Magic

The Sumage Solution (San Andreas Shifters, #1) by G.L. Carriger 5 Star Review!

     The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters by GAIL CARRIGER 5 Stars!!

Max fails everything – magic, relationships, life. So he works for DURPS (the DMV for supernatural creatures) as a sumage, cleaning up other mages’ messes. The job sucks and he’s in no mood to cope with redneck biker werewolves. Unfortunately, there’s something oddly appealing about the huge, muscled Beta visiting his office for processing.

Bryan AKA Biff (yeah, he knows) is gay but he’s not out. There’s a good chance Max might be reason enough to leave the closet, if he can only get the man to go on a date. Everyone knows werewolves hate mages, but Bryan is determined to prove everyone wrong, even the mage in question.

Delicate Sensibilities?
This story contains M/M sexitimes and horrible puns. If you get offended easily, then you probably will. The ¬¬¬¬San Andreas Shifter stories contain blue language, dirty deeds, and outright admiration for the San Francisco Bay Area. Not for the faint of heart (mouth/tongue/etc.).

 

Review

I had a grand time reading this book. Its over the top and madcap but charming, hot, and engaging.

Humor is tough and for me this overblown paranormal world with a sarcastic hero and quirky non humans of all kinds really worked for me. I think because the heart of the story is the romance between Bryan, a beta wolf shifter able to be out about his sexuality for the first time, and a cranky, lanky not well functioning civil servant mage who had an awful childhood and a pretty crap romantic life until Bryan.

All the quirky and crazy plot around them was kept steady by the realism and the truth of this romance. It is a character driven love story set in a pretty well built and enjoyable paranormal world.

Some of the world building is a bit wonky but all the characters, banter, hot sexy times, and romance make up any flaws in a big way.

I can’t wait for more couples in this series and more time in this world.

Shadowbound (Dark Arts #1) by Bec McMaster Review

    Shadowbound (The Dark Arts Book 1) by Bec McMaster  3 Stars! 

A stolen relic. A pair of enemies forced to work together. And a demon who must be stopped before it destroys London itself…

When a powerful relic goes missing from a secret society that dabbles in the occult, Miss Ianthe Martin is charged with finding it at all costs. She needs help, but all clues point to someone on the inside being the thief. The only sorcerer she knows that can’t possibly be involved is the very man she saw locked in Bedlam a year ago…

The mad, bad, dangerous Earl of Rathbourne.

When the seductive Miss Martin appears in his Bedlam cell, Rathbourne fears he’s finally lost his mind. The devilish sorceress played a hand in his incarceration, and now she comes asking for help? Perhaps she should begin by begging for mercy…

But Ianthe’s offer of freedom is one he can’t refuse, although he has a clause of his own to add. She may bind him with her power–the only way to still the demons haunting him–but for every day spent under her command, the nights will be his… to wreak delicious revenge on her willing flesh.

 

Review

As always McMaster created a vivid world with engrossing characters and an intersting plot.

I just couldn’t like anyone that much so I didn’t enjoy spending time with them nor did I root for the romance.

It may be that I was just not in the right mood for this kind of second chance secret everything angst.

Didn’t work for me on the love story level.

Brute by Kim Fielding Review

   Brute by Kim Fielding  3.5 Stars!

Brute leads a lonely life in a world where magic is commonplace. He is seven and a half feet of ugly, and of disreputable descent. No one, including Brute, expects him to be more than a laborer. But heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and when he is maimed while rescuing a prince, Brute’s life changes abruptly. He is summoned to serve at the palace in Tellomer as a guard for a single prisoner. It sounds easy but turns out to be the challenge of his life.

Rumors say the prisoner, Gray Leynham, is a witch and a traitor. What is certain is that he has spent years in misery: blind, chained, and rendered nearly mute by an extreme stutter. And he dreams of people’s deaths—dreams that come true.

As Brute becomes accustomed to palace life and gets to know Gray, he discovers his own worth, first as a friend and a man and then as a lover. But Brute also learns heroes sometimes face difficult choices and that doing what is right can bring danger of its own.

  Review

I like everything this romance very much. You can’t ask for a better hero than Brute. It is a joy to see his life improve. His kindness is is heroic

Gray is a great hero too if a kind of redeemed one.

Their love story is sweet.

What I wanted more of was a better understanding of the world, magic systems, and much more couple time.

Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark) by Kresley Cole Review

Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark) by Kresley Cole 4 Stars!

The terrifying king of hell…

As a boy, Abyssian “Sian” Infernas had his heart shattered by a treacherous fey beauty who died before he could exact vengeance. Millennia later, a curse has transformed him into a demonic monster–just as she’s been reincarnated. Sian captures the delicate but bold female, forcing her back to hell.

Meets his match.

Princess Calliope “Lila” Barbot’s people have hated and feared Abyssian and his alliance of monsters for eons. When the beastly demon imprisons her in his mystical castle, vowing revenge for betrayals she can’t remember, Lila makes her own vow: to bring down the wicked beast for good.

