Category: Paranormal Romance


Alright guys, here’s the guest post I promised you all yesterday. Here’s Krista Holle on her latest book, The Wind Whisperer, enjoy!”

We can all relate to contemporary fiction and this can be either good or bad. We all know what it’s like to ride a roller coaster, struggle through an algebra exam, or eat a greasy hamburger from McDonalds. While reading contemporary fiction, we understand the modern lingo and the reasons behind people’s behavior. To some people a contemporary setting can be “comfort food”, but for others the day to day life can be a bit mundane. I personally have always been more attracted to reading a historical setting.
Life a person doesn’t usually experience is more of an adventure to me. I would love to safely experience life on the Titanic or break free from the tower of London. I’ve yet to receive training from a Renaissance painter or swing from a vine in Africa. What I wouldn’t give to swim with the selkies in the blue waters off Scotland or experience life as a 13 year-old Bali bride. Historical fiction writers sweep you away to expected places in time!
While living on land once owned by Pocahontas, I was inspired by the natives that once roamed the forests around my home. In The Wind Whisperer, fifteen-year-old Anaii is unlike the other girls from her village. She alone can hear the constant whisperings of the wind spirits and can “see” when the enemy tribe is getting ready to attack. Because of this, Anaii is scorned by the other women and is a protected commodity to her father the chief. But getting out from her father’s nose might not be easy, especially after Anaii falls in love with an enemy warrior.
In The Wind Whisperer, the reader will experience the crowded life of a bark longhouse, and taste the syrupy stew that’s been simmering over the fire for days. They will feel the damp moss between their toes and experience a good old-fashioned “striping”—a punishment they will not soon forget. The reader may even fall in love (more than once) and have to make the excruciating decision between their soul-mate and their best friend. It’s life in primitive Virginia and far away from most people’s comfort zone. We can all relate to contemporary fiction, but as for me, I say bring the history on.

I’m working on getting my backlog of review copies reviewed and posted so the schedule may be a little wonkier than usual from now until a bit after finals. Things probably won’t get back to what passes for normal here until I’ve got a job for the summer and have gotten my computer checked out for why it’s running slow.

Ana Cordona has been left to defend the remainder of her pack since all the males were killed when someone poisoned their well.  She’s had to fight off the advances of her neighbor, Sean Taggart, another Alpha who wants both her and her land for his own.  When an old flame shows up offering protection for her and her pack it’s enough to accept his conditions and become his mate.

I started reading Katie Reus’ Alpha Instinct expecting a somewhat trashy romance novel with a tough female lead and a thoughtful, maybe a bit sorrowful male lead.  What I got instead was a trashy romance novel with a “strong” female lead and a bull headed male lead who was too wrapped up in being the Alpha and doing what was “right” for Ana to consider how she’d feel or react to his decisions.  The reader is told that Ana has been leading the remainder of her pack fairly well since her father, the previous Alpha, died.  But then Connor Armstrong shows up out of nowhere to claim his woman, his woman who he left for no apparent reason over fifty years ago, and suddenly Ana’s not only not the Alpha of her own pack anymore but she’s also relegated to being a painfully minor character while Connor and his brother go off to hunt down any and all threats.  While the boys are away, Ana stays mostly at home taking care of her sisters and being neurotic about Connor’s actions since he left all those years ago.  She also can’t do anything apparently because he’s the Alpha, this includes sitting down and figuring out what needs to be done to protect all that land that she knows better than he does and has been protecting herself for months.

There was some stuff with the shifters themselves that might have been interesting were it explained better or introduced slower.  There are Alphas, like Connor and some of his men, who are both alphas and warriors and are the one who apparently do all the actual leading.  Then there are alphas, like Ana, who are dominant to betas but aren’t warriors so they can’t lead properly because of something.  It needs to be expanded on a lot before it makes much sense.  Ana can’t complain about Taggart to the werewolves leading body because if she does it means that they’ll send her a man to take over her pack for her, not because she isn’t an Alpha mind but because she’s female, so that’s another thing that needs explaining.  Why are the human with attached animal self werewolves bound by the behaviors of wild animals by their government?

