Out of Bounds by Melissa Klein


Out of Bounds by Melissa Klein
Out of Uniform Series
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (225 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Avery Madigan lives by a strict code of conduct that’s helped her rise through the ranks of navy pilots. Rule number one—never mix business with pleasure.

Lt. Commander Connor St. James never met a regulation he didn’t want to break, especially if it involves making love to a certain auburn-haired woman who’s starred in his dreams since the Naval Academy.

When their worlds once again collide, the impact is nothing short of incendiary and the rule book is thrown overboard. Can a vacation hookup change the course of their lives, or will competition send their love up in flames?

Lt. Commander Avery “Mad Dog” Madigan, retired Navy and Lt. Commander Connor “Titan” St. James, retired Navy, have been competing with each other for twenty years along with fighting their dangerous attraction to each other. These two make the pages of this novel sizzle every time they get close to each. They send the reader’s heart rate sky high and pump adrenaline full speed ahead.

Now, both of them are struggling to make a success of their civilian jobs in the competitive aviation business. Each of them has family issues that threaten to devastate. Moreover, Avery fears Connor has dealt underhandedly with her—that he stepped out of bounds in order to win a contract she desperately needed to keep her job.

The foreshadowing is a steady undercurrent that flows along with the current happenings of the story. Some of it is foreboding enough to create anxiety and to bring about a thorough dislike for Avery’s ex-husband who has to be one of the most self-centered people around. The author does a super good job of showing the reader who he is, even though we don’t ever really meet him.

The back story is sifted in at just the right times to augment and add special significance to the Avery and Connor’s relationship, to family “almost” wrecks, and to tried-and-true friendships. Also a subtle humor lightens the situations from time to time.

Out of Bounds is a page-turning story that is well-written with characters that seem SO real.

GOOD READING!

Man Down by Tracy Tappan

Man Down by Tracy Tappan
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Contemporary, Action/Adventure
Length: Full (371 pgs)
Heat: Spicy
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

After being shot down by the Taliban on a Special Operations mission, a Navy pilot and Navy SEAL rescue a beautiful humanitarian doctor. While the three of them evade capture in a race for their lives across northern Pakistan, the two former boyhood friends heal a 10-year breach, and the pilot and doctor find a way to let go of their painful pasts to find love.

Content guidelines: Contains profanity and adult situations. Sensitive readers might find a scene depicting the death of a pet upsetting.

Filled with action, lots of military jargon and enough romance to satisfy, Man Down kept me turning pages from the start.

First, I have to say how grateful I was for the easy to use glossary in the book. One click on an unfamiliar military term took me to the definition, and one more click took me right back to where I was in the story. Loved that feature!

While the book was presented to me as romantic suspense, I’d be more inclined to call it an action novel with romantic elements. Yes, our H/h met near the beginning of the book and there was clearly attraction between them, but not much more than that until nearly the end of the book. And, actually, I didn’t mind that at all. One complaint I often have with fast-paced “thriller” type stories is how the characters manage to take time to heat up the sheets while their lives are on the line. That didn’t happen here, and made things feel more realistic and authentic. When they did finally get physical, though… WHEW! The heat was on for sure!

I’m not typically a fan of stories told through flashbacks, though, and this book is packed with them. I understand what the author was trying to accomplish, and that the information needed to be shared with the reader; the flashbacks were a fantastic way to put the reader in the moment and let us feel what the characters were actually going through (and some of the things that happened were incredibly horrific–note the warning in the blurb), but even so, the time jumps were frequently frustrating for me. Other readers may not have the same trouble with them.

The characters were interesting and well-rounded. I got very invested in them and worried a lot during their trip out of danger. I really enjoyed Farrin and how open and honest and caring she was. It was a little surprising, given her background, and I was pleased to see she hadn’t been permanently scarred by her treatment as a child. I was utterly horrified by Jason’s upbringing, though, and I read one scene right before bed that I couldn’t get out of my mind for some time after.

All-in-all I was impressed by this author. I’ve never read anything by her (and as an aside, this is part of a series, but stands alone just fine) but I fully intend on reading the next book. I have got to know what happens to Shane!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ghost Wolf by Elsa Jade


Ghost Wolf by Elsa Jade
Wolves of Angels Rest – Book 6
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (94 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

The harvest moon is rising…

Corrine Ayres was a werewolf with a charmed life. Until her love was taken from her in a place called Mesa Diablo.

