Immortal Rising by Lynsay Sands

Immortal Rising by Lynsay Sands
Book 34: An Argeneau Novel
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

The Argeneaus are back! Filled with love, passion, and adventure, New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands returns with another sexy romance about everyone’s favorite immortals.

Stephanie McGill was attacked and turned when she was just a teenager. Worse, her abilities are unlike any other immortal. Now 13 years later, with the help of her adopted Argeneau family, Steph has carved out a new – if not lonely – life for herself. Until a new neighbor arrives…

Thorne is also one-of-a-kind. The result of a genetic experiment, he’s not an immortal, but he’s not mortal either. He’s looking for a place to hide, to get some peace and quiet so he can figure things out, and Stephanie’s sanctuary is perfect. In fact, Stephanie is perfect. For the first time, Thorne is free to be himself and he’s falling for her.

But if they’re going to have a future together, they’ll first need to deal with their past…because the mad scientist who created Thorne is now after Stephanie.

I’ve been following this series for years and just when I think it might be running out of steam, Ms. Sands throws her fans a delightful, heart-pounding twist. Anyone who doesn’t know the story about the evil scientist named Dressler, and only bases their opinion on the cover, as delightful as it is, are in for a shock. There are no angels in this novel. There’s definitely evil though, and that’s the villain – the most twisted, immoral and cold scientist who makes Dr. Frankenstein seem like a nice guy. The drama, suspense, narrow escapes and dastardly doings are the plot movers and shakers in the novel, but Immortal Rising is foremost an awesome romance story between a couple that are as mismatched as can be.

Stephanie is an author and the stories she writes aren’t fiction, but they are so fantastical, everyone thinks they are. Pure genius. The heroine has a talent that is overwhelming – she hears people’s thoughts – everyone’s within a couple of miles of her location. Trying to stay sane with all that bombardment is a challenge which is why she lives out in the boonies. No one knows how bad it is because she keeps the worst of it all to herself. Readers get the full picture, and it makes her character one easy to feel sympathy for. She’s got the cutest pets and her relationship with them is charming and provide joy and happiness when things are tough for her. Stephanie has a sister whom she loves very much but things are not quite as smooth between them as her sister thinks. So much emotional angst eventually has to come out and get purged, which makes for some intense reading. Family dynamics can sometimes be sticky, but they can be hilarious and funny too.

Believe it or not, Thorne’s mom is a hoot. Thorne is the hero and he’s, well, I don’t know if I want to say. I mean, if a reader is delving into this book without having read the others, and I think it can be enjoyed that way, I don’t want to spoil what makes the hero so unique, challenging and thrilling. I looked at the blurb on the back cover, so I can say that Thorne is the result of genetic engineering by that madman, Dr. Dressler. When a reader gets to the part when Thorne and Stephanie discuss the possible DNAs that were used, it’s kind of funny at times but it’s also really, really cool. I can’t imagine the research Ms. Sands had to go through to discover the most obscure and fascinating traits she wanted her hero to have. Blew my mind.

As I mentioned earlier, family is an important factor not just in this book, but in the series as a whole. It’s one of reasons I have been hooked on this series for as long as I have. Once again Ms. Sands torments Lucian by making him talk. It was hysterical! Mr. Taciturn and grumpy actually has some moments that remind me why I like him so much, and why he’s one of the characters I respect the most. Still, it’s great when he’s teased, or when he is forced to come out of his shell. There are other family members that help out Stephanie and Thorne on their way to their happy ever after – no one ever has to go it alone in this story – someone is always there to have their back – if they get there in time. *grin*

Stephanie’s awe and delight in seeing Thorne in all his wonder was a thrilling scene. The descriptions of Thorne, and the heroine’s reactions were often funny, endearing and windows into the progression of the love growing between them. As with all the stories in the series, there comes the time when shared dreams and shared sensation overwhelm the two, proving that they are indeed perfect for each other. And though it’s sexy, it’s funny too, readers who look forward to those scenes won’t be disappointed. As for my opinion, Immortal Rising is heavy on plot, story, action and romance, and not overdone in the bedroom department. It’s just enough to give readers a well-rounded and perfect story.