Can two adversaries share one happily-ever-after?

As Calliope turns hell inside out, the all-powerful Sian finds himself defenseless against his feelings for her. In turn, Lila reluctantly responds to the beast’s cleverness and gruff vulnerability. But when truths from a far distant past are revealed, can their tenuous bond withstand ages of deceit, a curse, and a looming supernatural war?

Review

I will admit to a mew of displeasure when I started this book. I wasn’t a huge fan of the last main book in this series when this new group of allies were introduced– Morior,

Here is why….in the last three books we get main characters we have never met before and very little time with those we like. This is no fun for a fan of a long series.

There are a pile of characters who deserve and HEA–some of them are still drowning over and over at the bottom of the ocean.

However, after I settled in, even though the love story is a quilt of pieces from other romances in the series (a little kidnapping, a little reincarnated mate, enemies to lovers) I enjoyed the book.

Lila and Sian had great banter and chemistry. She is very clever. His being the Primordial is very cool. She comes into her own power and he suffers for his jerkhood. Good stuff.

The real star of the show for me though in this book was Hell. Amazing setting, mythos, magic, and animals. The Dragon King is cool too.

So, next book in the series with the alliance of time traveling monsters characters I will be happier about since I have meet them and care a bit.

Illusion Town (Ghost Hunters, #13) by Jayne Castle Review

 Illusion Town (Illusion Town Novel, An) by Jayne Castle 3 Stars!

A new adventure begins on Harmony…

With its opulent casinos and hotels, the desert city of Illusion Town is totally unique—and will take you on a thrill ride you’ll never forget.

Hannah West isn’t the first woman to wake up in Illusion Town married to a man she barely knows, but she has no memory of the ceremony at all. For that matter, neither does Elias Coppersmith, her new husband. All either can remember is that they were on the run…

With Hannah’s dubious background and shaky para-psych profile, she could have done much worse. The cooly competent mining heir arouses her curiosity—as well as other parts of her mind and body. And even her dust bunny likes him.

But a honeymoon spent retracing their footsteps leads Hannah and Elias into the twisting underground catacombs, where secrets from both their pasts will come to light—and where the energy of their clashing auras will grow hot enough to burn…

Review

This is a fun comfort read series full of action and mystery. The dust bunnies make it even better.

This is a fully fleshed out world that is always nice to visit. If you are looking for a easy happy read with a little adventure, this is a good choice. The books in the series do blend together though. This one has a good time with a twist on the marriage of connivence theme.

Heart Fate (Celta’s Heartmates, #7) by Robin D. Owens Review

 Heart Fate (Celta Series Book 7) by Robin D. Owens 4.5 Stars! 

Wed to a wealthy older man when she was just a girl, Lahsin Yew runs away from her abusive home to find a new life. At seventeen, she?s about to enter her Second Passage, when her Flair?and perhaps her HeartMate?will be revealed.

Lahsin finds sanctuary in a secret garden, where she meets Tinne Holly. Though he is her HeartMate, he cannot tell her, and her troubled past prevents her from trusting any man. Pretending to find her by chance, Tinne helps her through her Second Passage. But when the truth is revealed, can she forgive his deception, and learn to trust in her destiny?

 

Review

This is a tender love story between two young people whose lives have already seen so much suffering.

The hero and the heroine are fated to mates but the heroine’s family marries her off at 14 to an abusive older man. The hero marries someone else and is suffering the effects of a miscarriage an the very rare ending of that marriage.

Tinne and Lashin hurt, heal, and love together. If you have been reading the series, you will be so happy the Tinne’s gets his own book but even if you haven’t this book stands alone as a great romance where respect and care overcomes abuse.

The world building as always is sport on with cultural and magic systems details of the highest order. The dog and the cat and a lonely house are perfect additions and the villain suffers.

A comfort reread for me. Adored.

Heart Dance (Celta’s Heartmates, #6) by Robin D. Owens Review

 Heart Dance (Celta Series Book 6) by Robin D. Owens 4.5 Stars!

Dufleur Thyme knows that emotion has no place in scientific experiments, and she cannot abide distractions in her own surreptitious quest to redeem her father’s time reversal studies. For Saille T’Willow, time is running out—the premiere matchmaker of Celta, he himself has yet to HeartBond and form the family he yearns for. Knowing that Dufleur is his HeartMate, he has sent his HeartGift out to circulate, hoping it will find its way to her and enable him to make his claim.
Instead, Dufleur keeps tossing it out—she wants nothing to do with a Willow, the family that destroyed her father’s good name. But Saille is determined, and the attraction between them is undeniable. When one of her experiments imperils Saille’s position, Dufleur must make a choice—she can retreat to the solitude of her lab, or stand with the descendant of her enemy as his HeartMate…


Review

I just did a reread of this book—I have read it more than 4 times.