I’m not liking this world of Reus’, its logic doesn’t make all that much sense for me and its characters aren’t terribly likable.  Male wolves here apparently recognize their “destined” mates on sight and that aspect of it isn’t done well enough to keep me from having a knee jerk ick reaction to it.  The male characters take action, and the female characters just are for the most part.  I would read more about the only female in Connor’s pack, Erin, but only if she wasn’t being paired off with some dude as her main role.  I give Alpha Instinct a two out of five.  The writing was pretty average over all, I just couldn’t enjoy it because of the characters.

I want it noted now that I am no longer allowed to say I’ll have a review up in “the next couple of days” unless I’ve already got it written and ready to post.  It’s been a crazy couple of weeks and I’ve spent a lot of my non-class time half asleep.  Working on changing that, aren’t I always, but it’s slow going.  But I have a review for you guys.

Claire Edwards’ life is locked in a boring stream of day to day living.  Her teaching job isn’t terrible but it’s terribly unfulfilling.  Her love life is likewise entirely bland.  She’s also haunted by strange dreams about spaceships and has to hide her amazing ability to teleport anywhere instantly.  Then she meets Darl James who claims not only to be an alien but also her life mate and complement.  She can’t deny the soul deep attraction she feels for him.  Their species is marked for extermination by an evil empire though; can their new bond survive the battles to come?

Jessica Inclán’s Intimate Beings sounded like a light weight sci-fi romance novel from the blurb, and that’s what I was looking for when I asked to review it.  It’s a bit more than that though, yes the entire book is based around Claire and Darl getting together but the “boy loses girl” section of the book would have made an awesome book on its own.  These two aren’t just pining after each other while they’re apart; they’re trying to help save their entire race from the very beings that destroyed their parents’ generation.  Claire is connecting with a people she’s just found out she’s a part of and finding family she never dreamed she had.  It’s kind of action-y, which was great.

I’m going to admit that as a generality I don’t like destined love as the focus romance of a book.  It jolts me out of my reader immersion that this person who just happens to be perfect for the main character comes out of nowhere, tells the main character that they’re meant to be, and everything is sunshine and hot sex.  Intimate Beings gets around this for the most part.  No, I didn’t like the destined aspect of Darl and Claire getting together but at least they could stand on their own as characters.  Neither fell totally apart when away from the other.  I was a bit on the fence about some of the side characters, but they got good development for the most part and contributed to the story.  There were also a few parts that really dragged on a bit longer than it felt like they should have, these were few and mostly forgivable but did take away some from my reading.

Over all, Intimate Beings was enjoyable and I would go back and read the first book in the trilogy.  I could have used a little less of the destined love aspect, but it plays into the series and was generally down played after the initial introductions.  I’m giving Intimate Beings a four out of five.

So, today is the official release date of J.N. Duncan’s new book The Vengeful Dead.  This is awesome.  What’s even more awesome is that one of you guys is going to win a signed copy of both The Vengeful Dead and the first book in the series, Deadworld.

So, what do you guys have to do to enter?

Be an e-mail follower and leave a comment about your favorite urban fantasy or paranormal romance series.

For an extra entry follow me on Twitter @Tymp3st

The contest will run from today until next Tuesday the 11th at midnight and I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday.

Edit:  The giveaway was meant to be for the books separately rather than together, I got that mixed up while setting this up and gave you guys bad information. There are more details in the guest post. Best of luck everyone!

I’m really excited for this one because I get to be one of the early reviewers for it and because I really enjoyed the first book in the series.  I’m even excited enough to get this one posted on time, so wow.  On a less literary note, I’m also probably not going to be posting any more regarding the DC reboot for a bit, this is just a delay until September when I’ll actually get some of the rebooted comics.  On the the review!

Agent Jackie Rutledge is still haunted by the death of her partner.   She’s falling apart with no anchor and a forced vacation.  In comes a vengeance driven serial killer from the wrong side of Deadworld and powers that she doesn’t understand, the side effects of her previous trip into the land of the dead.  Jackie’s going to have to pull it together long enough to stop the furious ghost of a grieving mother and prevent herself from becoming suspect number one.