I could go on and one because this large novel has so much written within its pages to keep a reader on their toes, entertained, thrilled and engaged. In fact, the action starts in the prologue, foreshadowing the confrontation that the heroine and hero eventually have to face. This book was awesome, fast-paced, exciting and all around awesome. I’m extremely happy for Thorne, that he finally gets to be truly happy, and Stephanie finds the peace and freedom she’s wished for, for over a decade. They are absolutely perfect for each other and I’m a happy, satisfied and thrilled reader who enthusiastically recommends this latest Argeneau novel to all Ms. Sands fans and lovers of paranormal romances. I am proud to add Immortal Rising to my keeper shelf.

Arcane Island by Angela Knight

Arcane Island by Angela Knight
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Erotic Romance, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Moonflower

Dave Frost died in combat five years ago, but his soul survives, magically bonded to the body of his partner — a six-hundred pound tiger. Dave can conjure a human manifestation, but nobody treats him as a man anymore. Especially not women. Until he meets Ariel — his costar — while shooting a reality TV competition in the Bahamas. The show’s producers have assigned him to the beautiful witch for an onscreen showmance.

Ariel Piper’s talent is strong enough to turn the competition in their favor. Unfortunately, she also has a condition that makes using her magic agonizing. When they discover Dave’s touch kills the pain, he’s driven to help.

Their showmance soon becomes the real thing, though Dave fears she’ll dump him when the show wraps. Can Ariel convince this heroic, wounded man to trust her love — before the show comes to a lethal climax that’s not in the script?

A new world to me from a favourite author.

Angela Knight is a known author to me. I love her worlds that are always so clear and descriptive, making it easy to understand ‘the rules’. This world though was a new one to me. It is the third book in the series but is billed as a standalone. I have read it as such but am now left with a need to read the first two books in the series!

This story is based in a world where magic exists. There are witches, familiars, and Ferals. These are humans who bond with an animal, drawing on their strength. Dave is paired with Smiley when one of his teammates loses control. Dave dies of a broken neck but Smiley is not prepared to let him go. Instead, Dave’s spirit/soul/whatever you want to call it shares Smiley’s body. It usually happens the other way around as the animals don’t live as long as humans usually. This way isn’t unknown but it is rare, which leads to misunderstandings and ill-conceived notions.

Set on an island where a reality TV show is being filmed, you meet the team Dave and Ariel are on together, getting an in-depth understanding of his teammates and why they are competing. The bond between Dave and Ariel is real but Dave won’t put his weight behind it, fearing it is only short-term. Ariel has her hands full with trying to convince him her feelings won’t change and also keeping herself and her teammates alive.

This is another fantastic read by this author and one I have no hesitation in recommending.

Wolf Meets His Fate by N.J. Walters

Wolf Meets His Fate by N.J. Walters
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Moonflower

Orphaned at birth, Jesse is raised in the Louisiana swamp by powerful witch Lottie Broussard. Hated by her father and shunned by the pack that should be hers, she is forced to run for her life after Lottie’s death.

Searching for his life’s purpose, Aaron LaForge has left his pack and is living on a farm in West Virginia.

When their paths cross in a local bar, he sees it as fate. At first, he only wants to help but quickly realizes she’s his mate. Jesse isn’t ready or willing to trust anyone—let alone a male wolf. But Aaron is as stubborn as he is convincing. As their relationship heats up, the dangers around them mount. Can their love survive their fight to stay alive?

There’s no denying the Mate-Bond!

Jesse is on the run – not only from her father who wants to kill her but also from a group of human hunters. She has lived with a witch for the past twenty-five years, but now the witch is dead and Jesse must survive on her own. She has been on the run for a few months when she meets Aaron, who has bought Bailey’s farm and is living there to find himself. Well, the himself he was looking for was actually Jesse.

As with most paranormal books, the insta-love/mate-bond is there, for Aaron at least. Jesse has a (momentary) harder time accepting it, simply because she doesn’t trust easily! Aaron has to pull back his protective instincts once he realizes that Jesse is an independent wolf who is used to taking care of her own problems. Somehow, they manage to meet in the middle and get their HEA but not without plenty of action and drama as her father and the hunters get closer.