Javier Roque’s wolf never rose, so he left Angels Rest to make his own way. Until a deadly threat to his pack brought him home.

Can the widowed she-wolf and the tattooed bad boy missing his wild side find what they desire? Or will they lose everything before they can claim their fate?

A bad boy werewolf who isn’t a wolf sounds like it’s its own conflict. If that’s not intriguing enough, this story picks up with someone I met in the last book, Lost Wolf. Corrine has had the worst thing happen to her. The love of her life, her other half, for all intents and purposes now belongs to another woman and is mated to her courtesy of the hated Kingdom Guard. They destroyed the man she once knew and replaced him with a stranger. She had it all and lost it all. Both Javier and Corrine are tortured in different ways but they are both seeking something they believe is out of their reach – impossible dreams of happiness, love and fulfillment. At the point when I first watch them meet, they are both in a bad place in their lives and there’s no better hook than wanting to see them find their way to a happy ever after, together. But what is it going to take? That’s one of the questions that had me picking up this book, determined to find the answer. I already wanted peace for Corrine but how could Javier give it to her when he couldn’t find it for himself? Ghost Wolf has great hooks, awesome conflicts and a romance story that delivers a solid and well-earned HEA.

What I liked about this tale is that unlike the previous books, both the hero and heroine are part of the werewolf community. There are no secrets between them – they both understand werewolf culture. But Javier is an anomaly within that culture which is unique. Once again Ms. Jade has found a clever twist to make the paranormal genre her own. I enjoyed every minute.

The only thing that I felt was a disservice to Javier was his grandmother. Oh, there’s love, respect and a wonderful interaction between the two, but I just couldn’t understand why she didn’t want him in that little hut. Why didn’t she ever teach him anything? Why did she deny him? Why did she treat him that way when in every other aspect she proved she loved him unconditionally? How can he learn his way without being mentored? That was never explained so I was a bit bummed. There’s a story there that was never told and I felt the book suffered from the lack.

Except for that little dangle, I thought Ghost Wolf was a wonderful addition to the series and worth every minute of my time as I watched Corrine and Javier fall in love. Once again, the story celebrates what the power of love can do, even accomplishing the impossible. I continue to be impressed with this series and am enjoying myself tremendously. I wonder who is next?

Lost Wolf by Elsa Jade


Lost Wolf by Elsa Jade
Wolves of Angels Rest – Book 5
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (94 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

The harvest moon is rising…

The black wolf lost everything when the Kingdom Guard werewolf hunters drugged him, tortured him, and tried to turn him into a weapon against his own kind. All that remains is Zane—a man with no memories, no future, and a bloodthirsty monster lurking under his skin.

But after a seemingly chance encounter with a curvy, black-haired beauty, Zane starts to remember things: glimpses of his past, his favorite book, the taste of desire…

Mahalia Booker needed to dig up the past — just a few petroglyphs from an archeological site on Mesa Diablo — to finish her master’s in history. She never expected to uncover a secret society of werewolves thousands of years old. She’s always stood on the outside, but now she’s become a part of the story — a story with a scary, strangely fascinating and sexy hero…

Zane is an unusual hero even within the paranormal world – he’s an anomaly because he has no memory of who he was before his capture. No one knows the level of trauma and depravity this man has suffered through and how it’s affected his mind and sanity. He’s more animal than human yet the man I come to know in Lost Wolf has depth, passion, drive and all the makings of a true leading man. Hallie, the heroine, gets more than she expects when she comes to Angels Rest to do some research. Research that nothing and no one is going to stop her from accomplishing, but she never counted on meeting Zane and stumbling onto a secret more fascinating than anything she could have envisioned. Fate has something in store for both of them they never expected and the romance that evolves despite the challenges they have to overcome make this novelette another must read from the talented Ms. Jade.

Zane is the unknown assailant from the previous story. Initially it was thought he was unreachable and not able to be saved and there was a good chance he’d have to be destroyed. If a reader is a fan of the tortured hero redeemed theme then Lost Wolf delivers in spades. The very short prologue hints at how badly he’s been treated. It’s heartbreaking. It’s a great hook and very effective. The visual imagery Ms. Jade uses about the water washing ashore is as beautiful as it is haunting because of what it means to Zane’s sanity. Another strong bit of writing is when Zane first claps eyes on Hallie. That whole scene just sucked me in and pretty much stayed there for the rest of the book. A romance is born.

