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an unseen midlife banner

Book Review: Bloom in Blood & Dance in Night, by L.A. Boruff and Lainie Anderson

I accepted a free Audible Code for a copy of L.A. Boruff and Lainie Anderson‘s Dance in Night through FreeAudiobookcodes.com. However, I didn’t realize at the time that it is book two in the series. So, I then had to hunt up a copy of Bloom in Blood, which I did.
unseen midlife covers

About Bloom in Blood:

At thirty-seven, the worst possible thing happened. Now, at forty-two, Riley has nearly given up.

Five years ago, my world was turned upside down when my husband and sons disappeared without a trace. I mourned, I searched, and when I got no answers, I began to prepare.

Nobody will catch me vulnerable again.

I was wrong to think my life couldn’t get any crazier. Now there are two vampires at my door telling me my missing family wasn’t human…and neither am I. I have a chance to regain everything I’ve lost. But first, I have to find the truth about my heritage, all while fighting the overwhelming attraction I have for my missing husband’s best friends.

No matter what, my mourning is done. My life is in my control again. And I will burn the world to the ground to get my family back.

my review

This has an interesting premise and characters. But the execution…OMG, the execution is so bad. I picked this book up because I accepted an audible code for a copy of Dance in Night—book two of the series—without realizing it is a sequel. So, I had to step back and find this book to read first. If I hadn’t committed to reading and reviewing book two and therefore needed to finish book one, I would have DNFed this pretty early on.

The narrative is almost entirely dialogue, which leaves very little room for world-building that isn’t just info-dumped from one character to another for the benefit of the reader. And so much of the dialogue is painfully stilted. Worst of all, in my opinion (because it’s a pet peeve—once you notice, you can’t stop noticing), names are constantly included in the dialogue.

Authors, step back and think about a conversation you have with friends and family in real life. How often do you actually say the name of the person you’re talking to? I find the constant inclusion of names in dialogue one of the fastest ways to make writing feel amateurish.

Plus, the name of this series is An Unseen Midlife. The character is 42. It’s meant to fit in the Paranormal Women’s Fiction genre. A genre for women approaching middle age who are past the starting a family stage and are moving on to finding themselves again outside of the role of wife and mother. So, when the plotline is all about the importance of her babies (and ends with her pregnant with another), it breaches the contract of the genre, in my opinion.

Add to all of the above the fact that the plot rockets at such a pace that nothing is allowed time bloom in blood phototo grow or develop, and the result is a complete flop for me.

The writing and editing are mechanically sound, and the book has a cool cover. (The series has cool covers, rather.) And I appreciate that Riley is a full-sized woman. She’s a size 18 when her husband falls in love with her. But that’s about the most positive thing I have to say about any of it.

About Dance in Night:

Several months after the heartbreaking events in the ruins of the Isla Del Sol, all Riley wants is to resolve her complicated past and move on with life.

Pregnant, married, and safe, she never expects to be kidnapped while on vacation with her husbands.

Her kidnappers open her eyes to a dangerous threat to her baby’s entire existence. Her children’s safety is her top priority, and Riley will stop at nothing to achieve it. Is she strong enough to save her family?

my review

Meh. I liked this one a lot more than the first in the series. But I 100% stand by my previous assertion that THIS IS NOT PWF. Paranormal Women’s Fiction focuses on what women do once they have passed the stage of life of marriage and babies. And while the character here is in her forties, she is freshly married and pregnant for most of the book, then she has the baby, and the rest of dance in nightthe book focuses on baby issues. THAT IS EXPLICITLY NOT PWF, and it feels like dishonesty on the part of the authors to pretend it is.

As for the plot itself, it’s pretty shallow and predictable. It’s not bad, per se, but there’s not a lot to it. (And honestly, I skipped past the spicy times, just not invested enough to bother.) All in all, I’m not too disappointed to read it, but I am very glad to have it off my TBR.

Other Reviews:

A Cougar Among Wolves

Book Review: A Cougar Among Wolves, by Kali Willows

A Cougar Among WolvesI picked up an Audible code for A Cougar Among Wolves (by Kali Willows) bouncing around the internet somewhere, probably Free Audiobook Codes. It was narrated by Ruby Rivers.