For a while, it did feel as though Aaron is the one doing all the chasing and changing. I knew by that point that Jesse hadn’t had it easy, but it takes two to make a relationship work. She did catch up eventually, after leaning heavily on her martyr complex, so it was all good in the end, but I felt as though I’d worked for it!

A great addition to the series and I’m happy to have read Aaron’s story and also see a small follow-up into Nicholas and Bailey. Recommended by me.

Wolf Claims His Pack by N.J. Walters

Wolf Claims His Pack by N.J. Walters
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Erotic Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Moonflower

Half-breed wolf and blacksmith, Bailey Smith’s life is complicated. She’s alpha of a small pack consisting of her teenage brother and three other kids. Her grandfather—a pure-blood wolf—wants her and her brother dead. And now a confrontation with two human males has brought Child Protective Services to her door. If that wasn’t enough, she’s caught the attention of an unknown, sexy-as-hell, male wolf.

Nicholas LaForge has found his mate and purpose. Being a full-blooded wolf is a strike against him, but she marries him to protect her kids. He’ll use whatever sneaky methods necessary—including sex—to convince her they belong together. First, he has to deal with the threats to his new pack. That’s the easy part. Winning her love and trust might be impossible.

Even an Alpha’s shoulders can bow under constant pressure!

And that is what Bailey Smith has been under – constant pressure. Not only is her grandfather trying to kill her and her brother, but she’s also collected three other ‘strays’ who have had hard lives. She lives under the radar, constantly watching her back. It will take a strong wolf to prove to her that he is the real deal. And maybe Nicholas is just the wolf to do it.

All of the characters were well-rounded and had their own quirks and foibles, which just made me like them even more. I really want to learn more about Henry! You feel the tension throughout all the writing, the feeling of something is going to happen, you just don’t know when. This made it a great read that kept me turning the pages.

A great addition to the series and one I’m glad to have read. I have no hesitation in recommending it to all Paranormal Romance fans.

Divine Vintage by Sandra L. Young

Divine Vintage by Sandra L. Young
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Paranormal, Romance, Contemporary, Historical
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Tess Burton is always up for an adventure. She’s risked her inheritance to open Divine Vintage, a clothing boutique. While modeling an elegant gown from an Edwardian era trousseau, her mind is opened to a century-old murder. Visions–seen through the eyes of the murdered bride–dispute local lore that claims the bridegroom committed the crime. Trey Dunmore doesn’t share Tess’ enthusiasm for mind-blowing visions, yet the appeal to clear his family’s tainted legacy compels him to join her in exploring the past. Aided by the dead woman’s clothing and diary, Tess and Trey discover that pursuing love in 1913 was just as thorny as modern day. As the list of murder suspects grows, the couple fears past emotions are influencing, and may ultimately derail, their own blossoming intimacy.

It’s never too late to make amends.

The lush descriptions of modern and historical Michigan City, Indiana made me feel like I was truly there. Some of the best scenes were the ones that described the buildings that existed in both eras, how they were furnished, and who lived in them. Those moments were vividly written and filled with fascinating details about what people did and did not value in a home or business in the early 1910s as well as the early 2010s. It was fun for me as a reader to compare and contrast them. Some things never change, but other social expectations about the places we live and work in most definitely have!

I would have preferred to see a bit more time spent on the character development, especially when it came to Tess and Trey. Their histories and the way their personalities interacted with each other were some of the most integral pieces to understanding their connection to the past. While I can’t go into a lot of detail about this without sharing spoilers, I would have gone with a full five-star rating if this had been developed more thoroughly. The basic gist of it was all there. It simply needed to be expanded upon.

One of the things I liked the most about this novel was how well all of the storylines flowed together. Ms. Young did an excellent job of weaving the paranormal, mystery, dramatic, and romantic elements of the plot into scenes that pushed all of them forward seamlessly. I often have a quiet preference for a particular subplot when so many genres are mixed together, but in this case, I genuinely enjoyed all of them equally. Each one was necessary for the entire story to be told, and it was delightful to see how much effort the author put into making sure that everything was tied together neatly.

