Reading Fanatic Reviews

Paranormal Romance

Violet Souls by Abbey MacMunn

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Violet Souls*

Violet-Eyed Aliens Among Us

How to classify this book… How about alien shifter romance thriller? Yes, this book has a lot going on. The heroine’s world is quickly rocked when she finds out that she is an alien. There is a bad guy after her because he craves power, and he needs her to get it. The heroin has a bonded mate, but she doesn’t presently know him or recognize him. But he knows and remembers her and seeks to protect her while helping her learn about their society and her powers. The book was a little awkwardly worded in places, but the author kept a book moving with lots of fast-paced action. I really liked Quinn and Lexie, the heroine’s little girl. Jane was a fun character, too. I hope we see more of all these characters as well as find out more about the home planet of Evox.

Prisoners of Scythia box set by Lisa Daniels

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Prisoners of Scythia box set*

Imprisoned Shifters and Their Mates

I have read several types of stories by Lisa Daniels, and I enjoy her writing style. She has a way of drawing you into a story and making you feel for the characters right away. There’s always some level of suspense as well as romance, of course. So when I saw this box set available at one of my favorite book review sites, I was quick to snap it up. I’m happy to say that Ms. Daniels has yet again written a delightful set of stories. She’s also managed to touch upon some deeper themes that we rarely see in shifter romance. To me, one of the biggest surprises is that it isn’t only the ones who are behind bars who are imprisoned in this story. Indeed, the title of the box set can apply to quite a few characters. The women as well are imprisoned in each their own way—one a servant, one a lowly bastard, and one a princess who is being held captive by her father until a particular event happens. Ms. Daniels is not heavy-handed with this theme of imprisonment—showing it through the characters’ lives, actions, and reactions—but it certainly got me thinking about the topic as I kept turning the pages. Other themes that seem to be a part of this include prejudice and nationalistic fear, as evidenced by what happened to the shifters. Each of these stories had such a lovely and heartfelt relationship at its core. Again, Ms. Daniels writes these kinds of relationships in such a compelling way. I root for the hero and heroine, not just for the romance, but for the external situations that they are in as well. The last book definitely had a twist and a surprise; I love that as a reader! Another well-done series by an author who knows how to deliver on character, plot, suspense, and romance.

Death on Line One by T. K. Barber

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Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Scribd, Thalia, Mondadori, Angus & Robertson, and Bol.de

Death on the Line*

Unique, Funny, Sizzling Paranormal Romance

My goodness, what a fun and original story! I enjoy paranormal romance, but this was like none that I have read. I feel like I barely know what to say about it because it is just such a unique read that has to be read to be fully appreciated. The book is told in the alternating viewpoints of the hero and heroine; he is Death, and she is one of his soul calls. He escorts souls to the afterlife when people die. The heroine is zany and quite amusing; the hero, as you might imagine, is a bit more serious. His “life” has been lonely and quite humdrum, and he is very intrigued by her. They actually do have chemistry that sizzles off the page. The story takes some surprising twists and turns. The book is very humorous in places. I enjoyed the way that the contemporary world and the world of Greek mythology interplayed in the story, and I am definitely looking forward to the next book of the series. I hope the author can surprise me with the next installment as well.

Her Warrior by Alice Wilde

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Her Warrior*

Saga Continues in China

This book continues where the previous one left off, and thank goodness after what happened at the end of that one! I found myself enjoying this book because I really like Li’s point of view. This book takes place in his world, as they seek an alliance with the Chinese. Because we’re so far on this series, I’m afraid to say too much, potentially giving spoilers if you haven’t read the previous books. This series does definitely need to be read in order to really understand the full arc, and one book does truly follow from the previous one. The relationships between the heroine and her shifters have gotten more complicated, and we’re down one guardian. The heroine continues to mature beyond that rather annoying teenager from the first book, I’m happy to say. If you have enjoyed the previous books in this series, you won’t want to miss this one.

Her Highlander by Alice Wild

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Her Highlander*

Better Than the First

I have some issues with the first book of this series, but I always give an author another try or two to see if he or she can still impress me. While I’m not fully there yet with this author, she has come up in my estimation. One of my pet peeves about the first novel of this series was that the heroine seemed more like a petulant teenager than a princess preparing to wed. In this book, she is gaining in maturity, but she still has naivete about the world. I enjoyed the slow-burn romantic aspect of this book and the rivalries between the guardians as they try to figure out all that their relationships should be. I enjoyed the Scottish flavor of this particular installment. The book did feel repetitive in parts; it could have used a good editor. All in all, I enjoyed this portion of the saga and am looking forward to the next.

Her Betrothal by Alice Wilde

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Her Betrothal*

Somewhat Tedious, with Immature Heroine

This book had the potential to be interesting, or at least I found that of the blurb had intriguing elements. But the heroine, who is the main voice of the story, comes across as a petulant teenager instead of a young woman on the cusp of marriage and perhaps co-ruling her kingdom. The book uses the first-person present point-of-view, but the author didn’t seem to have a mastery of how to use tenses in this viewpoint, so they were sometimes wrong, which was jarring when they occurred. In general, I am not a fan of the first-person present point-of-view for several reasons, including this one. I think that it is actually distancing because it is so unusual. I read so many books in the third-person past that the viewpoint doesn’t even make much of a blip on my radar unless the author gets confused with tenses or calls attention to it in another way. I think authors mistakenly believe that the first-person present gives a book a greater sense of immediacy, but for me, I have never felt that to be the case.

