Tag Archives: PNR

Review of First to Burn (Immortal Vikings #1), by Anna Richland

I purchased a secondhand, paperback copy of First to Burn (by Anna Richland) in a physical store.


The cover of First to Burn

Description from Goodreads:

A soldier with secrets

Immortal Viking Wulf Wardsen once battled alongside Beowulf, and now serves in Afghanistan. He’s trusted the mortal men on his elite special operations team to protect his secret, until an explosion lands Wulf in a place more dangerous to him than a battlefield: a medevac helicopter.

A doctor with questions

Army captain Theresa Chiesa follows the rules and expects the same from others, even special forces hotshots like Sergeant Wardsen. She’s determined to discover the secret behind his supernaturally fast healing, and she won’t allow his sexy smile to distract her.

An enemy with nothing to lose

Even as Theresa’s investigation threatens to expose him, Wulf is stirred by her passion. Dreaming of love and a normal life, he wants nothing more than to build a future with her. But the lost Viking relic needed to reverse his immortality is being hunted by another—an ancient enemy who won’t hesitate to hurt Theresa to strike back at Wulf.


Review:

Pretty good for what it is. But what it is is a bit of fluff. I enjoyed the banter between the main characters and the humor of the Special Forces men. I liked that the heroine was a soldier herself and came back strong after a fairly traumatic injury. I liked that the hero wasn’t an alpha A-hole and was really responsive to any ‘no’ she uttered, without any guilting or attempted manipulation.

I did think the narrative had too much going on, the whole immortality schtick wasn’t well enough developed to actually be needed, and the villain was defeated too easily. Also, the little bit of light, kinky play as therapy irritated me. Despite all that, I’d read more of the series and certainly more by this author.

Review of Sinless (Deadly Omen #1), by Jenica Saren

I received an audible code for a copy of Sinless, by Janice Saren.

Description from Goodreads:

So, introduction time and all that fun stuff. Yay. 
My name is Ria. Don’t ask about the last name, I don’t wanna talk about it. I am twenty-three years old and living a pretty glamorous life, what with the fiancé (he’s amazing, by the way), the nice car, the gorgeous house, and the job I love. Huh? The job? 
Okay, so yeah. I’m a stripper. How’s that for an opening line? 
Well, I had all of those things before shit hit the fan and I found myself in this tiny town in a not-so-tiny house. Speaking of the house, I have roommates. Six, actually. Let me clarify: I have six insanely hot, insanely weird, and insanely insane roommates. Gory details and all that be spared, shit’s getting real in this innocent-looking town and, let’s face it, I’m not qualified to handle bizarre crap. Not my thing; I’m a stripper for fuck’s sake. 
However, Eliam, Gatlin, Kellan, Gray, Beck, and Rafe seem to think that I am just the gal for the job. The Severin brothers are getting me all involved and in danger, and I’m truthfully terrified – not of the danger stuff, but these guys. There’s something different about them that I can’t quite put my finger on, but I swear I’m going to figure it out.

Review (with spoilers):

Not great. I like what the author was trying to do here. Ria is determined to be her own person. She shows backbone when she finds her boyfriend cheating. She has a meaningful friendship with another woman (i.e. not all other women are the enemy). She’s not afraid or ashamed of her own sexuality and doesn’t agonize over it. 

However, I think Saren failed in a lot of the execution. The inner-self was so overused that Ria simply felt mentally unhinged. It became a little more bearable when it was hinted toward the end that she might actually have a split personality. But as it was, I cringed (often literally) whenever Ria started describing her inner-self, complete with what she was wearing, how she was walking, what expression she had on her face, the tone of her voice, etc. I wanted Inner-Self to die and go away. 

Secondly, the six heroes. This was majorly problematic for me for two reasons. The first being that I couldn’t keep them all straight and tell them apart. Saren gave them accents and habits, but six men filling the same role is just too many. Secondly, this book is referred to as a reverse harem. Ria only actually has sex with two of them (I think, definitely not more). But it felt super icky to me because she seemed a lot more like a little sister that they all got to fondle and fuck. (Or maybe she got to fuck her big brothers, as she was perfectly willing to initiate the act, which I did appreciate.) What’s more, Ria is a serious case of fawned over by all the males for being special, while not really doing anything particularly special beyond existing. 

Lastly (and this is a big one for me), the mystery/villian. It’s secondary to the plot, not even being addressed until the halfway mark. Then, one red herring villain is dispatched off-page and super anticlimactically. Cue Ria’s too-stupid-to-live tantrum because the men won’t listen to her about another villain still being at large (and they act surprised when this turns out to be true). But come one, the man stabbed her with a magical athame and by all description looked like a freakin’ zombie. This did not fly as something centuries-old, experienced people would miss. I 100% think the author forgot she’d included the stabbing in her plot. (I’m only half joking here.)

All in all, readable, but not a real winner for me. The narrator (Melissa Schwairy) did a great job though. 

Review of The HOT Wolf (Werewolves On Heat Series #1), by Ellie Valentina

I received an Audible code for this book (Hot Wolf, by Ellie Valentina), or rather for the compilation of the first three books in the Werewolves on Heat series. It was my plan to save the reviews for a single blog post, once I had listened to them all. However, I’m traveling for the holidays and don’t anticipate actually finishing the series in 2019. My sense of order just won’t let me a review a book I read in 2019 in 2020. So, I’m posting this one now and will post again when I finish the series next year….decade. Crazy.

Description from Goodreads:

Ava Sparks was a paranormal assassin tasked with eradicating werewolves from existence. 

Her latest target was gorgeous billionaire Chase Elliot. Intelligence suggested he was hiding a secret life as a werewolf and because of that he was to be erased from existence. 

However, once Ava became close to the charming Chase she made a stunning realization that changed everything. 

Now, instead of killing the werewolf, she was to find herself making love to him and life as everyone knew it would never be the same again… 

Review:

First, I think both the title and the cover of this book are misleading. The title makes you think it’s erotica, but it’s not at all. There is VERY LITTLE heat in it. What’s more, the werewolf in question is very cool and collected. He may be attractive, but hot isn’t an adequate description of him as a whole. He’s a politician, not a soldier or anything else that would have him hulking ripped on the cover either. All in all, you are simply given there wrong first impression of this book (and probably series). 

This is exacerbated by the fact that werewolves are basically extraneous to the plot. The characters could be from opposing political factions, or ninja clans or corporate spies. None of it would change the plot one iota. I was disappointed by this fact.

Getting past all that, I though it was still only so-so (not bad, but not good either). The ‘parents’ seem to make decisions based on who knows what that make the heroine go off and make ill-thought plans and take poorly executed actions. (She’s awfully inept for an experienced assassin.) She seems to have several personality shifts throughout the book. And the happily-ever-after is just too pat to stomach easily.