book review

Book Cover Blurb:

My name is Mara and I want desperately to become a mother. All of my dreams were dashed when the world was promised hope but instead became a place of danger, death . . . and monsters.

Living in a rural part of Canada, I thought life with my adoring husband was finally moving in the right direction. We had an idyllic home, friends, and plans for a future together.

The only thing missing, was the child we both so desperately wanted.

Hope came in the form of a single medical miracle. Yet the drug was not as it seemed and instead of healing, it beget a world of monsters.

Now we must find the will and strength to survive with only each other to hold onto.

But a deadly secret threatens our love and very survival …

My Review of Sundered:

I have to be honest, I downloaded this ebook because of the cover–the font, the title, the graphics. I didn’t know the author or what it was about, but was very interested. Judging a book. I know, I know. Luckily this little novella was worth the chance I gave it.

Though the premise takes a stretch of the imagination–a new miracle drug called Nevermore claims to cure everything from infertility to obesity and 90% of the population on earth lines up for the shot–it’s completely within the realm of believability, in my opinion, that a man-made drug could cause people to transform into zombie-like creatures. That’s exactly what happens in the story. So many people get the ‘miracle drug’ and so quickly, almost everyone on earth transforms into animalistic monsters before anyone realizes what’s happening.

Mara is a wife struggling with infertility and she nearly takes the Nevermore shot, but for a twist of fate. Through her eyes we witness the world around her crumble.

What I enjoyed about Sundered is that it’s a quick, fast-paced read about the apocalypse. There was no fluff, no slow pacing, no extraneous scenes. Everything I read raced toward the end. It was a fun, fluffy read in a genre I really enjoy. I’d recommend this novella to any fans of the genre.

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<3 Anna

Or, My Take On The Regency Romance Nine Rules To Break When Romancing A Rake

sarah maclean

Back Cover Blurb:

A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen’s club.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried – and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she’s vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she’s been missing.

But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss – to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston – charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.

If she’s not careful, she’ll break the most important rule of all – the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love….

My Thoughts:

I have yet to read a bad novel from Sarah MacLean, and 9 Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake is no exception. It has almost every regency cliche and trope you can think of, which actually made it really fun. Callie is a wallflower looking to spice up her boring existence with a list of nine things proper ladies should never do. She’s also secretly in love with the rakish and handsome Marquess of Ralston. Luckily for them both, they keep running into each other so that Ralston ends up helping Callie with her list. Along the way they deal with the heroine dressing as a man, gentlemen’s clubs, duels, wagers over women, fittings at a seamstress’ shop, lots of shopping, love matches, kissing in alcoves, the theater, de-flowerings, and balls. Everything important happens in front of the entire ton at someone’s fancy ball.

My only critique is that the middle 25% lost some of the beginning’s excitement, and I skimmed over that section. But the pace and tension picked up in a big way in the final 30% of the novel. I couldn’t put it down, I was so eager to read the end.

There’s also a subplot about Ralston’s Italian half sister that really goes nowhere. I assumed she was introduced so that she can be the heroine of a future novel.

9 Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake was a fun, fast-paced read, and I’m so glad I downloaded it.

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<3 Anna

Or, My Thoughts On Cheryl Bolen’s Regency Romance
his lordships vow
Author’s Back Cover Blurb:

Bereft of beauty as well as fortune, the exceedingly plain Miss Jane Featherstone has failed to attract any suitor during her three Seasons. Rather than be a burden to her brother and his obnoxious wife, Miss Featherstone vows to accept the first man who asks—even though she’s always worshipped a lord who’s far above her touch. . .

Lord Slade must marry an heiress in order to honor the deathbed vow he made to his father, and he needs Miss Featherstone’s help in wooing her beautiful cousin. After her initial anger, Miss Featherstone agrees to his scheme, telling him she’s doing so because she admires his Parliamentary record of humanitarian legislation and his reverence for truth. But the more he’s with the two cousins, the more attracted he becomes to Miss Featherstone. What’s a man of his word to do? Break a vow to a beloved father—or follow his heart with Miss Featherstone?