Characters from the initial books in the series are on hand to bring context, continuity and support to Zane and Hallie. There are a couple of new characters that are introduced which amp up the complications between the hero and heroine and create a powerful emotional tangle. For a while there was a lot of uncertainty which contributed to some drama and suspense.

The part when the wolves of Angels Rest were looking for their lost wolf gave me goosebumps. The writing was at its most powerful during this whole scene and made an impact. My emotions were in a tight grip from that point all the way to the very beautiful, poignant and promising happy ever after.

I don’t know how Ms. Jade does it but she’s continued the high quality of writing and storytelling even into this fifth installment of the Angels Rest Mating Season series. Lost Wolf is another keeper along with the previous books. I’m a happy reader and I can’t wait to find out who gets their HEA next.

Spirited Attraction by Ashantay Peters


Spirited Attraction by Ashantay Peters
Warning: Ghosts at Work
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (153 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Long ago, Julia Wilkinson left home and didn’t look back. Now she’s unwillingly facing her parents’ ghosts—and their plans for her love life.

Sam Bradley has a ghost of his own, his interfering and opinionated deceased father. He’s a parent with definite ideas about whom Sam should date.

Julia and Sam think they’re happy singles and resist their supernatural matchmakers. But when the ghosts combine efforts, all bets are off. Will Julia and Sam heed advice from the other side, or will they go their own way?

Julia has trust issues when it comes to romance. Her friends decide to set her up with a co-worker but Julia feels her klutzy ways will put the man off before the relationship even starts. Little do both of them know that help is on the way…spiritual help.

This book is very funny in places, sad in others and gives a nice cozy, cuddly feeling as well. Then, of course, there’s the spicy bedroom romantic get-together moments. I thought the spiritual assistance of both Julia’s deceased parents and Sam’s father provided comedy and helped the couple overcome their awkwardness and inability to communicate properly.

I smiled, had tears in my eyes and felt compassion all through reading one book. At the end of the novel I sighed, but the author hadn’t finished with her twists to the story. The final page was…well I won’t spoil it for other readers, but I finished reading with another smile.

Bandit by Fiona Roarke


Bandit by Fiona Roarke
Publisher: Nickel Road Publishing
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (178 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Miles Turner, a handler and operative with The Organization, a private security firm, is used to always being the man with the plan, the guy in control of everything around him. He can’t imagine any situation that would get the better of him — until he meets Sophie.
Traveling sales rep Sophie Rayburn has been burned by love before, but she’s determined not to spend Christmas Eve alone. When she spots sexy Miles at a run-down bar in a Podunk New Mexico bar, she decides he’d make the perfect gift to herself. Why shouldn’t she indulge them both with a little holiday cheer between the sheets?
Sensual sparks fly as soon as they come together, like they were made for each other, in bed and out. A kidnapping scheme, a drug scam and a dangerous mole don’t stand a chance.
Sweet, sexy Sophie is enough to make even a good man lose total control. And Miles is not good.
He’s all bad boy.

I started this book on a Saturday morning and finished it that night. It was challenging to read this book with so many chores on my “To- do” list. I’d read as much as I could before the dryer beeped. I never folded my laundry so fast! That was how my day went. My chores were done lightning fast so that I could read a few more chapters. I actually enjoyed my chores thinking about the story. The hero, Miles Turner, and the heroine, Sophie Rayburn, put a bounce in my step and a smile on my face. My husband asked me why I was in such a good mood. I replied because I’m in the middle of reading a really good book.

Honestly, “good book” doesn’t do Bandit justice. It was an excellent book! It was really difficult to put down. The suspense/mystery was riveting, and the relationship between Miles and Sophia was fast, full of passion and completely satisfying. Miles was the sexy operative that worked for a private security firm that I’d love to be rescued by. Sophia was sweet, brave and was a bit of a “TMI” (too much information) sharing kind of lady but Miles wasn’t put off by her honesty at all, which made me love them all the more.

