Tag Archives: Paranormal romance

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Book Review: Luna Rising, by Sara Snow

I borrowed a copy of Sara Snow‘s Luna Rising through Amazon’s Prime Reading. I’ve been avoiding new adult and young adult books lately. So, I’m not entirely sure why I borrowed this. But I assume I had a reason at the time. *shrug*

Luna Rising Sara Snow

Xavier Blackwood is the man every girl at my college dreams about at night, myself included, but I’d never let anyone know that.

Standing at 6’8 with steel grey eyes, he’s a walking dream, but he’s also a world-renowned jerk.

Who would have thought that one night, after dragging myself home after doing double shifts at the diner, I’d be jumped by three men…only to have Xavier come to my rescue.

Oh yes, Xavier bloody Blackwood saved my life…but the thing I saw, the CREATURE that ripped those men to shreds wasn’t the Xavier everyone knows.

He wasn’t human…

He was a wolf, a demon, a creature from myths, and it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen until he attacked me too and knocked me out.

Humans that learn about the existence of werewolves have to die.

…There are NO exceptions.

The Werewolf Xavier saved me, but now I am condemned to death

To make things worse, both Xavier and Axel claim I am their mate

…this can’t be good.

my review

You know, when it comes to Fated Mates shifter books we’ve read it all before. There is nothing new under the sun. But seeing the combination of circumstances (even familiar ones) the author puts the mates in and getting to know them is what makes the trope fun to read. And this is where Snow fails with Luna Rising. We don’t get any of that. There is almost no world-building. We’re given very little meat plot-wise. We only get to know Ruby a little bit (and only because so much of the book is her navel gazing…or waking up, she sleeps A LOT), Xavier almost none, and Axel absolutely none at all. And then the book ends before anything really begins. This almost feels more like and extended outline than an actual fleshed out book. There isn’t even enough her to feel connected to anything or anyone. The writing is pedestrian but fine. I don’t think I’ll bother with the rest of the series though. But if anyone wants a taste of the series, there is apparently a prequel available here.

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Other Reviews:

Luna Rising by Sara Snow – A Book Review

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Book Review: The Alpha’s Warlock, by Eliot Grayson

I saw The Alpha’s Warlock, by Eliot Grayson, recommended on Instagram. I borrowed an audio copy through Hoopla.
the alpha's warlock

Cursed, mated, and in for the fight of their lives….

Warlock Nate Hawthorne just wants a cup of coffee. Is that too much to ask? Apparently. Because instead of precious caffeine, all he gets is cursed by a pack of werewolves who want to use him for his magic. Now the only way to fix the damage is a mate bond to a grumpy and oh-so-sexy alpha in the rival pack, who happens to hate him. This is so not how he wanted to start his day.

Ian Armitage never intended to take Nate as his mate. The Hawthorne family can’t be trusted. Ian knows that better than anyone. The fact that he’s lusted after the way-too-gorgeous man for years? Totally irrelevant. Ian’s just doing what is necessary to protect his pack. This whole mating arrangement has nothing to do with love and never will. That’s his story and he’s sticking to it.

Nate and Ian will have to work together if they have any hope of staving off the pack’s enemies and averting disaster. That’s assuming they can stop arguing (and keep their hands off each other) long enough to save the day….

my review

This wasn’t very good.The idea underpinning it was fine and the writing seemed readable (though I had an audio copy, so that’s hard to judge), and the narrator did a good job. But the execution was simply lacking. The book felt like a second book, though I don’t think it is. The plot is far too focused and centered in a small room with two people and far too little on what is happening in general, such that whole swaths of the plot fell flat and there wasn’t any resulting tension (even in scenes where there should have been). The bickering between Nate and Ian didn’t feel like appreciable banter, but like two adolescents sniping at one another and I didn’t feel the love at all. I gathered that the author was trying to infer the two had had crushes on one another for a while, but you don’t feel it. All in all, this one was a flop for me.

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Other Reviews:

Review: The Alpha’s Warlock (Mismatched Mates #1) by Eliot Grayson

Review: The Alpha’s Warlock by Eliot Grayson

Book Review: The Alpha’s Warlock (Mismatched Mates Book 1) by Eliot Grayson [Audiobook]

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Book Review: Fierce Cowboy Wolf, by Kait Ballenger

I won a copy of Kait Ballenger‘s Fierce Cowboy Wolf.

fierce cowboy wolf cover

She’s all he wanted, but was unable to claim…until now.

Sierra Cavanaugh has worked her whole life to become the first female elite warrior in Grey Wolf history. With her nomination finally put forward, all she needs is the pack council’s approval. But those stuffy old wolves refuse to elect her unless she finds herself a mate.

