Time to Get Paranormal: Bitten By Her (Regent’s Park Pack book 5) by Annabelle Jacobs

 

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40679800-bitten-by-her?from_search=true

Blurb

Brought together by fate, torn apart by family.

Rachel Tregarrak, Penwith pack beta and daughter of the alpha, has always called the rugged Cornish coast her home. With its beautiful landscapes, bracing sea air, and vast spaces to run, she can’t imagine living anywhere else.

After years of living with her mother in her grandfather’s pack, Sara Gallen returns to Penzance to be with her alpha father and her brothers. She wants to build their relationships, get to know the rest of her family better than occasional visits allow.

When their paths cross on the full moon, the attraction is immediate and instinctive. But Sara’s father refuses to allow such a union and forbids any further contact. Sara finds solace with her grandmother in her alpha council residence, and Rachel is sent to a London pack to keep her out of trouble. Both women feel the desperate ache of an uncompleted bond, but unless they find a way to be together, it’ll fade to nothing and their connection will be lost.

Approx 43000 words

Review

This FF novella is a great addition to Annabelle Jacobs’s much-loved paranormal series!

There are a lot of shapeshifter romances out there, but Annabelle Jacobs’s Regent’s Park Pack series really stands out. She has done a tremendous job at the worldbuilding for this series, creating an original and unique shifter universe with a complex judicial system where shifters and humans live together in precarious harmony.

Much like in the real world, there are still those in this fictional world that hold a narrow-minded & bigoted view on women’s rights and value.
Sara and Rachel find that out the hard way, when Sara’s father, and alpha, pulls out all the stops to prevent them from being together. Not letting little things like the potential for a mating bond, or respect for his adult daughter’s wishes and happiness hold him back.
As a consequence, there’s a constant sense of urgency running through the story, because Sara and Rachel can’t complete their bond and so there’s always that worry that their connection might start to fade.

I love how self-sacrificing and responsible both Sara and Rachel are, putting the safety and well-being of others first. They long for each other so badly, and hurt so much because of their forced separation, yet they never give in to their own desire to mate. Instead they wait to take that final step towards their own personal happiness until it is safe to do so, when all risks to their packs have finally been dealt with.
Rachel and Sara are very sweet and sexy together. They make a lovely couple and I hope to see more of them in books to come.

It was great to see some of the other pack members again as well and reconnect with old favorites.
I especially enjoyed catching up with Nathan and watching him grow so much. I hope we’ll get to see him as a beta soon, leading his own unit.
Sara’s grandmother, Celia (Alpha Cornell), is another amazing secondary character, strong, fair-minded and … creative with rules. I loved that she teamed up with Cam to try their hand at a bit of matchmaking!

Number of stars out of 5: 4,5

 

Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Holidays: If the Fates Allow – Anthology

release day review

Interlude Press Presents
http://interludepress.com/post/165994259764/now-available-for-pre-order-if-the-fates-allow

Blurb

During the holidays, anything is possible—a second chance, a promised future, an unexpected romance, a rekindled love, or a healed heart. Authors Killian B. Brewer, Lynn Charles, Erin Finnegan, Pene Henson, and Lilah Suzanne share their stories about the magic of the season.

*

Gracious Living Magazine Says It Has to Be a Live Tree
By Killian B. Brewer
Determined to make his first Christmas with his new boyfriend magazine-perfect, Marcus seeks the advice of lovable busy bodies, the Do-Nothings Club. When he learns that his boyfriend, Hank, may have ordered a ring, Marcus’ attempts to transform his home into a winter wonderland get out of hand.

Review

This is a quaint look at expectations and the definition of “real” and “happy”. Very sweet.

Shelved
By Lynn Charles
When library clerk Karina Ness meets a new patron, lonely business owner, Wesley Lloyd, she puts her own love life on hold and begins a holiday matchmaking mission to connect Wes with her uncle Tony.

Review

Cute and sweet story about finding a partner for her uncle.

Last Call at the Casa Blanca Bar & Grille
By Erin Finnegan
As the one-year anniversary of his lover’s death rolls around on Christmas, Jack Volarde finds himself at their old haunt—a bar called the Casa Blanca, where a new bartender helps him open up about loss, and see brightness in a future that had grown dim.

Review
Sweet and sentimental, a story about moving on from the loss of a loved one.

True North
By Pene Henson
Shay Allen returns to her hometown in Montana for the holidays with her best friend Devon with the intent to return home to L.A. by New Year’s Eve. Instead, the weather traps them in the small town, but the there’s a bright spot: her old crush Milla is still in town.

Review

Interesting look at a woman who aspires to be in the WNBA and has to deal with changing priorities – life, love and basketball.