The plot had a good mix of predictable and unpredictable story lines which kept me guessing. The pace was fast and only one of the reasons that made Bandit hard to put down. The writing style was smooth and easy to read. Fiona Roarke sure knows how to write! I felt like I could smell the smoking gun or feel the heat of the hot metal beneath my jaw. I was easily transported into the scene as it evolved – especially the love scenes. Oh boy, the love scenes; Miles was in my dreams that Saturday night! 🙂

I would most definitely recommend this book! Those who know me also know that I love books with a happily ever after and an epilogue. Epilogues to me are like a gift for delaying the end. I absolutely loved this book!

Half Wolf by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom


Half Wolf by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (304 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

His Secret…or Her Salvation?

When he stumbled upon a beautiful woman who’d been the victim of a vampire attack, Alpha wolf Michael Hunter faced an impossible choice. His honor dictated that he save her life. But the only way he knew to accomplish that was to make her one of his own. Now Kaitlin Davies was half Lycan and his responsibility as she underwent a dangerous transformation to full wolf.

Something within Kaitlin called to Michael’s inner wolf with an intensity he’d never felt. He wanted her. But as he witnessed the changes occurring in her body, he wasn’t sure what she was becoming. Had Michael created something that could destroy them both…or was her transformation as preordained as their passion?

Half Wolf has such a unique concept I couldn’t pass this book up. I thought for sure when I saw the title, and I read the first couple of chapters, that I knew what Kaitlin’s other ‘half’ was going to be. Wow, was I wrong! And, I was delighted with the author’s choice.

There is quite the cast of characters in this novel to support, guide, assist and complicate the growing relationship between Kaitlin and Michael. I get the sense that a few of them were from past books somewhere along the line and based upon how they’re described in this story, they must have been humdingers. I’ll be checking them out for sure. Anyway, back to this tale. At one point I felt two of the ‘visitors’ were more a distraction than a help. They acted like mavericks. Sure, one of their decisions garnered some extra help but it was how it was delivered that annoyed me. And when I envision the meaning of the word ‘pack’, I have a different picture in mind than what was delivered.

Then there are the mysterious visitors to Kaitlin. Who exactly are they? At one point I got the sense that she knew them, like really ‘knew’ them, and then, not. Then I got the impression that she was 100% something other than human, yet could come across as human and if she wasn’t human, I have to ask how in the world no tells or weirdness happened before in her life to clue her in that she was different? What was offered didn’t convince me. Especially since there was a reference to her parents, which then begs the question based upon how these people treated her, did her parents hide her because they were nicer people and didn’t want their daughter to develop a personality like those others? So many questions and too little time to explore fully the world that Thomas-Sundstrom created, that 304 pages just isn’t enough. It may sound like I had a negative reaction to all of this oddness but in actuality I want to learn more because the potential dynamics seem fascinating.

As for the villain of the piece, Kaitlin, Michael and their pack have their hands full dealing with the results of the evil guy’s dastardly machinations but he never battles the hero and heroine directly. At least not until the end, and even then it was fleeting. And, it’s not the end. Because there are two vile threads threatening their little sleepy hamlet and Half Wolf could only resolve one which must mean that there will be a second book. I’m good with that but it better get published soon because I want to read it. I hope a few of the ‘helper characters’ get to stay for that party as well.

Half Wolf left me with a lot of questions but the one thing it didn’t do was bore me. It was a fast, easy read because the concept intrigued me, the main characters were likable, the paranormal aspect had unique twists that delighted me and I enjoyed watching Kaitlin and Michael fall in love. There are a lot of positives to appreciate not the least of which are the love scenes between the hero and heroine.

I have no problem recommending Half Wolf to fellow paranormal romance readers but just be aware that it might whet your appetite for more of their story. And maybe like me, will want to continue reading about this engaging couple with their unusual paranormal challenges and their growing love. I get the strongest feeling that there is so much more left to discover and I’m vested enough in Michael and Kaitlin’s relationship, I hope to visit Clement again, soon.

Fire and Midnight by Sandra Renee Appet


Fire and Midnight by Sandra Renee Appet
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full Length (212 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Daisy

He could be her best worst decision…

With a glass of wine in hand, Jane Keegan’s finger is poised to delete the account her pushy BFF created for her on “The Cowboys” escort service website. Sure, she’s lonely, but not desperate. Then an image of sky-blue eyes and warm, tanned muscles jumps off the screen. And she finds herself hitting the “Book Now” button.