Divine Vintage was a sweetly sentimental read.

To Court A Queen by H. L. Burke

To Court A Queen by H. L. Burke
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Chamomile

Devin doesn’t want to get married, but he wants to be a frog even less.

Knight errant Devin takes a shortcut through the woods, only to be captured by fairy forces. The fairy queen has run out of breathing males to fight for her hand, and Devin, while not ideal fairy stock, is breathing—for now.

Telling a vain fairy queen you’d rather not be her one true love is a ticket to life on a lilypad, so the knight agrees to face three challenges to win Queen Agalea’s hand. When a clever servant girl offers to help him navigate the trials in order to stop the constant bloodshed of the courtship ritual, Devin jumps at the chance.

Cat-Elf Sevaine’s only goal in life is to stop Agalea from killing off every male she gets her hands on. When cocky but quick-on-his-feet Devin stumbles into her world, she may finally have a champion who can beat Agalea’s cruel games—if she can resist falling in love with him herself.

With Sevaine’s help, Devin balances “flirting” with his “beloved” and overcoming tasks specifically designed to kill him. But even if he defeats Agalea’s challenges, will happily ever after be possible if he’s fallen for his new partner in survival?

To Court a Queen is a quick read and I loved the original take on Fae and Faeries in this fun story!

I read this one in only a couple sittings and found it to be quite an enjoyable read and a humorous romance! A sweet and lighthearted read, I loved reading the adventures (and misadventures!) of Devin the Knight as he finds himself in quite the conundrum! He finds himself promised to be married to a Fae Queen!

Not at all the ‘short-cut’ he had planned, but it leads into this delightful story and one I found myself actually laughing aloud at more than once! Cute and endearing, I’m glad I got the chance to read this one! I look forward to reading more of H. L. Burke’s stories soon!

Caj’s Angel by Nikki Prince

Caj’s Angel by Nikki Prince
Eternal Lovers Book 1
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Erotic Romance, Paranormal
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Caj was once human and in love with an angel named Mercy. Having committed an unforgiveable sin, Caj is punished by The Maker to take on the sins of others so that those souls can be ushered into heaven by an angel. Caj is finding it hard to reconcile who he used to be with what he has become and feels he should let Mercy go.

But can he?

Mercy sees Caj as she remembered him. She knows that he beats himself up daily for his own sins, let alone having to take on others’ sins as a penance. The only way for them to be together is for him to go before The Maker and make amends or their love will be lost forever.

Will The Maker allow them their happiness or are Caj and Mercy forever doomed to have loved and lost?

Short, but packs a punch.

I picked up this book because I hadn’t read one by Nikki Prince yet. I’m glad I rectified that situation. This one is short, but as I said above, it packs a punch. The writing is good and the idea fantastic. This took me a lunch hour to read, but it was time well used.

Mercy and Caj have so much potential and should be together. I loved the almost fated romance of this story. They have history and they have problems, but it’s relatable. We all have things we wish we could change and end up taking on more strife or stress to make up for that–like Caj. I felt for them both and wanted to see them have a happy ending. That’s how much I got involved in this short story.

If you’re looking for something hot, but sweet and good for a quick read, then this is the one for you.

Unsalvageable by J Hali Steele

Unsalvageable by J Hali Steele
Sanguine Blood Seekers Book 1
Publisher: Changeling Press/Razor’s Edge
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, LGBTQ
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Vampires are real! Sten Majkovic has lived longer than he ever dreamed possible. Among his kind it isn’t easy having a slim, lithe build, but it does have advantages in the human world. He welcomes attention of men who appreciate his appearance. Their mistake is expecting to hold the upper hand. None ever do. And not a single one of them realizes his rabid need for blood — until it’s too late…

Drew Riles’ life is shitty. Mid-fifties, passed over for promotion, he struggles to stay afloat until, nearly beaten to death, he’s rescued by a monster. Unsure how to survive, he flounders in unfamiliar territory. Anger soon replaces what little fear the beast allows as Drew comprehends the fiend has no intention of releasing him. Both emotions quickly evaporate as he watches the bloodthirsty creature use men in a way… God, I want to be those men!

