Review
Book Reviews, LGBTQA+, Paranormal/Science Fi/Fantasy Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Secrets and Seduction by SK Reign

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Secrets and Seduction; Bonds of Steele #1
(#1 within a series)

Publication Date: August 1, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Fantasy/Omegaverse/Reverse Harem Romance

Author: SK Reign

Review Rating: 4 Gold Stars4 stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:
Secrets and Seduction had all the potential for greatness, but fell into the category of just good. All the elements where there; reverse harem, great story concept, excellent secrets to uncover, but the moments when things could have been flushed out just a bit more or the steamy scenes involving more than two people only seemed to focus on two people-it left me wondering what happened to everyone else…well, deeper connections all the way around could have made a lasting impression and skyrocketed this book into greatness.

As for the overall story, I really did love the overall concept and the deep rooted secrets that each character held. That in itself made the story worth reading, I just wish I’d felt a deeper connection when reading it.

There was a lot of internal dialogue vs. actual dialogue among all of the characters. As a reader I want to experience the passionate and sometimes shouty moments right along with the characters and not sit in silent angst with them for a few hundred pages.

It was a nice beginning to the Steele sisters series, but there again, we were only given a very small taste of who they are, so there is truly no hint on who could be next or what’s in store for the next sister.

Synopsis:
As an omega, I was born with one purpose: to be bred by a pack.

The issue? My first heat hit early. Confused and afraid, I took a big risk to relieve the pain, but it broke all the rules and cost me a piece of myself.

Nobody wants a used omega, but if I don’t mate a pack, none of my sisters will be able to either.
So when a wealthy pack of strangers puts in an offer for me, my family is quick to send me packing, all the way to the land of the midnight sun. Alaska.

Archer, Miles, Noah, and Ben are everything that should make my heart flutter. They’re kind, attentive, and they worship me like a goddess.

My body is built for them, to crave their knots and give them offspring. They say they want to give me everything… but what if I have nothing left to give?

Get ready to meet the Steele sisters in the Bonds of Steele omegaverse series world. Each book is a standalone and can be read in any order. Secrets & Seduction features sweet, protective men, a shy, reluctant female lead, and smoldering-hot knotty times. Please read the author’s note for possible triggers.

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Book Reviews, Paranormal/Science Fi/Fantasy Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Unlikely Queen by T.L. Smith

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Unlikely Queen; Crystal Castle #1
(#1 within a series)

Publication Date: March 29, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Supernatural/Paranormal/Epic Romance

Author: T.L. Smith

Review Rating: 4 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:

I love all things supernatural and Unlikely Queen encompasses several items under that umbrella. Vampires, witches, werewolves, angels, demons, prophecies, etc…This book is an epic tale that covers a lot of creatures and history, but also barely scratches the surface at times on how it all came to be.

Talia and her sisters, Tatiana and Tanya are witches in this new world run by an evil queen, but why exactly she’s evil is sometimes unclear. While there is a prophecy that one witch will take out the ruling queen and basically make drastic changes, that witch was never exactly named, but once Talia begins showing her massive powers it’s assumed it’s her. Even Talia deep down knows it’s her, but it’s never really explained how she knows either.

To take out the current queen, Talia enlists the help of other creatures, which takes her on a LOTR type of adventure, walking all throughout the countryside and having mini-adventures. There’s a lot of good in this book, but there’s a lot left unsaid, which makes the plot a little cloudy, but perhaps those loose ends will be answered in the next book.

I loved all the interaction between various supernatural creatures, especially with the angels and demons. That mix with otherworldly creatures was enjoyable for the overall plot. As for the romance aspect, it’s very mild, which isn’t completely unexpected with an epic adventure, but it was even more tame than even I was expecting.

I have a lot of thoughts on this book and I while I finished it with even more questions, perhaps they will be answered in the next book.

Synopsis:
The prophecy foretold of the true queen…
In the new world, where the old world is long forgotten, an evil queen sits on the throne, and anyone who challenges her reign is a mortal enemy—I am that enemy just by breathing.
The queen always gets what she wants, and she wants me dead.
Then one day, my life is turned upside down by a prophecy naming me the one true queen. I was oblivious to the true roles of the two men in my life—the Angel of Light and the Angel of Death—as my existence hung in the balance. One man there to save me, the other to claim me should the queen succeed in her quest for my blood.
But every time she nearly succeeds in my demise, my dark angel swoops in, pulling me back to safety. Making the world stop. Pulling everything back in balance.
Tired of being hunted by the vampires, slaves to the queen, I decide to fight back. It’s the only way to survive. I’m going to tear down the wards one by one and free my allies—the witches and the wolves—and then I’m going to force the queen from the safety of her castle and claim what’s rightfully mine.
Her kingdom.
Her throne.
Her crown.