I love the world of Celta. This is hands down one my my favorite series and what I would take on a desert island.

This book is a treasure of a heroine who everyone thinks of as plain but who is a great power. I love that she isn’t always likable but so loyal.

The hero is wonderful as he wants his love. His pursuit is lovely.

There is so much healing an finding of value in Robin Owen’s work which is balanced with the charm of talking cats and really moving love stories.

A great book especially if you love a best hero with a will of iron.

Witch, Cat, and Cobb by J.K. Pendragon Review

   Witch, Cat, and Cobb by J.K. Pendragon 3 Stars! 

Destined for an arranged marriage she wants nothing to do with, Princess Breanwynne decides that the only option for escape is to run away. Upon the announcement of this plan, her trusted pet cat reveals he can talk by asking that she take him along. Listening to his suggestion to venture into the lair of the Swamp Witch proves to be a very bad idea, but Breanwynne would rather face a witch any day than be forced to marry a prince.

 

 

 

 

 

Review

I enjoyed this fantasy romp with a curse talking cat and a swamp witch.

It was fun but the pacing of the plot dragged a bit for me in the middle. The really good parts happen in the last part of the book with lots of reveals.

I would have liked more romance but this book is a pleasant way to spend the afternoon.

A Rational Arrangement (Arranging Paradise Book 1) in by L. Rowyn Review

  A Rational Arrangement (Arranging Paradise Book 1) by L. Rowyn

But these are vital aspects of marriage. If one cannot discuss them, what’s the use in meeting at all? It’s like trying to decide what you’ll have for dinner without mentioning food.”

Wisteria Vasilver does wish to marry. Truly. But though she lives in Paradise, arranging a match is full of traps and pitfalls for the unwary … or perhaps just for her.

Nikola Striker, Lord of Fireholt, expects he’ll wed — someday. But not now, and never to a rich icicle of a woman like Miss Vasilver. No matter how much his parents might want the match, or his house might need her dowry. Besides, he has his own problems — most of them people who need his help as a mind-healer.

Lord Justin Comfrey, Viscount of Comfrey, would be more than happy to help Striker with his financial troubles, and not just to ensure that Miss Vasilver’s dowry doesn’t tempt Striker into marriage. If only he could find some way to make his proud, stubborn friend accept the money!

Can three people of such different temperaments ever find their way to a more perfect Paradise?

 

Review 

This book is such a pleasure of a romance. In a Regency flavored culture set after the fall of another world in a new “Paradise,”  Rowyn meticulously builds cultures, history, religions,  a wider world, and a magic systems with as much beauty as the plot, characters, and love story.

I stayed up all night reading.

The heroine, Wisteria, is going right on my favorite heroines list. Wisteria brave, kind, moral, and with the keenest of minds. She falters and is big hearted.  She is somewhere on the  autism spectrum and thus able to see past cultural norms and mores and be baffled by them. Thus, she is socially awkward and misread as cold.  The hero/s come to adore her because of who she is and this romance explores the range of what is “normal” on so many levels and compellingly.

The hero, Nik, is burdened with responsibilities and in love with someone else that he can’t have publicly and thinks doesn’t really want him out of the bedroom.   Nik is a Blessed with gift of mind healing.  As he sees Wisteria more clearly, he comes to see himself more fully as well.  Their love story is one of honesty and have a safe place. It is sexy as all get out as well.

Our third lead is Justin. He is a charmer who really has to learn to trust, risk and talk to get his HEA with both the heroine and the hero and release old ideas about himself as well as the world.  He is loyal and brave.

This is a polyamorous romance that does a wonderful job thinking about the cultural aspects of marriage and sex and human nature. The writer makes you believe in the Happily Ever After because she doesn’t pretend it isn’t complicated.

The book takes on sex, religion, faith, ability gender roles, and marriage  from a global anthropological point of view as well as a biological one (though magic based as Nik can see minds). Wisteria’s analytical nature, Justin’s realism and Nik’s humanitarianism  all come together in a moving exploration of all these topics.

All all the while, we have sexy times, conflicts of all kinds, sexual tension, banter, carriage and Great Cats who talk!

Excellent.

I so hope there are more books in this world.

Breath of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #2) by Amanda Bouchet Review

SHE’S DESTINED TO DESTROY THE WORLD… 

BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT

“Cat” Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat’s tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what’s a warrior queen to do when she knows it’s her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.

Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world—for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin risk sacrificing everything they’ve fought for. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom…or die trying.

4 Stars!

Review

This second book in the series follows Cat and Griffin and Co on an amazing quest. We get the same wonderful world building with a great cast of characters.

The love story remains powerful as it evolves as does the arc of the story.

The writing detailed and compelling and the plot is well paced. There is so much to like an enjoy in this mash up of Greek mythology and magic.

I think you need to read the first book to get the full pleasure out of this entry but it is a great ride and I can’t wait for the next book plus spin offs with other couples.