After all, why not? She’s a free, divorced woman on business in San Antonio. There’s nothing to lose…except her nerve. Especially when Mr. Tall Dark And Incredibly Sexy meets her at a River Walk bar—and his only-for-you smile turns her insides into a quivering mass of second thoughts.

Ryan Zeigler is enduring one last escort assignment only as a favor before hanging up his Cowboys hat to run his own restaurant. Yet there’s something about the pretty New Yorker’s vulnerable grin and I’ve-got-baggage eyes that halts his usual dating M.O. in its tracks.

When Ryan sweetens the deal—no strings, no payment expected—Jane the good girl takes the bold step of letting her vixen out to play. But when it’s time to go home, her heart is at a crossroads. Is Ryan the real deal? Or is she letting yet another man take her heart for a ride?

Meddling best friends get their partners in crime into the most embarrassing and enjoyable situations. Copious glasses of wine, a pushy friend, and more than a bit of loneliness after her divorce, get Jane to try a Cowboy escort. Of course, she gets more than she bargained for from this unusual date and wraps up the year during the holiday season with more than one surprise!

Ryan Zeigler is hot, mature, a successful businessman, and one of the most caring, family-loving men to come across many women’s path. With his Spanish background, he offers a charming mix of San Antonio to Jane’s palette, and her activities. The chemistry between him and Jane is sparking with electricity…and self-doubt. The sex scenes leave that doubt in the dirt 99% of the time to produce consensual, empowering scenes that feel intimate and personal rather than run of the mill. This partnership is made to last and its shown through each intentional, confidence-building move that Ryan makes.

Jane, on the whole, is a woman who has seen better days in her personal life and her personal approach to life. She needs revitalising and to be shown how to enjoy life again. I love that Ryan is the man to electrify her into the woman she should be, but I hate that very often alcohol is behind her decisions. Often, she is very passive in the face of a fork in the road, and this smacks both of a lack of confidence, and of an old-fashioned approach to relationships.

Of course, family and Jane’s pesky self-doubt as the older, divorced woman, puts a spanner in the works for the couple, which they must overcome long-distance. A tricky obstacle. This was where the book was lacking for me. The magical date scenes, the beauty of place and atmosphere in the getting-to-meet-you scenes were wonderful, truly immersive. The obstacles the couple must overcome are more run of the mill – predictable – and take a long time. The book could have been a good third shorter and still covered the ground it aimed to, while making the plot much more succinct and enjoyable. For me, the book wandered too much after the first major obstacle and became more of a tick the boxes approach to traditional romance: marriage, kids, family life, working life, and the white picket fence. I suspect much of my reluctance here is due to my experiences and age. I’m not an almost thirty woman looking to settle down and I’m not looking for that traditional passive, inexperienced female and super-experienced male sex king, relationship. That’s not my ideal and doesn’t chime with my values.

For many others, Fire and Midnight will tick the boxes of their dream man and their dream life. Certainly, the locations of San Antonio and its River Walk are almost Venice-like in the beauty of the picture which is painted, and the loving relationship which is begun under its roofs. This place and lifestyle is what I fell in love with, and I’m sure many other readers will swoon at the chance to experience the lifestyle painted in the rivers, gondolas and eateries, all with splashes of Spanish charm.

My Traveling Man by Dee Dee Lane


My Traveling Man by Dee Dee Lane
Slip in Time Series

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Holiday, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (92 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Alice Hanstrom prefers books to people, facts over feelings, and in her world, “adventure” is just a word in the dictionary. That is until the night she braves shadowed hallways of the Cowboy and Western Museum in pursuit of a long​-lost diary. Her search of an antique covered wagon halts abruptly when the museum slips Alice back in time.

Thomas Bristol is an experienced wagon master. On a daily basis he deals with cholera, exhausted oxen, and river rapids on the treacherous journey to Oregon Territory. But he’s completely flummoxed when a mysterious woman appears in Big Blue River.

On the trail, Alice and Thomas strive to balance his love of roaming adventure and her desire for predictable orderliness. As the wagon train reaches Independence Rock, the sparks between them catch fire. But can such different people become equal partners in love…and can their love survive the slip in time?