Halfway Home
By Lilah Suzanne
Avery Puckett has begun to wonder if her life has become joyless. One night, fate intervenes in the form of a scraggly dog shivering and alone in a parking lot. Avery takes him to a nearby shelter called Halfway Home where she meets bright and beautiful Grace, who is determined to save the world one stray at a time.

Review

This was hard to get into as it was written in the first person present tense. The dog was very cute though!

Overall 3 of 5 stars

Christmas seems to be a time for sappiness and melancholy and that’s what you get in spades with this collection. None of these is particularly joyful but they all end with at least a spark of hope. “Gracious Living…” and “True North” were my favorites as they ended with the most happy endings and had some nice character development and felt a bit more complete.

If you’re in the mood for some Christmas sentimentality and aren’t afraid of a bit of melancholy – this is for you.

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

The Love Song of Sawyer Bell (Tour Dates #1) by Avon Gale

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/the-love-song-of-sawyer-bell

Blurb

Victoria “Vix” Vincent has only two weeks to find a replacement fiddle player for her band’s summer tour. When classically trained violinist Sawyer Bell shows up for an audition, Vix is thrilled. Sawyer is talented, gorgeous, funny, and excited about playing indie rock instead of Beethoven. Their friendship soon blossoms into romance, even though Vix tries to remember that Sawyer’s presence is only temporary.

Sawyer’s parents think she’s spending the summer months touring Europe with a chamber ensemble. But Sawyer is in dire need of a break from the competitiveness of Juilliard, and desperately wants to rediscover her love of music. Going on tour with her secret high school crush is just an added bonus. Especially when Vix kisses her one night after a show, and they discover that the stage isn’t the only place they have chemistry.

But the tour won’t last forever, and as the summer winds down, Sawyer has to make a tough decision about her future—and what it means to follow her heart.

Review

I was reluctant to read this, I’ll admit. I’ve moved away from M/F because I despise the way women are portrayed in most of those novels, as either subservient or slutty. However, I love Avon’s style and her humor and since I know she can handle the subject of bi-sexuality well, I wanted to see what she came up with. (Plus I’m a sucker for a rock band romance!)

First, let me tell you, Avon is hysterical, whether she’s writing about boys or girls! She does a great job of letting the reader be in both Sawyer’s as well as Vix’s head and really knowing where they’re coming from, without feeling like you’re popping around in space.

I loved the way that bi-sexuality – as an “issue” – is explored in this book. The unconscious (or on purpose) prejudices and how it influences a relationship. The merch girl with all the books about gender equality and non-binary nature of gender … I can totally picture her and I loved that tool used as a way to bring up some of these sensitive subjects.

I was worried about the sex. I admit it. I wish there were words that described women that hadn’t been villainized to the point that reading them takes you out of the story. Or that the medical terms were sexier. I’m sure it’s just a matter of taking these words back and making them as sexy as we want them to be…. I’ll bet the merch girl has a book on that subject, too… In any case, Avon chooses the “c” word and I’ll admit I didn’t like it. Sawyer wasn’t too sure about it either, but over time it came to mean something more to her and no longer felt like an insult. I think the sex scenes in this book were some of the hottest and funniest I’ve ever read! The girls are so real with each other but in ways that were still very, very hot. (I’m making rocket noises right now….)

As far as the rest of the book goes – well – it’s funny and sometimes sad and all about how you have to make decisions for the right reasons for you and nobody else. (I give Sawyer’s parents a giant hug because – WOW – that is impressive!)

I thoroughly enjoyed this and cannot wait for Jax’s story!

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Opposites Audiobook by TM Smith Narrated by Greg Boudreaux

audiobookreview

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Blurb

In the year 2081, our planet has survived global warming on an apocalyptic scale. When the dust settled and the water receded, Dr. Anthony Smith, along with the few survivors of GWI, started society anew. Having come to the conclusion that injudicious breeding played a huge role in the destruction of Earth as we knew it in the 21st century, he worked closely with other survivors to isolate the Dionysus gene: the gene has the ability to manipulate human DNA to ensure that all male children be born gay, and all female children be born lesbians.

A new society was born.

In the year 2300 Dr. Smith’s descendants are ushering in the 24th century, having maintained control of the government that still rules society. Twins, Aiya and Aiyan, are preparing to meet their matches and take control of House Gaeland, the current ruling House. But not everything is as it seems.