My Review:

Cheryl Bolen has written a lovely short regency with His Lordship’s Vow. I thoroughly enjoyed the unlikely romance between a plain Jane and the sexy Lord Slade as they both struggle with feelings they don’t expect. The story is shorter than a traditional novel, so some plot points are rushed and a few times I wished the author had given herself more room to explore the romance, but overall, it was a quick and sweet read.

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<3 Anna

Or, My Take On Caine’s 1st Cassidy Edwards Novel

monster
Author’s Back Cover Blurb:

Revenge. It’s all I’ve lived for. Revenge against those who stacked the cards against me from the start. But I’m changing the deck now. I’m getting even. Born to a vampire, I wasn’t supposed to survive—but I did.

My name is Cassidy. Cassidy Edwards. And I’m the first of my kind.

The Job
Trapping a sixteenth-century Scottish Highlander of a vampire who just might be seduction itself.

The Team
A firedrake with an attitude, a werewolf with a problem, and an imp in dire need of rehab.

The Boss
A dangerously powerful warlock as handsome as sin.

My Problem:
Bluffing my way into a job, my first mission into the Charmed world opens a Pandora’s box of betrayal and secrets … along with attractions of the most lethal kind.

My Review:

I’m always on the lookout for great new paranormal series to read, so I was excited to start Monster. The writing is wonderful and Caine’s world is both fun and scary. There are opposing supernatural factions and lots of creative new monsters along with the traditional vampires and warlocks. I wish the secondary characters had more depth, but perhaps that’s coming in the following novels.

My biggest problem with the book is Cassidy slips into passive Mary Sue territory. As I was reading the big showdown scene it occurred to me that Cassidy didn’t DO much. She’s kidnapped, she’s threatened, and she’s carried around by strong men, but she hardly does anything to change her situation or advance the story. Instead, she’s advanced by others. But if you can forgive Caine for not making her heroine more dynamic, she’s created an intriguing new paranormal world.

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<3 Anna

Or, My Thoughts On PJ Schnyder’s Paranormal Romance
bite me
Author’s Back Cover Blurb:

Few people walk the streets of London since the zombie outbreak, but that’s not an issue for Seth. As a werewolf, he can handle himself and save humans reckless enough to take a nighttime stroll. While on patrol he comes across a group of people under attack. The one woman brave enough to take a stand against the zombies catches his eye—and not just because of her way with a gun. Learning the beautiful woman is homeless and fends for herself only intensifies his urge to protect and care for her.

Maisie can’t help but admit that she’s attracted to her werewolf rescuer. She’s drawn to Seth’s strength and ferocity, and finds herself opening up to him in ways she never imagined, even though she’s determined to not rely on Seth or anyone else. She doesn’t want another person to get hurt—or die—for her sake. She has enough scars, physical and emotional, from the last time…

But when Seth realizes something is drawing the zombies to Maisie, there may be nothing he can do to save her…

My Review:

First, this is a novella, so it’s a very quick slice of a larger world, but it’s a world I really enjoyed. Maisie is a wounded young woman with inner strength and survival skills to spare. Running into Seth, a giant werewolf, during a zombie fight is either the best or the worst thing to ever happen to her.

I loved this story. I’m a sucker for anything to do with zombies, so I enjoyed the fact that London is infested with them and normal people are simply trying to survive the best they can. The characters were both strong and sexy, and I cared about the situation Schnyder put them in. I’d love to read more by this author.

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<3 Anna

Or, My thoughts On Isabel Cooper’s Historical Paranormal

lessons_after_dark_cover

 

Author’s Back Cover Blurb:

A woman with an unspeakable past

Olivia Brightmore didn’t know what to expect when she took a position to teach at Englefiend School, an academy for “gifted” children. But it wasn’t having to rescue a young girl who levitated to the ceiling. Or battling a dark mystery in the surrounding woods. And nothing could have prepared her for Dr. Gareth St. John…

A man with exceptional talent

He knew all about her history and scrutinized her every move because of it. But there was more than suspicion lurking in those luscious green eyes. Even with all the strange occurrences at the school, the most unsettling of all is the attraction pulling Olivia and Gareth together with a force that cannot be denied.

