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Soul Magic by Poppy Dennison

Soul MagicSoul Magic by Poppy Dennison
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Novel:  63,750 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

Sequel to Body Magic
Triad: Book Three

Blood runs soul-deep. Cormac hasn’t been the same since the night the High Moon Pack was attacked. With his magic weakened, he’s consumed by a bloodlust he hasn’t felt since he first became a vampire. His need to replenish his power makes him a danger to his last remaining family member, and his hunger makes him careless. And that’s just the beginning of his troubles. Feeding from pack beta Liam Benson was supposed to slake his appetite, not leave him craving more.

Simon Osborne and Gray Townsend are trying to fight a being history says shouldn’t exist—one with all three types of magic. The pack must use all of their resources to combat the mysterious triad, even turning to the shady Council of Mages for help. While Cormac struggles to reconcile his past failures with his current desires, Simon must attempt the impossible: an alliance between mind, body, and soul.

Excerpt

This is the third book of the Triad series.  After reading the last two books I was anticipating this book and the conclusion to the story arc for Gray and Simon.  I thought that we would get more of the relationship of Cormac and Liam but this was sadly lacking.  The story was geared more towards ending the story arc.

The writing was well done.  I was left wondering through most of the story what would happen next.  I love the characters as well.  They are so vivid and interesting.   I will admit I still didn’t see Liam very clearly.  He was a fairly shallow character.  I would have loved more development of the story between Liam and Cormac.  Still the part of the story that involved concluding the story arc was fascinating to me.

I enjoyed the story even though it wasn’t what I was expecting from it.  I look forward to the next book in the series and where the author will take it next since this story arc is complete.

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Pavarus by Jennifer Wright

PavarusPavarus by Jennifer Wright
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Totally Bound Publishing
Novel:  66,092 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  2
 

Thrown into another world where dangerous creatures live and rule, will Wesley stay and find love with a vampire, or will the terrors of an unknown realm have him running home?

On a camping trip in Louisiana, Wesley finds himself sucked down a hidden portal and thrown into another realm where he meets Remus, a warrior vampire. With the help of Remus, Wesley embarks on an adventure to find his way home, back to a world not filled with vampires and dragons and magic folk. Along his journey, the handsome vampire finds his way into Wesley’s heart. But will his love for Remus overcome his fears of the creatures that reign in this world?

Remus has never wanted a man before, but finds himself drawn to Wesley despite his denying efforts. He’s happy with his life as the commander of the vampires, and has had no interest in finding a mate. But after Wesley is kidnapped, Remus discovers his feelings for the man are stronger than he thought. Is he strong enough, though, to honour Wesley’s wish to return home, and let go of the man he loves?

Excerpt

This was a fun read.  There is angst in the story but it really adds to the overall drama of the story.  The characters were entertaining and the storyline interesting.

Wes is a “city boy” and has no use for being in nature.  He is a bit whiney.  Remus was a good character but about halfway through his whole attitude changes.  This is a big issue.  Remus’s character change was a little too abrupt and overwhelming.  I thought between the two men there were times it was a little too much with the drama.  They don’t seem to talk but they are in love?  This makes no sense.

The author creates a very interesting world with unique characters.  The plot is interesting but the author made the whole premise of the story be undermined at the end.  It leaves me as a reader wondering what the heck was up with the whole of the story.  It wasn’t the best of plot techniques.  I will admit the rest of the story is interesting and makes me want to read more.

Overall the story was entertaining but not a well written story.  I think I will still read the next one because the other characters’ stories are interesting to me.  I would like to see where the author will take them with the hope that the writing improves in future books.

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The Case of the Cupid Curse by Amber Kell and R.J. Scott

The Case of the Cupid CurseThe Case of the Cupid Curse by Amber Kell and R.J. Scott
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Totally Bound Publishing
Short Story:  31, 703 Words
Purchase at Barnes and Noble
Roses:  3
 

The very thought of paranormals is enough to drive Private Investigator Sam Enderson mad, but add in his attraction to a vampire, and his world is turned upside down.

Sam Enderson is a human detective who finds himself working for paranormal creatures, despite his resolve to stick with humans only.

Bob is a vampire and turns up on Sam’s doorstep to rent a room. Sparks fly, and Sam is attracted to the vampire in spite of himself.

Soon after Sam is cursed by a witch, two cases land on his desk. Dealing with werewolves, annoying ghosts and a grumpy gargoyle is bad enough. But somehow, in amongst all of this chaos, he has to find a lost fae and a missing shifter child.