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Book Reviews, LGBTQA+, Paranormal/Science Fi/Fantasy Romance, Suspense/Intrigue Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Obtaining Hope by Elizabeth Knight

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Obtaining Hope; Hope Series #4 
(#4 within a series)

Publication Date: January 29, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Reverse Harem/Shifter/Paranormal Romance

Author: Elizabeth Knight

Review Rating: 4 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:

The dramatic conclusion to a RH, shifter series.

This was my first Elizabeth Knight book. I know….I started at the end of a series, but I easily caught up to the plot of what Viv and her mates were facing and felt the love she shared with all seven (YES, seven) of her men. That would be a lot of laundry to clean, but these men are werewolves and they bust out of their clothes when they shift, sooooo laundry problem solved.

In this final book of the Hope Series and there is a lot of suspense and action. Tracking down the enemy to finally achieving peace takes not only Viv and her seven mates, but the help of wolves throughout the country. This is the time that Viv’s Dama really comes shining through.

Is any of this story plausible? This is a paranormal story, so absolutely not, but there were scenes that certainly had me thinking, even with their paranormal abilities that this group would have needed more time in planning the big attacks that they did. That is truly my opinion and I’m sticking with it.

There are moments that could be sensitive for some readers, regarding motherhood and loss of life, but this is also a fantastical world so I feel Elizabeth kept that in mind when writing those bits.

This is a series that is best read in order, but I did jump in right at the end and enjoyed the final book to this werewolf world.

Synopsis:

The time has come to end this.

No longer will I hide away locked in my own sorrow. Instead, I will channel that pain into righteous fury. Once again I’m reconnected with my mates, and with new allies who have been dealt the same ruthless hand as me— finally have the army I need.

The call has been sent out for those who want their pound of flesh to come together.

My enemy isn’t going down without a fight. Every move we make, they follow it up with one of their own. What they don’t know is that with each attack, I gain the knowledge I need, that will aid me in taking them down. We know where they are hiding, and we know the cruel things they’re still doing to those they claim to protect. That just fuels my thirst for vengeance.

This battle will end in one of two ways—their death or ours—and I don’t plan on dying anytime soon.

Book 4 out of 4

This is a medium burn reverse harem where the leading character will not have to choose between her men. It is an 18+ book that has strong language, sexual situations, along with darker material such as torture, violence, and some matters pertaining to the fragility of life.

Part of a series, best read in order:

Hidden Hope (Hope, #1) Claiming Hope (Hope, #2) Defending Hope (Hope #3)

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Year of Reviews - 2021

Review – Tangled Up by Tia Louise

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Tangled Up; Bayside Heroes #4 
(A standalone within a series)

Publication Date: December 27, 2021

Genre/Tropes: Medical/Criminal/Second Chance Romance

Author: Tia Louise

Review Rating: 4 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:

I love Tia Louise books and I’ve been loving this Bayside series, but I admit, Tangled Up was harder to sink my teeth into than the other books in this amazing series.

While I love the premise of a second chance romance (since I’m a product of that in my own personal life, I honestly love this trope), this couple ran hot and cold and I wanted to shove their faces in what they didn’t want to admit so we could stay on the hot side of the story. There were a lot of great moments (don’t get me wrong) I just lost the spark in the in-between moments.

Beck and Carly were a teenage couple that ran into trouble back when they were in college. Beck went on to become a doctor and Carly is a criminal psychologist, both with amazing careers by the way, but neither have really moved on from their great loves (which happen to be each other). When they both are back in their hometown, for reasons, after seven years apart, it seems as if fate has brought them together to reconcile, but it takes a whole lot more than a little hot reconciliation to make up for what happened in the past.

Can these two make up for what they lost before they lose a chance at a future again?

A lot of this story takes place back in their hometown of Eden and there are a lot of new secondary characters that pop up in this small coastal town where Beck and Carly grew up that sound very interesting for future books. While this particular book didn’t hit home with me, I still adore Tia Louise and her writing and this interconnected series has been a huge win overall.

Synopsis:

He’s broody, he’s driven, and he’s coming back to claim what’s his.

“First, do no harm…”
It’s the start of my oath as a doctor, and breaking that oath is how I began my career.
Only I didn’t just do harm, I watched a man die right in front of me.
And not just any man—a man I hated.

I thought his death would bring me peace, but it haunts me to this day.
Every close call sparks memories of what I did to him, to me, to her.
I have to go back and face what I’ve done or end my career.