The book had other issues as well. It has some strange problems with grammar, punctuation, and usage; commas seemed particularly problematic. I felt like the book was slow to start and quite repetitive. Much could have been cut out or condensed, which made of made this story tighter and better. As I was reading along, I felt like I was just waiting for something to actually happen; I don’t like that feeling in a book.  I feel like this book could have used both a developmental editor and a copy editor/proofreader.

Highlander’s Caress by Joanne Wadsworth

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Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Scribd, 24 Symbols, Smashwords, Mondadori, and Angus & Robertson

Highlander's Caress*

Complex Tale, Good Romance

I have read several books in this series, and I quite enjoyed Duncan and Elle’s story. Much goes on in this book, but the author sets the scene well early on, which keeps it from becoming confusing. Duncan and Elle have chemistry that sizzles off the page. With their clans at war, things do not look good for them even though they have a fated, mated bond. I really enjoyed the unique solution to their problems that happened at the end of the book. If you read other books in the series, you know that there is no huge resolution to the bigger, overarching plot in each book–in fact, each book seems to add to the complexity of the threads that tie the stories together–but I think this is one of the better happy-for-now resolutions that I’ve seen in this series. I love these stories of the Fae and the Highlanders.

Fae Hunter: Semester 2 by Amelia Shaw

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Fae Hunter: Semester 2*

Blurb Slightly Misleading

The blurb of the book makes you think that the bulk of it will take place in the Fae realm, but after a brief visit there, we stay stuck in the human world at the Academy until around the 50% mark. I thought this book was unbalanced in its pacing and action. It felt slow in the beginning and through much of the middle, but then really sped up–and the end was at lightning speed. The book has a little more profanity than I am comfortable with. I thought some sensual scenes, as well as regular ones, had elements that were slightly cringe-worthy. The heroine learned a lot more about herself, the Fae realm, and the Academy, much of which will come as a surprise to the readers of the first book. Not everyone is who or what they seem. The end of the book is a bit shocking, with a nail-biting cliffhanger at the end… so if you’re not a fan of those, be warned. This book cannot be read as a standalone; you do have to understand what went on the previous book to fully grasp what happens in this one. If you like the first book, you will most likely enjoy this one. While this book did have shortcomings, I am curious to see the resolution to the cliffhanger as well as what happens in the heroine’s evolving relationships with Fae princes.

Lover Betrayed by J. P. McLean

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Lover Betrayed*

Fascinating, but Odd, Retelling of Book One of Series

I found this retelling of part of Secret Sky from Jackson’s perspective to be a sometimes intriguing one. I have read a few books like this, where in one book of a series or duet the author tells the story from one character’s perspective, and then in another book recounts the same from another characters viewpoint, showing true motivations for actions and other, more subtle shadings. If you read Secret Sky, you know that Jackson is not wholly what he seems when we view him through Em’s perspective; we certainly don’t know why he acts the way he does. We get much more of his story, including what happened in his life leading up to when his and Em’s lives crossed paths (which is about a third of this book) as well as what happened after he left. He is a complex character, but not necessarily a nice one or a decent guy. 

I found myself wanting to put this book down at times because I just didn’t like him and what he was doing. Like the other book, I sometimes felt that the pacing was off here. For long stretches, it didn’t feel like much was really happening–just a lot of talking–and then the pacing would pick up again. For it to be a truly good suspense, there needs to be a bit more evenness to the suspenseful actions or it is easy to become bored waiting for something to happen.

I’m feeling oddly ambivalent about this book, and I can’t quite figure out why. I still found the sensual scenes to be a bit cringe-worthy. I was intrigued by the first book, and I think the author has actually done a good job creating a world that is so similar to our own with just this one bizarre fantastical element to it. Take out the Fliers, and the first part of the book could just be about any ruthless businessman we see in so many fictional books. I did like seeing so many of the familiar scenes from Secret Sky from Jackson’s perspective. It really did give a completely different look at what happened in that story; it added richness and fullness, making a complete story.

Torn by Ditter Kellen

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Torn*

Fallen Angel Finds Love and Redemption

What a lovely story! The hero, Exodus–who prefers to be called X–is a fallen angel biding his time on Earth while he awaits judgment because of one rather unfortunate indiscretion. Judgment time is almost upon him when a seemingly fragile young woman literally falls into his arms. X is a decent and compassionate angel (despite his fallen status). I love how X could appear a little bit jaded, but Niki’s demeanor and ways could charm him in a way he never had been in his immortal life. Niki is definitely physically fragile because of her heart condition, but she has a tenacity and strength that is the core of her character. All of this is complicated by Delia, the demon who was at the heart of X’s indiscretion. This book looks at the choices that we make and the repercussions that those choices have. (By the way, the cover seems at odds with the X I came to know and love in the story. That isn’t how I picture him at all, and really, not how he is portrayed.) A beautifully written supernatural love story.

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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.

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

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