Excerpt

This was a cute, short story.  I think my biggest issue with it was the amount of stuff that just gets rammed into the book.  There wasn’t enough time to deal with it all.  Still I think the authors did a good job of bringing the first book to a satisfactory conclusion.

Sam starts up his own detective agency when his uncle dies and leaves him a building.  Sam use to sell books and thinks it will be no problem starting up a detective agency and being successful.  (Naïve much!)  He is determined not to work with paranormals but Sam just seems to attract them.  He gets a witch mad at him right away, his first tenant is a vampire fixated on him, and, poor Sam seems to have a real gargoyle and ghost in the building with him.  He then proceeds to have his first two clients be paranormal.  Sam is having a rough time.

I love the humor that is in the story.  The characters are lively and fun.  Sam is just a little TSTL.  Bob is soooo lovestruck, poor schmuck!  The two are a good balance.  Sam isn’t so lovestruck and Bob is going to keep naïve little Sam from getting killed or kidnapped.

The writing was good.  Not excellent but it made for good entertainment.  The scenes are well described and the sequence of events makes logical (I know logic in paranormal?) sense.  The characters really made the book though and if you have read any of these two authors’ works you know that is true of most of their writing.  They are fun and engaging.

I do wish the story had been a bit longer and a little less shallow.  I could have used a bit more background.  Also Sam, being a detective, never bothers to check on any of these people he comes into contact with.  I would think renting out an apartment in a building you live in, checking on the tenant would be a top priority.

Overall it was a fun read.  Not real emotional and with a bit of an HEA:)

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Cinnamon by Derekica Snake

CinnamonCinnamon by Derekica Snake
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  SL Publishing Group
Novel:  488 pages
Purchase at Amazon
Roses:  Bouquet Roses
 

Xavier Von Drachenfeld is being hailed as the first Lord Emperor in four hundred years, and the Blood Nation is starting to break into factions. The redheaded yearling has more on his plate than he can handle: a stalker, perplexing medical issues, and work, all while still trying to learn what it takes to be a Blue Blood vampire.

However, a powerful Ancient, Hades, has brought his attention on the young assassin. When Hades speaks, the nation listens, whether it be affairs of state, matters of finance, or orders of assassination. What Hades wants, Hades gets, and Hades wants the redhead. Can a minor Ancient such as Claudius defy that authority? Can the broken lover stand up to protect his heart of hearts? Does the Brotherhood of Von Drachenfeld need outside protection?

Then the Lycan Nation begins to move…

Well, this is a Derekica Snake book.  If you have read anything by her you know it is graphic and violent.  Her books aren’t for anyone who has issues with rape and violence.  Plenty of bad/good guys and it isn’t a black and white world.  The hero isn’t always safe from harm and the love interest doesn’t always protect his love, sometimes he is the cause of the pain.

I’m going to try and stay away from the plot because I am afraid if I start I will spill the whole thing!  If you have read the last two of the books then you know in book two there become issues of keeping all the personalities straight.   I did think the author did a good job in this book straightening that all out and now you can see the different person each man becomes.  (I will add here that I really believe that Xavier/Sex/Azreal is more of a realistic split than Marcus/Armor.  They say multiple personalities are rarely ever just two.)  Each of the personalities becomes his own separate person.  Though we didn’t really see much in the split of Marcus/Armor we also see it more clearly now.  The whole of the plot has still not been revealed in this book.  What is revealed though is quite skillfully crafted.  I am continually surprised by the plot’s twists and turns.  The author is an excellent writer and well schooled in her craft.

The details given in scenes make each stand out and live.  You feel the heat, pain, and sorrow, you see and smell the pain, blood, fear, and frustration each scene you read.  People may not care for what the contents of this author’s stories are but they must admit she is wonderful at writing and creating a mood with it.  The characters come alive.  You hate them, you “awww” with them, and you laugh with them.  They are vivid even if you hate them, which I think when you read you will agree Hades is a HATED character.

I believe the author left lots up in the air and many things hinted at.  You wonder if there will be more personalities emerging, will Hades be killed or redeem himself, and WHAT is the deal with the Lycans!  I hate the wait personally but Snake makes it all worthwhile.

So, wrapping up…wonderful writing (maybe with some horrific to us elements), excellent character, plot twists you can’t see coming, and we are left hanging…so good, bad, in-between?  I have learned most of the time that Snake’s writing is love it or hate it…I loved it!  This is one author that knows dark writing at its best!

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Lycan Partnership by Ariel Tachna

Lycan PartnershipLycan Partnership by Ariel Tachna
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Novel:  80,476 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  4
 

A spin-off of the Partnership in Blood series. 