Hot, hot, hot.

I love a good J Hali Steele book and this one didn’t disappoint. It’s hot. It’s right there in the blurb and the book delivers. The writing in this story flowed well and I read it in a matter of an afternoon.

Drew and Sten aren’t men that would normally be put together, but they work together well. Drew is cranky and older, but Sten is much older and not as cranky, but he’s a vampire. I liked that they danced around each other throughout the story and the slow burn quality was good. But this is a hot book and there is plenty of steam, too. I hope to see more of the other vampires in this story. They really captivated me, and I want to see them happy or at least sated.

If you’re looking for something quick, hot and guaranteed to singe the screen, then this might be the one for you.

The Wrong Mate by Jade Marshall

The Wrong Mate by Jade Marshall
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Paranormal
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Finding your mate should be the happiest time in any wolf shifter’s life. But what if your mate is the wrong mate?

Raine is finally old enough to find her mate, and she couldn’t be happier. Being in love with Max since the first time she met him, he is the only male that she has ever wanted. Now she has to convince Max that they’re meant to be together. Getting Max to accept their mating bond is the least of Raine’s problems, especially with the hunters closing in again.

Max loves Raine, but she can’t be his mate. He isn’t worthy. He can’t offer her the life that she deserves, so he leaves. Now he only has to convince his wolf to stay away because he knows he will never be able to refuse her. But when Raine is in danger, will he really have a choice?

There might be a ten-year difference between Max and Raine, but they’ve been best friends for a very long time and Max is not looking forward to the fact now Raine is about to turn eighteen her fated mate will likely claim her, and their friendship will be at an end. When Max meets Raine to give her the present he bought for her birthday, he discovers to his shock it’s he who is her fated mate. Certain this must be a mistake, can Max and Raine retain their friendship but still be what the other needs in a mate?

This is a very steamy and short shifter romance. While the plot was certainly little cliched to my mind, I still found this was an enjoyable read. Max needed to fight his own lack of self-confidence and realize that he and Raine were very well suited. Raine, for her part, was a modern woman – and confident enough in herself to know what she wanted. I enjoyed this balance of power and felt it added a good amount of conflict to the plot.

I was pleased the author added an interesting secondary plot once Max and Raine finally started to come together and work on their intimacy and their relationship began to grow. Rather than have the second half of the book just be purely sex-based I felt this really added a welcome depth and complexity to the short story that helped make it stand out amongst the other man paranormal shifter types of books out there. With a number of strong secondary characters and an interesting shifter world I feel this could be an interesting place for this author to set more future stories about other members of the pack.

With interesting characters, a bunch of steaminess and an interesting plot this was a great, albeit quick read. I’d definitely read more by this author.

Across Everlasting by Beth D Carter

Across Everlasting by Beth D Carter
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Erotic Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Kellen Tavist has had the same dream most of her life. A dream of battle. Of war. Of loss. During a Halloween séance, she and her friends try to conjure the spirit of a departed loved one. Instead, they conjure a ghost from Kellen’s past life.

Unnerved, Kellen’s life soon begins to unravel. Not only are her dreams growing stronger, but someone seems to want her dead. She turns to freelance journalist Raney Williams to help her figure out what she saw that warrants her silence.

The past and present are intertwined, and she can only have a future if she can figure out the conflicting feelings that have come across everlasting time.

Spooky, suspenseful and hot!

I love the work of Beth D Carter. Her writing flows well. It drew me right in and made me want to know what would happen next. This story was no exception. I flew through this story in an afternoon and only wish the story had been longer.

I liked the characters of Raney and Kellen. They’re hot together and the descriptions of them made them pretty much leap off the page. I liked the suspense in this story. The spookiness of the story helped, too. I also loved that Kellen is a strong heroine. She might be in it up to her eyeballs, but she can take care of herself.

The thread of reincarnation and understanding the past is a great addition to the story. I’m glad I picked up this novella.

If you want something that’s sexy, a little spooky, suspenseful and smooth reading, then this is the book for you.