The Vengeful Dead by J.N. Duncan continues the story from Deadworld almost from its end.  Jack is still stuck dealing with the emotional upheaval of having failed her partner and being dragged into Deadworld.  She and Nick are still uneasy around each other, though he seems much more able to move on that she does.  They have to rely on each other to find Rosa and convince her to stop, and convincing her to stop could easily kill them both and destroy all they care about.  It’s also one of the most entertaining urban fantasy novels I’ve read in a long time with elements of a murder mystery police thriller and the best parts of a good romance novel.  It’s quickly becoming one of a handful of series that keep me interested in urban fantasy and make me want more.  In fact, the only low point I can think of is that the antagonist was painfully one note for most of the book, and I’m fairly sure that she was written that way on purpose.

It’s the character growth here that makes the book excellent Jack is still damaged, still angry and confused, and still incapable of standing on her own.  She’s stubborn beyond belief though and hits rock bottom quickly thanks to her new powers and the stress of literally chasing ghosts.  Nick is still prone to melancholy and worrying about Jack being afraid of him, but he grows enough of a spine to decide to live his unlife and try for the relationship.  Shelby seems to be growing more and more into Jackie’s trickster mentor, pissing Jackie off enough to make her tear down her own walls and grow as a character.  I’m a little disappointed with Laurel’s use in the book, she’s the only one who doesn’t seem to grow much and remains for the most part just Jackie’s worried friend who wants Jack to heal enough to function on her own.  That said I also expect that she’ll get more character development as the series continues and that makes me happy.

I’m OK with waiting for the next Deadworld novel only because I only have to wait until next April and because I get to be an early reviewer for this one.  The series is good enough and The Vengeful Dead is enough better than Deadworld that I don’t particularly want to wait, but I can. Duncan is now an immediate add to my “to read” list.  Where does that leave my review of The Vengeful Dead?  It leaves it at a four and a half out of five because I still can’t get Rosa out of my head as just a horribly driven monster.

So, editing on 8/31/2016, I stopped doing half stars in my reviews pretty quickly since most places that host reviews require an even number out of five. So, for the sake of the new “Rating” category, this is counted as a five star book.

 

Head ache tonight, took a nap after dinner and woke up past midnight.  Posting review anyway.  Enjoy!

Ellen Connor’s Nightfall is one of those books that I looked forward to because I wanted to see how one of the authors I really like’s style works with that of another author.  I’d never read anything by Carrie Lofty before this, read the book entirely because of Ann Aguirre’s involvement.   I enjoyed it a good deal in some parts, in others I wanted to scream at the main characters to sit down and talk instead of posturing and grousing at each other.  This is the third or so time I’ve started writing this review.  Each previous time I’ve tried to start with a plot summary without spoilers or ruining the ending.  Each time I’ve failed miserably and wound up rambling about Jenna and Mason’s unresolved sexual tension for three paragraphs.  It really wasn’t going anywhere, so I’m skipping the plot summary this week.

Both Jenna and Mason are damaged, though in different ways.  She came from a home where her father was seldom around and expected her mother to drop everything for him when he was there.  He was kid without a supportive family who fell in with, gasp, Jenna’s dad’s survival group and latched onto them.  Both of them crave something approaching normal while the world ends around them, but neither will admit that they need the other.  It got old pretty quickly, especially when Doctor Chris was introduced and Mason got territorial without saying anything about being attracted to Jenna.  The magical demon dogs were a cool idea as well as a great twist on werewolves.  The slow introduction of magic as something other than the demon dogs was interesting.  The minor characters were pretty awesome when they got to be in the scenes.  But never have I wanted so badly to whack the main characters.

I mentioned earlier that I had a tremendously difficult time trying to come up with a plot summary that wouldn’t spoil the ending.  I didn’t lie, even just going off of what the blurb referred to I would have to skip so much that it would seem stiff and confused.  Yes, Mason kidnaps Jenna to save her life and then more survivors show up.  Yes, Jenna and Mason have some kind of passionate bond between them and whatever magic is happening changes Jenna.  It’s more than that though.  Nightfall sets up the next two books, including what I’m pretty sure is the set up for the final in the trilogy.  It’s also a lot of navel gazing regarding why Jenna feels the need to defy Mason, why he’s drawn to her, and the nature of the new world.

So, how do I rate it?  I’m giving Nightfall a three out of five.  There was a bit much exposition for my taste and the explanations about what was going on got kind of repetitive,  but I’m also going to read the next two to see what happens next.