By the time the alpha of the Morvan werewolf pack approaches l’Institut Marcel Chavinier for help solving his people’s fertility problems, pack numbers have dwindled and the remaining members are desperate. Though the wizards at l’Institut have no experience with werewolves, their lore, or their brand of magic, Raymond agrees to help.

At l’ANS headquarters, Raymond finds Marc Gourlin, a young wizard fascinated with werewolves. Marc agrees to visit the werewolves’ home to study their rituals for the source of the problem. But when he arrives, he finds himself distracted by Adenet Silaire, the pack shaman. The attraction between them is powerful, but though Marc suspects he might be Adenet’s mate, Adenet rebuffs him. Marc is a man, and Adenet’s sense of responsibility will not let him take a male mate when the pack so desperately needs children.

Meanwhile, Jean and Raymond discover the Aveu de Sang allows a vampire’s Avoué to calm his inner beast. For Jean and Orlando, this is wonderful news—but it only convinces Thierry how much Sebastian is missing out on because they cannot form an Aveu de Sang. Determined to give his partner everything he can, Thierry sets out to recreate the bond denied them by Sebastien’s past.

Excerpt

I enjoyed this book quite a bit.  I actually recognized Tristian when he came into the book; I read his story looooong ago.  The writing was well done.  I think this author really does do a good job with her writing.  The world is complex yet simple to understand and the descriptions are vivid enough to bring you into the story.  The characters are real enough that they are enjoyable.  They aren’t perfect but they are realistic.

The storyline is fairly simple and really the only thing that I can gripe much about is how the story is split up with all the different couples and not concentrated on the main story line.  Still if you have enjoyed the original series that this is “spun” off of then this is a good update on what is happening with them and how they are doing in their lives.

The story is fairly simple for the main thread.  Adenet is the shaman of the wolf pack that comes to Raymond for help.  Raymond sends Marc to help with the pack’s fertility problem since Marc knows the most about werewolf lore that Raymond can find quickly.  Adenet thinks he must participate in the ritual and help the pack by providing pups.  It is obvious to the reader what the problem is but that does little to detract from the story other than a mild frustration.  I must admit to not really liking Adenet.  Even at the end I find myself still upset with the guy.  He is just so dumb about the whole thing.  I don’t understand why he is like that when even his own Alpha is pushing him towards Marc.  Marc I felt was a little too “easy”.  I thought he would have fought more when Adenet was such an idiot.  I think that detracted a little for me.  Most people would have been more upset than Marc and not apologized for running away.  *sigh*  I just want those in the story happy at the end but they have to REALLY realize what they have and pay for mistakes so they get how precious it is.

Overall I must say this is a very good book and well worth a readers time, even if, like me, you haven’t finished the original series that this came from.

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The Obscurati by Wynn Wagner

The ObscuratiThe Obscurati by Wynn Wagner
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Novel:  66,760 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  2
 

Vamp Camp Book Two

A hundred years after his turning, Mårten Larsson and his lover Oberon have taken the compassion and caring they found in Vamp Camp and created an empire that brings balance to vampire society around the world. Once two giddy young vamps, now they’re the most formidable vampire hit squad in history: The Obscurati. As the “Unseen Death,” the duo enforces vampire law. When a vampire breaks the rules anywhere in the world, or when the local vampire leaders can’t control a situation, that’s when The Obscurati show up. Mårten and Oberon turbo-charge the action with the latest in anti-vamp firepower and more, all the while pushing their steamy relationship to the next level.

Excerpt

This is the second book in the Vamp Camp series.  Marten and Oberon continue their life together.  They are moving up in the vampire world.  They are asked and agree to join a special team of vampires that take out the “problem” vamps in the world.  The group is super secret; no one is to even know the name of the group, so Marten calls it the Obscurati, “The Hidden Ones.”

This seems to really have little to no plot.  It seems like a bunch of scenes from Marten’s life.  It just seems like…almost a journal with a few flashbacks.  I think the writing is good but I don’t see a storyline or plot to it.  Descriptions are very detailed.  I love hearing how Marten describes his surroundings and life.

Now I didn’t really love this book.  The language got a little repetitious and childish, considering the “age” of the storyteller.  I thought there would be more progression in the people than there was.  I really didn’t see much growth.  There was SOME but not like one would expect.

This book had the humor of the previous, which is just so fun.  The no plot really doesn’t allow any connect to the story because it just doesn’t seem to really go anywhere.  I really can’t figure out the connection for Marten to Oberon.  I know the relationship is open but Oberon doesn’t seem to spend much time actually WITH Marten.  He is having sex, tinkering in his lab, or they are off on a mission.  Considering they only have daylight hours, there just doesn’t seem like much time for that intimate connection.  But they do understand each other really well and care a great deal for each other.  I can see that they are there for each other in the bad.