Packmaster Maverick Grey was reconciled to spending the rest of his life alone. Now, upon entering into treaty renegotiations with the other Seven Range clans, he needs the elite warrior vacancy filled—and fast. If Sierra needs a mate, this is his chance to claim her. But Sierra has an agenda of her own for their union, and they’ll need to work together against the assassin intent on barring the deal. For these two rivals, the only thing more dangerous than fighting the enemy at their backs is battling the war of seduction building between them…

my review

*Mild spoiler warning*

I’m very middle of the road on how I feel about this book. There were some things I liked a lot, some things I didn’t like at all, some things I thought I’d hate that turned out to be appreciable instead, and some things I thought I’d love but Ballenger managed to sully. That’s a mixed bag of feelings not easy to get on paper.

I guess the best I can do is take them one at a time, even if some of them overlap. I liked Sierra a lot. I liked that she was independent, forward thinking, and willing to pursue her own desires. I like watching strong men realize a woman is their emotional salvation, as Maverick eventually did. It’s one of those ‘Yes, it’s problematic but it ticks my sexy buttons’ sort of things. I liked that the sex didn’t get all dominant and submissive, undermining Sierra’s right to her strength, as was really popular in romance for a while.

I disliked that, even if Ballenger was willing to set aside many of the icky tropes so common in romance, she wasn’t willing to set aside the expectation of virginity one. She did try to give reasons Sierra was still a virgin well past the age one would expect it. But it still felt like a ‘qualifier of female purity’ line that she wasn’t willing to cross.

And as this plot point played out, it came to a scene where Sierra embarrassingly admitted her virginity to Maverick and asked him to teach her to pleasure a man. And I wanted to DNF the book right there. I thought, “Shit, she’s going to play the ingénue (which doesn’t fit her character at all) and I’m going to have to sit through all the trainee sex while Maverick goes all alpha dominant in the bedroom and teaches her about her own body.” I hate that. But Ballenger surprised me. She didn’t take the well worn and predictable path. Instead, Maverick refused and Sierra stepped up and negotiated for her desires. She knew her body, knew what she wanted, and refused to be denied her just rewards. I liked this.

I liked that throughout the book Sierra championed for women’s rights and Maverick was in support of them. I disliked that when he finally managed to push through all the equal rights changes the pack needed to bring them into the modern age, it was described through Sierra’s thoughts as:

Sierra cradled the pile of papers in her hands, staring down at them in awe before she glanced back up at him, tears pouring down her face. He’d done it. He’d placed her wants, her needs, and desires before all other duty and kept his promise.

I mean, woo-hoo for social equality. But I’d have appreciated if he’d passed all the reforms because he thought it was best for the pack or believed in them himself. Instead, he just gave his wife what she wanted in order to get her to forgive him for a past transgression. It seriously undermined the validity of the changes, or at least his deserved virtue for making them.

I liked that Sierra stood up for the idea of women being more than breeders and put her career first. But I disliked that Ballenger then ended the book with her pregnant, which back-pedaled the idea entirely. Sierra can claim she and women are good for more than popping out babies, but apparently the reader can’t be trusted to recognize a happy ending if it doesn’t involve said babies.

I liked the easily readable writing. But I grew to hate the “cowboy” and “warrior” titles. It felt really REALLY forced, frequently dropped in whenever Ballenger wanted to evoke the ascetic of a cowboy but too often not actually relevant to the scene. Here’s an example:

Her own eyes flashed to her wolf as she bared her teeth and let out a snarl of her own. She wasn’t intimidated by him in the least. “This is my fight. Not yours. Cowboy or not, you’re not leaving me standing here in you dust as you ride off into the fucking sunset. We do this together or don’t do this at all.”

The problem is that this was a scene where they’d just discovered who the villain was and he’d instructed another wolf to protect her while he went to kill the bad guy. What does that have to do with cowboy? “Pack-leader or not” would have fit the context, “Alpha wolf or not” would have made sense, even “Husband or not” would have matched the scene. But cowboy didn’t. I can’t even make the reference to riding into the sunset bring it into relevance.

And this happened over and over again, “cowboy” being dropped in to remind the reader that Maverick is apparently a cowboy (as if the constant readjusting of Stetsons or mention of cowboy boots or ranch-work wasn’t enough). And maybe it wasn’t, since what Maverick was was a werewolf pack-leader who owned a ranch. Giving him the cowboy title too and trying to make it dominant felt like Ballenger was sticking a name-tag to his chest and kept instructing the reader to look at it instead of the actual character development. What it felt like was that Ballenger had a note to remind herself to drop the word in every 25 pages or so to make the title of the book relevant. Similarly, Maverick’s random use of “warrior” to address Sierra lost meaning after a while.

All in all, the mixed feelings on this book drops it right in the middle of liked and disliked for me. This was the first Ballenger book I’ve read (which means I’ve not read the rest of this series, despite this being a 4th book). I think I’ll give her another change, gather a little more data before I decide how I feel about her books in general.

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Other Reviews:

Fierce Cowboy Wolf (Seven Range Shifters)by Kait Ballenger-review

Review: Fierce Cowboy Wolf by Kait Ballenger