Lady Catherine, I believe. Second, I would not call this novel Gothic. In fact in the blurb, she called it “sweet Gothic.” If you understand the term, no Gothic novel could be called sweet. For me, when I think of gothic fiction, I think of Wuthering Heights, The Fall of the House of Usher, and Frankenstein—and perhaps even Northanger Abbey by Miss Austen herself. This book is supernatural or paranormal, but I wouldn’t call it gothic.

But this minor categorization issue did not detract from the story, of course. I highly recommend it.

The Dragon’s Witch by Lola Gabriel

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The Dragon's Witch*

Intense Shifter Romance

What an intriguing plot and a sexy yet sometimes sad read! Unusual, but in a good way. The hero and heroine seem to be at cross purposes in their ultimate goals in life. He is an immortal dragon shifter who wants to die because he feels burdened by immortality. She, on the other hand, is actually dying unless she finds an ancient artifact. She’s a particular kind of witch that has historically had issues with the type of dragon shifter he is. They have the ability to kill each other; yes, the “immortal” dragon can be killed by a Gaia witch. But they meet as humans, not knowing of the other’s background, and the sparks really do fly. They do have a palpable chemistry. They’re actually a great couple together. But there are lies and secrets, most often coming from a good place of wanting to protect the other. It is a surprisingly intense love story for a shifter paranormal romance, and as you are reading along, you really do wonder how they will get to their HEA.

Lethal Waters by J. P. McLean

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Lethal Waters*

More Danger for Em

When you review a book that is a part have a long series, there’s always the danger, it feels like, of telling too much. So, I’m going to try to avoid that. Em’s adventure continues. One thing I can definitely say is that the author does create a very different plot for each book of this series. In this one, Em has to make a hard choice that definitely puts her in danger. She interacts with some new people as well as some old ones. The author does do a good job showing this parallel paranormal world that exists within the greater nonparanormal society.

Come Halloween by Robbie Cox

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Come Halloween*

Come Halloween, Indeed

I have read a few books by Robbie Cox before, and I like the way that he is able to make characters seem so real, even paranormal ones. This book is relatively short, but the author is able to build anticipation, making the reader wonder what the heroine is going to do about the two men who take up so much of her mental space, her dead husband and a good friend who has helped keep her from despair while she has been in mourning. Surprisingly, it is not as simple a choice as it might seem. You can’t help but feel for poor Derek, the living man who has a ghost for competition. The author has created a world that feels much like our own but with a paranormal twist. The author did warn about strong language and sexual situations. I don’t mind the sexual situations, but I don’t think that the use of strong language was necessarily handled well. If profanity and crude language are going to be used, I think it should be done to illuminate character, not just to use “bad” words. After all, a writer’s medium is words, and there are so many more than the blue ones! That said, this is still a delightful and intriguing read, and it might be fun to re-read it around Halloween.

The Key to Her Past by Blanche Dabney

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The Key to Her Past*

Surprising Supernatural Element… and Not in a Good Way!

I have read two other books in this series, and I wasn’t particularly wild about them, but I do like to give authors several chances before I give up on them completely. Sometimes a book or two just isn’t right for me, but other ones will be. The issues I didn’t like in the other books were present here and were actually worse. While historical time travel books do have an element of the unreal to them, because time travel isn’t currently possible, they are usually still grounded in the reality of both in contemporary times and historical times. But this author has chosen to take time travel romance in a completely different direction that wasn’t even really hinted at in the blurb. In this book, there is a wholly supernatural element that underpins the entire story, and I found it to be shocking and bizarre—and not in a good way. When I realized it this is where the author was going, I had a hard time keeping with the book because it was just too bizarre. Honestly, the author should have warned about this in the blurb or had it accurately reflected in the book’s cover. The cover looks like it could be for any Highland romance, not for a supernatural one.

Like the previous book in the series, too, this one didn’t have the hero and heroine meet until after the 30% mark of the book. Even if the book didn’t have the bizarreness mentioned in the previous paragraph, this late meeting of the couple makes it so that there is not any time to truly develop the romance. This is especially important in the case of this book because it explores the enemies-to-lovers trope.

I will admit to being somewhat surprised at how well this series is rated by other readers. The stories are not well plotted, the characters are without much dimension, extraneous information that adds nothing to the story takes up valuable time, and the books are too short for the romance plot to be explored as it ought to be. I cannot recommend this book or the series.

Star-Crossed with Scarlett by Shelley Munro

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Star-Crossed with Scarlett*

Main Characters Lacked

I have read at least one other book by this author, and I enjoyed that one, so I thought I would give this book a go. I liked the dramatic beginning and appreciated that it wasn’t weighted down with too much backstory. However, the two main characters never really became “real” for me, and I didn’t sense chemistry between them (most likely because of that fact). As so much of the book relied on their evolving relationship, that made the entire book fall flat for me.

A Touch of Necromancy by Laura Greenwood

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A Touch of Necromancy*

A Good Sampling of Writer’s Work

I have read a variety of this author’s books, and I thought I would check out this particular collection because I was intrigued by the idea that the overall theme binding this collection was necromancy. It is such an offbeat topic for paranormal romance that I was wondering how the author would keep the stories distinct. Knowing what I know of her other writing, I should not have been worried. Each story is unique, with different setups, mysteries, and action. Even the romance aspect was different because some of the books are reverse harem—with different dynamics between the harems—while others were not. The only book I wasn’t wild about was Fae Blessed, which is one I had to read before as a part of the Blessed series; that series as a whole just didn’t jibe with me. I enjoyed reading more about the Paranormal Council universe, though. All in all, this was an enjoyable collection of books. If you haven’t read this author before, this is a good sampling of her writing.

Mummy Issues by Paula Lester

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Mummy Issues*

Not Easy to Keep Mum

I have read every book in this series about Zoey and the zany characters at the paranormal retirement community where she works. Something in Zoey’s past is coming back to haunt her, literally and figuratively! I absolutely love the way this series mixes Zoey’s life with those of her residents. The community members add such color. In this book, Zoey is facing parental issues. Her crew with her retirement community has her back, but oh, my! I love that the magical aspect of these books is written with such humor. If you’ve read and enjoyed the other books in this series, you will thoroughly enjoy this latest addition.



The asterisks (*) by the book title denote the source of the book copy.

One star = I received it as a free advance/review copy or directly from the author.

Two stars = I borrowed it through my Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Three stars = I purchased the book outright (sometimes for free).

The Amazon book links on this site are affiliate links, which means I make a tiny percentage if you choose to buy a book linked from this site.

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