Seeing her hits me harder than the regret.
She’s still so beautiful with long, dark hair, bright amber eyes, luscious curves.
She still dominates my heart, my mind, my bed.
But she’s different now—stronger, bolder, unafraid.

We’re a mess, tangled up in a web I created.
But I’m determined to heal these wounds, to fix this break.
One thing is certain, I won’t say goodbye to her again.

(A STAND-ALONE “Bayside Heroes” romance. Small-town, second-chance doctor romance with a touch of suspense. No cheating. No cliffhanger.)

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Suspense/Intrigue Romance, Year of Reviews - 2021

Review – Link by Anna Brooks

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Link; Guarding Her #9 
(A standalone within a series)

Publication Date: December 9, 2021

Genre/Tropes: Small Town/Intrigue Romance

Author: Anna Brooks

Review Rating: 4 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:

A mashup of Warrenville and Guarding Her series characters, which made this book an exciting read with all the character catch ups.

Lincoln is the ultimate alpha; dominate and decision making for Oakley, which is good for a lot of things because Oakley’s ultimate way of handling things is running away from every decision.

When Oakley is attacked in her own home Lincoln is there to take care of her, plus make sure she can’t run from him or her problems this time around. He will protect her at all costs, but it could cost them their hearts.

Synopsis:

Book 9 in the Guarding Her series.

Even though she knew I’d always catch her, she still had a bad habit of running. As fun as our little game was, I was getting tired of the chase. Especially when one night of combustible passion proved we found the reward we both deserved.

Once I finally had her right where I wanted, her world was tragically torn apart, and she needed me now more than ever. Honored to be the man to pick up the pieces, I didn’t realize putting her back together would come with a price. Because once she was whole again, she wasn’t the same woman I had fallen in love with.

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Book Reviews, Dark Romance, Suspense/Intrigue Romance, Year of Reviews - 2021

Review – Bad Blood by Cora Kenborn and Catherine Wiltcher

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Bad Blood; Corrupt Gods #1 
(#1 within a duet)

Publication Date: May 12, 2021

Genre/Tropes: Duet/Mafia/Arranged Marriage/Dark Romance

Authors: Cora Kenborn and Catherine Wiltcher

Review Rating: 4 Gold StarsThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_1368-7.jpg

Review/Synopsis:

Review:

A slow burning, dark romance set in the mafia world. Two families pitted against one another, but also bound by a generational feud. Perhaps it’s time the youth finally sets turns the tide on the war.

The title of the book is perfect for the long standing feud between the Santiago and Carrera families. Bad Blood goes back long before Thalia Santiago and Santi Carrera ever met, but the feud is still in existence when Thalia walks into Santi’s casino.

Thalia is trying to help her sister, Ella, when she finds herself caught in Santi’s web and the only way out is through a forced marriage. Caught between two different forms of blackmail which led her to Santi’s casino in the first place, Thalia is just trying to survive all of the alpha males who live in her world. I like the spunk and sass in her attitude. She doesn’t take being a cartel princess lying down and it’s exactly the backbone she needs to survive as Santi’s new wife.

Santi Carrera never saw himself getting married, but when Thalia walked through his doors she presented him with the perfect opportunity to expand his business along the east coast. She was in deep and he had an offer she couldn’t turn down. There is nothing better for business than using his own personal pawn for an advantage and he will take everything from Thalia and her family while giving nothing in return.

While there were a lot of moving pieces to the mafia moments, there were some nice twists that I rather enjoyed. Thalia’s quick witted spirit and Santi’s outspoken sister were other ones. I think these bold women will be a driving force as this duet continues and I will certainly enjoy reading how they bring certain men to their knees when the time comes.

The overall romance was a slow burn, which didn’t grant a lot of tension to build between Thalia and Sant. The mounting tension was directed more between the warring families and Thalia’s personal issue, so the couple didn’t get to spend a lot of time together in the beginning. Just as the chemistry really started to mount the book ended on quite a cliffhanger…so I’m sure there will be a lot more coming in the second half of this duet.

Synopsis:

From Cora Kenborn and Catherine Wiltcher comes Corrupt Gods, a brand new arranged marriage mafia duet.

A Santiago is a lesson in ruin.
A Carrera bleeds for revenge.

Thalia Santiago is the daughter of my enemy.
A beautiful rebel with a single cause.
Impulsive.
Fearless.
And ripe for her father’s undoing.

I recognized her the moment she stepped into my casino.
I watched her start the fires that burned her pretty fingers, and then I poured gasoline on the flames.
Now she’s in my debt, and her dues are a shiny gold ring and a vow of deception.