Really the lack of plot along with some of the silly phrasing of words made this not all that an enjoyable read for me.  I was willing with the last to believe that it was a background and set up book so the lack of plot wasn’t as big an issue, but this just continues that trait and is making the series boring.  I am willing to read another book in the series in the hopes that the next will give me more.

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Deadly Shades of Gold by L.E. Harner and T.A. Webb

Deadly Shades of GoldDeadly Shades of Gold by L.E. Harner and T.A. Webb
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Hot Corner Press
Novella:  40,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords
Roses:  5
 

“Wolf or vamp? Decide. It has to be now.”

Those were the last words Sam Garrett ever heard—as a human. Now on the para side of normal, the NOPD slammed the proverbial door on his career.

Travis Boudreaux knows exactly how his former partner feels—but when some doors close, the golden window of opportunity opens. Crimes against supernaturals require a new and different approach, and once the Feds show up, the Odd Squad isn’t the only law enforcement game in town.

After a revenge-seeking vampire creates deadly havoc, the new agent-in-charge is on a recruiting mission—and he’s more than ready to fight fire with fire. What do you get when you mix old friends, new enemies, and a license to kill?

Pure dynamite.

Warning: This is an erotic urban fantasy. In this series the vampires don’t sparkle, werewolves kill, and the men sometimes have sex. With each other.

Excerpt

This is the second book in the series.  Sam has been changed into a werewolf after an attack by a vampire that almost killed him.  Travis is involved in this book but it is geared towards Sam.  The writing is awesome.  There is plenty of action.  There are mob bosses and turf wars.  The characters are all male and there is plenty of sex going around.

I enjoyed this book.  It was full of twists and turns and ends with the promise of more but not a cliffhanger.  Sam and Travis have something going on that still is waiting to be uncovered.  I love that the whole of the book isn’t black and white.  The authors give you the real world that is full of good and bad in most people.  They don’t shy away from the brutality of werewolves and vampires or from bad things happening to good people.

The relationships in the book are very complex and sometimes simple.  They really lend to the depth of the story.  I will enjoy seeing where it is all headed.

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Cowboys & Vampires by Hank Edwards

Cowboys & Vampires Venom Valley Book OneCowboys & Vampires by Hank Edwards
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Wilde City Press
Novella:  49,000 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  4
 

In the frontier town of Belkin’s Pass, as a vampire quietly feeds on the local saloon girls and their customers, a tragedy teaches resident Josh Stanton he has the ability to raise the dead. Knowing he is now a wanted man, Josh flees into the arid plains of Venom Valley. Pursued by Dex, the town deputy and Josh’s best friend, the two realize their friendship is truly something deeper, and Dex has to decide if he’s a man of the law, or a man in love. The vampire, drawn by Josh’s power, circles ever closer, gathering his forces against them.

Excerpt

Josh is an orphan.  No one ever knew of his father and his mother disappeared one night when he was 5.  Josh was raised by the town’s school teacher.  He loved Agnes like she was his own mother.  To his horror one night he comes upon her dead and feels a familiar heat in his blood.  Agnes eventually arises and attacks him.  He shoots her.  He has faced having to do this earlier when a neighbor did the same thing.  Now Josh must run because who would believe him.

Dex is Josh’s best friend and has been secretly in love with Josh for a long time.  Dex is a deputy.  When a woman comes to town and reports that Josh has shot and killed Agnes Dex is torn between duty and love.

This is an action packed horror.  The romance is pretty minimal.  The writing is well done, maybe a little heavy on poetic descriptions but to some degree that adds to the chill of the read.  I enjoyed the characters but to be honest it is the story itself that had more of a draw on me.  I just couldn’t get into the characters.  They weren’t cohesive enough for me.  I couldn’t really feel if Josh is a gentle man or a rough guy, big and tough or smaller and more delicate.  I get that compared to Dex Josh is a smaller man but it really doesn’t describe him.  Even more was the fact that the actual character of the two men was impossible to grasp.  You jump so fast into the story that you are left to catch up on the characters themselves.

Now the story was interesting.  I must give the author lots of props for his writing.  You get pulled in right away to the mystery and horror that is going on in the town of Belkin’s Pass.  It seemed like only a select few can even see or acknowledge what is happening.  Now for the things that struck me as strange.  Why did the vampire wait so long?  From the story he was around for quite a while but suddenly just when Josh is having his horror show the Vampire starts raising havoc.  I am hoping that with this being a series this may be answered later in later books.  The second things were the sex scenes.  They happened fast and seemed a bit anticlimactic after all the woe the two men went through with their attraction to each other.  I wouldn’t think it would be that easy.  I also would have thought the sex would have been more painful.  I hear all the time, “Spit is not enough!” and the first time is painful so why did that not happen?  It kinda through me a bit and made me pause at the thoughts.  These were where I had the hardest times with the story.

