Tag Archives: shifters

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.

Review of Beneath a Blood Lust Moon (Rise of the Arkansas Werewolves #2), by Jodi Vaughn

I received and audible credit for a copy of Beneath a Blood Lust Moon, by Jodi Vaughn.

Description from Goodreads:

Werewolf Braxton Devereaux would do anything to protect his mother from his abusive father, even commit murder. Or so everyone assumes. Pack Law justice is swift and unforgiving when it comes to murder, and soon werewolf Assassins are out to balance the scales – Braxton’s life for his father’s. On the run, Braxton flees on his Harley to the anti-extradition state of Missouri, but before he crosses the border, he is felled by an Assassin’s bullet, and an unsuspecting blonde. Kate Wolph is in a legal battle to avoid losing her Bed and Breakfast to foreclosure. The last thing she needs is an injured wolf to care for, let alone a gorgeous man with blank eyes and a deadly smile. But the supernatural world of danger that surrounds him threatens to swallow more than just her life. Can Braxton track down the real killer before the Assassins find him, or will Pack Justice cost him not only his life but the life of the only woman he’s ever loved?

Review:

This is a perfectly serviceable werewolf-finds-his-mate story. It fulfilled it’s purpose and the writing is pretty solid. Unfortunately for me, it contained a number of my absolute most hated PNR elements that adversely effected my enjoyment of it.

For example, I cannot express how much I hate when characters (especially female characters) can’t tell dream for reality and use the “this must be a dream” as an excuse to bypass their inhibitions. I think it’s weak storytelling. As if the author couldn’t come up with a feasible reason to give the woman sexual agency (and/or time to develop feelings for the love interest), except to remove her from reality. What’s more, unless the author gives me a reason (mental illness, drugs, knock to the head, etc) for why a woman can’t tell fantasy from reality, I have to question the character’s intelligence and I don’t want vapid, stupid heroines.

I dislike that the pet name Baby was dropped into almost all the sex scenes, from the very beginning. It irks me when a female character is supposed to be sexually active, but have never had an orgasm or even experimented at all (so, a symbolic virgin). At least one fairly significant character was introduced and then dropped from the story. I noticed at least one inconsistency in the plot. It’s never explained why an execution order went out so fast without anyone ever verifying he murdered anyone or even trying. (As in it’s never even questioned by authority.) The heroine ran off in a cliched TSTL manner. The authors’ were seriously over the top, inappropriate (if male characters did 1/2 of what they did we’d be calling for blood), and felt self-indulgent on the actual author’s part. And the two villains were paper thin, one not even being part of the plot at all really and the second’s motivation being murky.

But those are personal pet peeves that might not bother me so bad if they weren’t already on my radar as annoying elements. Others may not mind them at all. Similarly, Jeffery Kafer did a great job with the narration. But I would have SO preferred a female narrator for this book. (Again, personal opinion)

All in all, not bad. Just maybe not 100% for me. I didn’t dislike it. I just also spent an above average amount of time going, “Oh, and there is another annoying inclusion.” It did stand-alone fairly well. I hadn’t read book one in the series.

Review of Into the Mist (Falcon Mercenary Group #1), by Maya Banks

I borrowed a copy of Into the Mist, by Maya Banks, through Hoopla.

Description from Goodreads:

Hostage recovery specialist Eli Chance has a secret. He was born a shifter. A freak of nature.

While on a mission, Eli’s men and their mercenary guide are exposed to a powerful chemical agent, and suddenly his secret has become easier to hide. Now he’s not the only one with the gift. But for his men, this “gift” is becoming more and more of a curse.

Tyana Berezovsky’s brother Damiano was the guide for Eli’s team and was the worst affected by the chemical. As he grows increasingly unstable, Tyana fears she’s going to lose him to the beast he is becoming.

Tyana will do whatever it takes to help him, even if it means using her body to go after the one man she thinks holds all the blame—and possibly the cure. Eli Chance.

Review:

Anyone who has read my reviews very often will have come across at least one in which I’ve said that I used to think I hated the romance genre and refused to read it. Then, one day, I Realized that it wasn’t actually romance I hated but the gender representations common in romance books. I’ve learned that if I’m selective, I can quite enjoy romance. 

Into the Mist is not one of those books. It is full of all the gendered BS that I hate and avoided for so very long. Tyana is supposed to be strong and talented and skilled, but she’s a walking disaster of TSTL. Her primary character development is being a rape victim as a child. And sadly, that’s more than anyone else in the novel gets. 

The paranormal aspects of the book are so sketchy and poorly thought out that I finally just decided that they’re there as window dressing to world the characters live in. And that world is so ill-defined that I didn’t even know if shifters were out or not. So, basically the world existed simply to give the characters different places to have sex. And the sex wasn’t even that hot. 

All in all, as my first Banks book, I was disappointed. Additionally, the narrator did a fine job. However, I hated the fragile, breathy way she played Tyana. It only exacerbated my frustration with the book.