My Review:

I’ve been reading every historical paranormal romances I can get my hands on (I’m taking recommendations if you have any!), and since I’d already read Isabel Cooper’s No Proper Lady and loved it, I greedily began Lessons After Dark. The part I liked is how Cooper’s rural school for the extraordinary is a lot like both Professor X’s school in the X-Men comics as well as Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. Like in those other stories, a group of misfit young adults arrive at the school for help controlling their supernatural abilities. I only wish either there were fewer students or Cooper worked harder at distinguishing them because, even at the end, I couldn’t tell which boy or girl was which. The hero and heroine, however, are beautifully drawn and are a lot of fun.

This was a wonderfully written historical paranormal, though not as good as No Proper Lady, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes superheroes, mutants, and wizards.

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<3 Anna

Or, My Thoughts On Zoe Archer’s Historical Paranormal

devils kiss zoe archer

Author’s Back Cover Blurb:

1762. James Sherbourne, Earl of Whitney, is a gambling man. Not for the money. But for the thrill, the danger–and the company: Whit has become one of the infamous Hellraisers, losing himself in the chase for adventure and pleasure with his four closest friends.

Which was how Whit found himself in a gypsy encampment, betting against a lovely Romani girl. Zora Grey’s smoky voice and sharp tongue entrance Whit nearly as much as her clever hands–watching them handle cards inspires thoughts of another kind. . .

Zora can’t explain her attraction to the careless blue-eyed Whit. She also can’t stop him and his Hellraisers from a fiendish curse: the power to grant their own hearts’ desires, to chase their pleasures from the merely debauched to the truly diabolical. And if Zora can’t save Whit, she still has to escape him. . .

My Review:

I read this book because I was interested in writing a historical paranormal, so I was very invested in how the author wrote her novel. Though I’m not a fan of gypsies, and the heroine Zora is a gypsy fortune teller, I really liked the first few chapters. I thought Archer had creative ideas about curses, devils, and invisible captives. My favorite part was how Whit could fit Zora in his pocket. It was a very magical and imaginative beginning.

The problem I have is, by the 50% mark the hero and heroine have overcome both the external and internal obstacles to their continued happiness. They were in lust (if not in love) and committed to each other. At that point, I felt like the story was over and I wasn’t interested in reading any further. I really wish Archer had structured the story in a way that kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire novel because I enjoyed her writing and her ideas.

If you’re interested in a dark and fun historical paranormal, I would recommend reading at least part of this book as a great example of the genre.

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<3 Anna

Or, My Thoughts On Zoe Archer’s Historical Paranormal

devils kiss

Cover Blurb:

1762. James Sherbourne, Earl of Whitney, is a gambling man. Not for the money. But for the thrill, the danger–and the company: Whit has become one of the infamous Hellraisers, losing himself in the chase for adventure and pleasure with his four closest friends.

Which was how Whit found himself in a gypsy encampment, betting against a lovely Romani girl. Zora Grey’s smoky voice and sharp tongue entrance Whit nearly as much as her clever hands–watching them handle cards inspires thoughts of another kind. . .

Zora can’t explain her attraction to the careless blue-eyed Whit. She also can’t stop him and his Hellraisers from a fiendish curse: the power to grant their own hearts’ desires, to chase their pleasures from the merely debauched to the truly diabolical. And if Zora can’t save Whit, she still has to escape him. . .

My Thoughts:

Full disclosure–I stopped reading this book at the 50% mark when I lost all sympathy or interest in the hero and heroine.

However, I really enjoyed the first half. The author’s attention to detail is incredible. Her story is full of magic and the supernatural while at the same time rooted in a realistic historical setting. I chose this book specifically because it was recommended to me as a great example of the historical paranormal genre, which I’m very interested in. And I got into the story, but at some point I just lost interest. At the 50% mark the “magic” binding the hero and heroine together was gone. They were a couple, and it was obvious their major relationship roadblocks were gone. They were sexually attracted to each other. And they were each the most important person in each other’s lives.

Basically, the stakes were gone, and I gave up. Perhaps the conflict would have picked up again, but to be honest, I felt like the story was over and I wanted to move on to a new book.