I really think this series will be an enjoyable one for me.  We have raising the dead, they are kind of like zombies, and vampires, the bad kind, to make this a very action pack time.  The author does leave the story on a cliffhanger as a warning.  I know some don’t care for that but it should be expected with this kind of read.  I await in anticipation for what will happen with Josh next.

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Tasting Cherry Blossoms by Marie Medina

Tasting Cherry BlossomsTasting Cherry Blossoms by Marie Medina
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Evernight Publishing
Short Story:  21,910 Words
Purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords
Roses:  3
 

Simon has never feared the vampires who rule Valladora, yet he feels stunned and apprehensive when he meets Lord Ettore. The handsome vampire almost immediately declares that Simon is his mate, and though he knows he should feel honored, Simon can’t help resisting something that sounds impossible.

Ettore is overjoyed at finally finding his mate, even if the beautiful young man proves reluctant. Ettore is patient, enjoying the slow seduction despite his desire for Simon to give himself completely and stop holding back. When Simon disappears without a trace, Ettore doesn’t know if he should blame his political enemies or Simon’s reluctance to accept his love.

No matter what, Ettore is going to find Simon and bring him home. He knows their love is meant to be and will not rest until Simon is back in his arms, willingly offering both his blood and his heart.

Be Warned: m/m sex

Excerpt

Simon is a human servant in a world run by vampires.  The vampires don’t abuse people.  There is definitely a caste to the culture.  It reminds me of Victorian England with the nobles being the vampires.  Ettore is a royal vampire.  He is over 200 years old and has yet to find his mate.  Vampires know their mate through their blood, scent or taste.  Ettore and Simon met in Simon’s master’s garden, among the cherry trees.  Simon cut himself and Ettore came along.  Ettore immediately sweeps away Simon and changes his life.

This is a cute and fluffy read.  There is nothing spectacular about it.  It is rather too sweet.  It is a simple read that is great for a comfort read or before bedtime.  The writing is good.  The world building isn’t tremendous but decent.  The characters are fairly typical of this kind of writing.  Ettore is slightly dominate and Simon is very submissive.  They aren’t very deep and you really don’t learn much about their background which would have made the story a little more rounded.  Really isn’t much more to say about the story.  It is as it appears.

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The Holy Trinity by Jane Wallace-Knight

The Holy TrinityThe Holy Trinity by Jane Wallace-Knight
Reviewer:  Tj
Publisher:  Siren-Bookstrand, Inc.
Novella:  42,734 Words
Purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Roses:  4
 

Sam Reed was born different. It’s a fact he has always known and tried to hide. Abandoned as a baby, he has always felt out of place, never really knowing where he came from or why he can do the things he can.

Jackson Harcourt has long feared the day he will meet his mate. Banished from his birth pack, Jackson soon found himself in charge of a pack of outcasts and misfits, all looking for somewhere to belong. Fifty years ago, Jackson met and fell in love with a seven-hundred-year-old vampire named Alek, and together they have not only built themselves a pack, but a family.

When fate throws Sam, Jackson’s true mate, into Jackson’s path, Alek’s ancient heart feels as though it will finally break into too many pieces to ever again be whole. As Alek prepares for the worst though, he begins to wonder if perhaps fate doesn’t, truly, move in mysterious ways.

Except

Sam is a lonely guy.  His past has been difficult and he doesn’t really know where he comes from.  His mother died in childbirth and there was no father mentioned.  On New Year’s Eve on his way home he runs into Jackson, a naked Jackson, and promptly faints.  When he awakens he finds two men in the room with him.  Jackson and his lover Alek.  He quickly finds out they aren’t just men.  Jackson is an alpha werewolf and Alek is a 700 year plus vampire.  On top of that Jackson says Sam is his mate.  Sam refuses to come between the two men and they all proceed onto a three way relationship.

This is a new author to me.  I really enjoyed the story.  I thought it well written with a good plot and characters.  Sam is a really cute character that has a very soft heart especially for those that have been abused.  Jackson is a very protective man that will do all he can for those he loves.  Alek is all about his men.  Sam is innocent, Jackson earthy, and Alek is all cool perfection.

I really feel that for a first book in a series it was very good.  It ends fairly cleanly but leaves the door open for much more.  It also allows for the reader to want more of the characters and story.  I definitely look forward to the next book.

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