Alice, is an academic who is studying for her PhD. Her research takes place in the Cowboy and Western Museum and concerns the American west, in particular the wagon trains that travelled west in the mid-1800s. When an accident causes a slip through time, Alice finds a new life in a wagon train. She also finds Thomas Bristol who becomes the love of her life.

I loved this book. Alice’s thoughts on what was happening around her and her thoughts on her research coming to life were fascinating. Her interpretation of the Fourth of July celebrations were quite unique, considering the year she was from and the year she was now living in. One thing I found strange was that no one questioned where she’d come from. You’d think the wagon master or the family she travelled with would at least ask, but I don’t remember that at all.

All through the story, and the heated love scenes, the question hovered – would she return to her own time and if she did would that be the end of any love between her and Thomas? I won’t spoil the story by revealing the ending, but I will say it’s a unique and clever way of finishing the tale.

Waking the Serpent by Jane Kindred


Waking the Serpent by Jane Kindred
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (304 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

The Millionaire’s Redemption…

When Sedona’s most eligible bachelor is accused of murdering a local psychic, medium Phoebe Carlisle finds herself drawn into the danger that surrounds him—by the meddling of the shades she channels and by his irresistible charms. A public defender and a gifted medium, Phoebe is devoted to justice—and not just for the living. Proving Rafe Diamante’s innocence means conjuring up two shades who were former lovers and now ignite the chemistry between their hosts.

Rafe can’t afford to lose control and act on his feelings for Phoebe. His unfulfilled sexual tension begins to stir something inside him—the legacy of Quetzalcoatl. But as these newfound abilities awaken a dormant power in Rafe, can he stop the real murderer in time to claim his true destiny?

The concept is intriguing, the characters are fascinating, the plot is your typical megalomaniac who has gone off the deep-end causing mayhem and death, and a strong hero and heroine needs to save the day. It’s a very busy novel.

The plot is what drew me to read this book. The story was original in many aspects and certainly Rafe and Phoebe were attention grabbing and engaging as a couple. The plot seems straightforward in the beginning but as the tale goes on, it’s much bigger, darker and devious than anything I’ve ever encountered or expected. The author gets high marks for originality in that area.

I liked how the author wrote Phoebe and the twin’s relationship and that includes their dialogue, their actions and the obvious love the siblings have for each other. That rapport and bond is very important in the story.

Rafe was an enigma. The author tackled an extremely difficult subject and used it to good effect in the book. It was deftly handled and prevented a reader from the full harsh ick factor.

There was much to like, respect and enjoy in Waking the Serpent but there were some parts that fell flat for me as well. The yo-yo seesaw sexual dance between Rafe and Phoebe was dizzying and not always in a good way. I understood what was really happening, and how integral it was to the plot, but I didn’t always enjoy it. In fact, there were three times that I had to close the book and walk away because the plot twist made me uncomfortable. The good news is that the overall story and basic dynamics between the hero and heroine drew me back every time. As much as I needed to take a break from what was going on in the book at that moment, I had to return to the story to find out what happened next, how they got past it, and where it led.

Another thing I believed that should have had great potential but fell flat was the power of Quetzalcoatl. I wasn’t as impressed as I felt I could have been because I wasn’t shown any power that left me in awe. It’s like the villain had all the FAQs making it too easy to manipulate everyone, and all my favorite people in the novel were reactive instead of proactive. Eventually the heroine and her allies get with the program, figure things out and save the day, but it didn’t have the oomph that a plot dealing with any aspect of Quetzalcoatl should have had.

Even with those not so great aspects of the novel, Waking the Serpent did have a romance worth reading about. Again, the author surprised me with another type of happy ever after that tied in perfectly with Rafe and Phoebe’s HEA. It was a nice touch and at one point was highly sentimental and sniffle-worthy. Well, one of them was…the other might inspire the need for a cold shower. Both were welcomed, well done and satisfied my need for a solid, positive ending.

Waking the Serpent is a good read on many fronts. It does have a strong paranormal element that is intriguing and likeable at times, and at other junctures it’s dramatic and suspenseful. There is definitely some strong writing within its pages that are worth taking a look at and the book has a satisfying happy ending. For some paranormal romance fans, this book might even be more appealing than it was for me. I guess you’ll have to read it for yourself and find out.