Or, My Thoughts On Julie Klassen’s Novel

apothecarys dau

 

Cover Blurb:

Lillian Haswell, brilliant daughter of the local apothecary, yearns for more adventure and experience than life in her father’s shop and their small village provides. She also longs to know the truth behind her mother’s disappearance, which villagers whisper about but her father refuses to discuss. Opportunity comes when a distant aunt offers to educate her as a lady in London. Exposed to fashionable society and romance–as well as clues about her mother–Lilly is torn when she is summoned back to her ailing father’s bedside. Women are forbidden to work as apothecaries, so to save the family legacy, Lilly will have to make it appear as if her father is still making all the diagnoses and decisions. But the suspicious eyes of a scholarly physician and a competing apothecary are upon her. As they vie for village prominence, three men also vie for Lilly’s heart.

My Thoughts:

There are so many great things about The Apothecary’s Daughter. The historical details are amazing. I felt immersed in the world Klassen created. Whether we were in a London sitting room or Haswell’s apothecary shop in Bedsley Priors I felt like I was there. Her characters, too, are each distinct and layered human beings that really shine.

The only part that made me roll my eyes is that by the 50% mark, every eligible young man Lilly had ever met was crazy in love with her. Not one, but two bachelors from her London season, her father’s former apprentice, the village’s new apothecary, even the local lord’s son. Do you mean to tell me there’s not one man Lilly knows who thinks she’s pretentious or boring?

This is where Lilly slipped into Mary Sue territory. Even the people she wronged by abandoning, first her friends and family in Bedsley Priors, and then her aunt and uncle in London, forgive her immediately and completely. No one is ever annoyed with Lilly. Which I find hard to believe.

Even her flaws aren’t really flaws. She has a photographic memory. Her mother ran away when she was a small child. Both situations only make Lilly a more sympathetic character.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys richly detailed historical romances, but with a warning that the heroine might get on your nerves with her sparkling perfection.

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<3 Anna

Or, What I Thought Of Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove Starter

night to suurender tessa dare

 

Back Cover Blurb:

Spindle Cove is the destination of choice for certain types of well-bred young ladies: the painfully shy, young wives disenchanted with matrimony, and young girls too enchanted with the wrong men. It is a haven for those who live there.

Victor Bramwell, the new Earl of Rycliff, knows he doesn’t belong here. So far as he can tell, there’s nothing in this place but spinsters…and sheep. But he has no choice, he has orders to gather a militia. It’s a simple mission, made complicated by the spirited, exquisite Susanna Finch–a woman who is determined to save her personal utopia from the invasion of Bram’s makeshift army.

Susanna has no use for aggravating men; Bram has sworn off interfering women. The scene is set for an epic battle…but who can be named the winner when both have so much to lose?

My Thoughts:

I adored this book! It was fun and feisty from the very beginning to the happily ever after ending. Bram is damaged, both inside and out, but so is Susanna, and they make the perfect pair. When the boys took over the girls’ delicate tea shop, transforming it into the Rutting Bull Saloon, I couldn’t wipe the goofy grin off my face.

But my favorite part is Bram and Susanna’s verbal brawling in the cove.

Bram: “You’re just begging to be taught a hard, fast lesson in what it means to please a man.”

Susanna: “You’re just longing to put your head in my lap and feel my fingers in your hair.”

He backed her up against a rock. “You need a good ravaging.”

“You,” she breathed, “need a hug.”

I highly recommend this book to Regency fans, and I’ll be looking for the second book in the series!

"A sizzling and sweet paranormal romance." 5 stars.
--Christine Rains, author of the 13th Floor Series

"A wonderful, suspenseful love story." 5 stars.
--Coffee Time Romance

"A great paranormal adventure with many twists and turns." 5 stars.
--Community Bookstop

"This book kept me on the edge of my seat." 4 stars.
--The Reading Cafe

Anna's bookshelf: Read

The Duke Is Mine
5 of 5 stars true
I'm not ashamed to say I cried at the end of this book, or that I read it in a single day because I couldn't stop.
Forbidden
3 of 5 stars true
The story started out a page tuner I could not put down, but by the middle I was skimming to the end just to see how it all wrapped up. I think the James' are wonderful storytellers, but this particular story didn't do it for me. I'd lov...

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