A sadistic attack leaves Klaya, a Puma Clan Cougar, critically injured and the last of her family ferociously slain. She stumbles into Black Hills wolf territory and collapses. Now under the protection of the pack, she finds herself whisked away to hide out in a cave until her old friend the alpha returns. Potentially the last of her shifter kind, she has nothing left to lose, but her life and a chance to avenge her brother.

After a dangerous rescue, on the edge of pack territory, Seth and Rogue take a woman on the brink of death back to the pack. Her identity and why she was brutalized is a mystery. The pieces soon fit together proving this assault was no coincidence. The Black Hills wolf pack faces a bigger threat than they could even imagine. The trio soon find themselves on a tumultuous journey of life and death and relentless lust.

my reviewMeh, not horrible (if you like this particular subset of erotic fantasy) but not great either. Honestly, I found a lot of it cheesy, ESPECIALLY THE VERY LONG SEX SCENE. I literally rolled my eyes and made gagging sounds. I was just so super cheesed out! But the brother-mates are sweet (which is a pleasant change from the alpha-asshole norm) and I appreciated the heroine’s independent streak. Just don’t go into this one expecting any depth or a complex plot and you’ll probably enjoy it well enough.


Double the alpha title

Book Review of Double the Alpha, by Amira Rain

Doubel the Alpha audio coverI came across an Audible code for Double the Alpha, by Amira Rain at some point earlier this year. It’s narrated by Meghan Kelly and I listened to it as I did housework today.

She knew she could handle one alpha, but could she handle TWO?”

In an apocalyptic future, Ellie Miller realized that the only way to keep her people safe was to do a deal with the nearby wolf pack.

In exchange for protection, she would offer them the only thing she could offer…


And that was something that the alpha Eric McCormick would gladly accept.

However, when Ellie arrived at the pack she found there was a twist. Eric had joined forces with another alpha named Ryan.

Now Ellie must be mated to both of them or the deal was off….


This failed on so many levels, but the biggest one is as a romance. The next is as a menage, then as an attempt at erotica, and also as an attempt at not-zombie-but-might-as-well-be-zombie apocalyptic fiction and fantasy.

Let’s start with the romance and menage aspects since they are entwined. [I’ll warn you again, SPOILERS.] You CANNOT introduce the reader to two mates, spend 3/4 of a book building this relationship up and then suddenly have the female decide she doesn’t actually love both men and one man conveniently turns out to be a treacherous betrayer (all within some shockingly short amount of time). It WILL leave the reader feeling disconnected and dissatisfied at the end. I hadn’t been given the chance to truly engage with and come to have any feelings about the couple. NONE. Which meant the ending hit the ground with a giant splat. What’s more, if that’s the way an author wants to play it, they shouldn’t put “menage romance” on the cover because that’s not what it is when all is said and done

Further, the sex scenes were stale and pitiful. The sex was spoken about as if it was sooo transgressive and kinky, but literally, the female felt “filthy” and kinky because she liked being called a “naughty girl” and having sex on her knees. There isn’t anything wrong with relatively vanilla sex in a book, but to have the narrator talk about it like it’s something else always jars me. It’s like a nun trying to titillate. It just clashes and they don’t have any real grasp of how little they know. (Or I should say the stereotype of a nun, because in real life they may all be porn addicts for all I know.)

Then there were the not-zombies and fantasy aspects of the book. The not-zombies were literally just window dressings, there but of no real importance. The same can be said for the wolf aspect. The men could have been alpha-like soldiers and the book would have read exactly the same. What’s more, the author gave the main character a superpower and then left her home baking cupcakes, never giving it purpose.

Actually, as much as I complain about the sex scenes or ridiculous plot drift that resulted in the menage being reduced to a couple, my biggest irritant about the book was how the “males” were always being spoken about as active in protection, and work, and decisions, etc and the “females” were never truly included as anything but after-thoughts—pretty little baubles to be left at home while the men-folk were out being important.

Lastly, the author needs to do a search of her manuscript for repeat words, “community” and the phrase “or something” especially. Every character says “or something” constantly. If it was one character I’d call it a character quirk, but as it’s all of them it’s just noticeable and annoying repetition in the writing.

All in all, I’m awful glad to not be listening to this anymore.