I’ll bend her.
I’ll break her.
I’ll turn our mockery of a marriage into a battlefield.
And that river of bad blood that flows between our two families?
I’ll make it an ocean of hate.

*This is book 1 of a new dark romance duet, releasing May 12th. Tainted Blood, book 2, releases June 9th.
**Bad Blood is set in the Santiago and Carrera worlds, but it is not necessary to have read either trilogy beforehand.

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Year of Reviews - 2021

Review – My Beautiful Neighbor by Piper Rayne

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My Beautiful Neighbor; The Greene Family #1 
(A standalone within a series)

Publication Date: February 23, 2021

Genre/Tropes: Small Town/Contemporary Romance

Author: Piper Rayne

Review Rating: 4 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:

A small town romance that brings a big family all together when a new girl comes to town.

When Presley arrives in Alaska looking for answers after her birth mother’s death, she never expected to fall for a brewery owner in the process. The only problem with falling for Cade is he and his step-brother, Jed, want to buy the building that her mother left her.  When Presley decides to stay and start a new life and run a business out of the shop her mother left her, she sets her feelings aside and hopes her new business neighbors will be cordial, but the Greene family, especially Jed, doesn’t like to take no for an answer and that unfortunately now  makes Cade her nemesis.

This was a good start to a big family/small town romance. My Beautiful Neighbor introduces lots of characters within the Greene blended family. While I enjoyed the family dynamic and getting to know all of the Greene’s the chemistry between Presley and Cade just fell a little flat on this first installment. Their push and pull for dueling business partners felt forced on their romance, but everything else within the community was fun to set as a basis for getting to know the town and people.

Synopsis:

Who’s the mystery woman who just walked into my brewery?

I’m not the only one from my Alaskan small town asking themselves that question. But I’m positive, I’m the only one in Sunrise Bay undressing the pretty blonde in my head. Everything about her, from her make-up to her high heels says she’s a fish out of water.

Whispers and speculations run rampant until the secret of who she is gets uncovered. Then the rumor mill goes into overdrive when she announces she’s staying to open a bookstore in the building next to mine—throwing a big wrench into my plans to buy that empty building.

I quickly find myself in a tug-of-war since my business partner/brother is upset she’s ruined the opportunity to expand our business. I try to keep my distance, but I’ve got one sister with a gossip column on the local radio station and two meddling grandmas setting me up as a tour director.

And now I kind of like the idea of our new neighbor staying. But small-town life isn’t for the weak—time will tell if she has what it takes to be one of us.

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Book Reviews, New Adult, Year of Reviews - 2021

Review – Fletcher by V. McFarlane

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Fletcher; Boys of HGU #1 
(A standalone within a series)

Publication Date: February 20, 2021

Genre/Tropes: New Adult/Sports Romance

Author: V. McFarlane

Review Rating: 4 Gold Stars

Review/Synopsis:

Review:

V. McFarlane is a new author to me and Fletcher is an emotional college romance filled with steam, tension, and  drama.

How do you move on with the woman you’ve always loved when that woman you want last dated your deceased brother? That tangled web is an emotional roller coaster that is the basis of Fletcher.

Peyton and Fletcher were best friends when they were younger, but when Peyton began dating Fletcher’s younger brother things changed and especially when he passed away. Their relationship was severed. Three years passed until they spoke again, but the guilt is still there. How will their friends perceive them, how could their parents understand, there is a lot of guilt that surrounds the feelings they have for each other, which outweighs any happiness, but don’t they both deserve happiness?

While I enjoyed a lot of the story, there were moments that could have used a bit more depth and polish, while others did shine through. McFarlane is a fairly new author and I believe with more time she will really excel.

Synopsis:

Just one night…

I should have known that just one night would never have been enough.
Not when Peyton Mckenna has been the only girl I’ve ever dreamed of.
We were friends once, best friends but to me she was always the girl I couldn’t have. It didn’t stop me wanting though.
But then everything changed, our worlds exploded and I pushed her away, too caught up in my grief and confusion of still wanting the girl that belonged to someone else.
For three years I avoided her as if everything that happened that night was her fault, but the truth was, the guilt of seeing her, still wanting her was tearing me apart but I was becoming weak.

Weak enough to let her back in.
Weak enough to hold her.
Weak enough to take that taste I’d always denied myself.

It was a betrayal.
But never a mistake.
And now I want more.

Our paths were too tangled, our lives forever on a collision course.
This was my destruction and we had always been destined to fail.

Fletcher is book one in the Boys of HGU series but can be read as a standalone.

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