Love is love, it knows no gender and doesn’t conform to restrictions or boundaries. Aiyan has found his soul mate in Kaden, the prince of House Devi, whom he will eventually marry. But when the person Aiya falls in love with tests the boundaries put in place after GWI, all hell breaks loose. And in the midst of one secret unraveling, another will emerge. There is a growing anomaly that threatens to destroy over 200 years of progression. This anomaly is known as Opposites

 

Review

I have a (perhaps) unique perspective on this in that I listened to the novellas before the original novel. This helped me in that there are a LOT of characters and a LOT of world building going on – especially in the beginning. I can’t say I always kept track of who was who – I’m a far more visual person than auditory so my mind would wander a bit – but having the wonderful Greg Boudreaux narrating means that each character was unique and easily identifiable.

I found the concept of this story captivating and the romance(s) both really sweet and super sexy!

Usually I shy away from anything remotely “dystopian” as I tend to find them terribly pessimistic and dour, but this was almost like an entire other world and far less “doom and gloom” than the typical.

If you’re looking for a somewhat complicated, but rewarding and unique look at the future – and you really like some steam in your romances – this is the story (series) for you.

I think that listening to this is an amazing experience because Greg is such a tremendous performer. He really adds to the overall enjoyment by giving depth and emotion to the characters and making the story really pop up and feel multi-dimensional.

4 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Author for Honest Review

 

 

Roller Girl (Lake Lovelace Book 3) by Vanessa North

release day review

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/roller-girl-lake-lovelace-novel

29490331Blurb

 

Recently divorced Tina Durham is trying to be self-sufficient, but her personal-training career is floundering, her closest friends are swept up in new relationships, and her washing machine has just flooded her kitchen. It’s enough to make a girl cry.

Instead, she calls a plumbing service, and Joanne “Joe Mama” Delario comes to the rescue. Joe is sweet, funny, and good at fixing things. She also sees something special in Tina and invites her to try out for the roller derby team she coaches.

Derby offers Tina an outlet for her frustrations, a chance to excel, and the female friendships she’s never had before. And as Tina starts to thrive at derby, the tension between her and Joe cranks up. Despite their player/coach relationship, they give in to their mutual attraction. Sex in secret is hot, but Tina can’t help but want more.

With work still on the rocks and her relationship in the closet, Tina is forced to reevaluate her life. Can she be content with a secret lover? Or with being dependent on someone else again? It’s time for Tina to tackle her fears, both on and off the track.

Review

We met Tina in book one, she is one of the wake boarders the guys grew up with and competed against on the circuit. In recent years she underwent sex-re-assignment surgery and got a divorce. She’s re-building her life both socially and professionally. She’s not sure she’s ready to date, but she knows she’s ready to find something that excites her again and she misses competition.

When her washer overflows she calls in a plumber and is grateful that “Joe” is short for Joanna not Joseph. They have an instant spark and when Joe offers her a date, Tina readily accepts.

It is with a bit of disappointment that she finds out the date was mostly to ask her to joint Roller Derby. Though she’s psyched to be involved in something competitive again, especially something women centered, she’s really attracted to Joe and accepts (grudgingly) that Joe doesn’t want to get involved with a team member.

So… despite their attraction, they agree to be friends rather than lovers and Joe begins to introduce Tina to the world of Roller Derby.

Tina is hooked! This is all she wanted and more! It’s cahllenging, exciting, full of friendship and fun. The attraction to Joe simmers and eventually they can’t fight it. But now Tina is a “secret” girlfriend and she doesn’t think that’s much better.

Eventually Joe has to decide between Tina or her “rules” and Tina must decide if Joe was a rebound or the real thing.

**

One of the down sides of being an amazing writer and having produced books that got great reviews is that every book is compared not only to other books but to the writer’s own previous works. In some cases that can work for you – in others, against.

If I were to compare this only to other books (not to Vanessa’s own) I’d absolutely give it a 5 out of 5 because it’s truly fantastic. It touches on unique themes. Uses (of all things!) Roller Derby to showcase the ability to be open and diverse and as a way to empower women of all types. The author is able to bring in the previous MCs and show them from a new perspective but still give us readers tingles at seeing our boys so in love. She tastefully and without being overly didactic explains a bit about sex reassignment in a way that was informative without being clinical.

BUT… I’ve loved her other stories so I hold them up for comparison as well and there is one part of this story that didn’t quite compare – in the series or elsewhere – and that is the romance. Yes – Joe is awesome and the friendship is real and the hot smexy times were scorching. But – the relationship building felt rushed, the ending even more rushed, and I didn’t connect with them as a couple so much as I felt like they could BE a couple. Most of this felt like Tina’s book and only a little felt like it was Tina and Joe’s book.

So… from the standpoint of writing perfection – which is what I’ve seen from Vanessa North – this one little niggle drops it a tiny bit for me in terms of romance. As for all the rest – I’d give it a total seal of approval and then some!

4.5 of 5 stars