Crux by Moira Rogers

Overview

Title: Crux
Author: Moira Rogers
Series: Southern Arcana #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal romance, Romantic suspenseShapeshifters
Pace: Fast
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2009

Thoughts

I read Zola’s Pride many years ago, and I kept meaning to actually get into Crux. But, mostly I didn’t actually have a copy of it to read and it kind of fell to the wayside. And then I finally picked it up. And it is wonderful and amazing. The biggest downfall of how much I enjoyed this is the fact that I now have to wait until Crossroads comes off of Kindle Unlimited and lets me buy it in Kobo…

This was a wonderful and brilliant introduction to a paranormal romance world. And just a really nice romance in general. I mean, although Mackenzie and Jackson are obviously attracted to one another immediately, they spend most of this story trying to solve the crimes and fight the bad guy. And it turns out he’s a pretty scary bad guy. I’m not actually sure how they’re going to top this villain in the next Southern Arcana novel.

I seriously enjoyed Jackson – he’s one of my more recent favourite male leaders. He is wonderfully yummy and has that nice protective streak that I find so attractive. But, he is also happy to let Mackenzie be her own woman and stand on her own two feet. He is content to protect from the shadows and act as a support in some circumstances, instead of just taking control (even when he wants to), and taking over. I loved this balance, and it’s one I wish we saw more of in the protective males that are written in a lot of the romances that I enjoy.

Mackenzie’s journey is actually pretty intense throughout this. Not only does she have a whole discovery of a paranormal world to go through. And a man to fall in love with. But she also has to find out a lot about her tragic past, whilst dealing with a psychotic and neurotic man intent on turning her into breeding stock. Just one of these moments would be pretty intense, but all of them? Well, I’d be running for the hills… or sitting in the corner, rocking back and forth, chewing my hair…

I have a feeling that although Mackenzie and Jackson were able to triumph over the Big Evil (with plenty of help), there’s going to be some pretty potent repercussions to their actions. I’m fully imagining that the next books will reveal some crazy, secret cabal or underground society of paranormals just waiting to wreak havoc upon the next lucky couple in this series…

<- More Moira RogersCrossroads ->

Image source: Amazon

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The Staff of Serapis by Rick Riordan

Overview

Title: The Staff of Serapis
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Percy Jackson and the Kane Chronicles Crossover #2, Camp Half-Blood Chronicles #7
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Egyptian mythology, Greek mythology, Mythology, Young adult
Pace: Fast
Format: eBook, Novella
Year: 2014

Thoughts

I thought that Carter and Percy teaming up in The Son of Sobek was a wonderful moment that I thoroughly enjoyed. But I didn’t account for how amazing the teamwork of Annabeth and Sadie would be. Particularly their dialogue and interactions with one another. I mean, both are fiercely intelligent and independent young women, so their sass, wit and awesomeness left me feeling ridiculously happy.

This was a fantastic novella (aren’t they all by Riordan?) that made me want to dive right back into my collection all over again. I have that many other books to read at the moment that I probably shouldn’t… but man it is tempting after reading yet another wonderful story by this master craftsman.

I love that both The Staff of Serapis and The Son of Sobek are about the two counterparts of the duos meeting and fighting together. But it is ultimately about the great battle that we are about to enjoy in The Crown of Ptolemy. This mixing of Egyptian and Greek mythology alone is wonderful, but the fact that it’s about to end in an epic battle? I’m very, very excited.

<- The Son of SobekThe Crown of Ptolemy ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia

The Son of Sobek by Rick Riordan

Overview

Title: The Son of Sobek
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Percy Jackson and the Kane Chronicles Crossover #1, Camp Half-Blood Chronicles #6
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Easy reading, Egyptian mythology, Greek mythology, Mythology, Young adult
Pace: Fast
Format: eBook, Novella
Year: 2012

Thoughts

This is a very quick and easy read – maybe 90 pages. Since I haven’t read anything by Rick Riordan in quite a while, it was a wonderful return to his world. One that makes me want to pick up all of his books and do a reread… which I don’t exactly have time for, because there are also thousands of books I’ve never read yet…

I love that this is a story about Percy Jackson, but from Carter’s POV. It’s intriguing to see a Greek demigod through the lens of an Egyptian wizard. Also, the lunacy of just how quickly Percy is able to throw himself into situations is beautifully highlighted. Actually, the lunacy of any of the demigod battles is kind of highlighted. And its pretty damn humorous. Like I said, enough to make me want to jump into this world all over again.

This is literally one little chapter, one battle. But, it’s got hints of more dramas and stories to unfold in the future. Ones that I’m seriously looking forward to reading.

<- The Last OlympianThe Staff of Serapis ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia

The Vintner’s Vixen by Rebecca Norinne & Jamaila Brinkley

Overview

Title: The Vintner’s Vixen
Author: Rebecca Norinne & Jamaila Brinkley
Series: River Hill #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Slow
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2018

Thoughts

This fun little contemporary romance might actually have one of my favourite Meet Cutes ever. It’s a little bit horrific, but also a really fun way to dive into this world. I mean, getting off on the wrong foot is one thing – meeting because literally millions of dollars worth of priceless vines have been mistakenly ripped out? A whole other level of awkward and wonderful in their meeting. The fact that neither lead is actually at fault for this moment, but it occurs through the sheer stupidity of others just makes it all that much better.

Normally I feel like male romantic leads are a little bit balanced with some of their behaviours. Noah on the other hand is a full knob. I mean, he manages to just edge on the side of not completely pissing you off, but it’s a damn close thing. You can understand why there are some difficulties between the couple to begin with – and even sympathise with him. Then, in the second half of this book, there’s not really any sensical reason for his behaviour, and it did make it a little bit harder to relate to him. Luckily, he starts to try and fix his behaviour just as you’re about to throw in the towel on this relationship. I actually was at a point where I was almost excited at the idea of Angela NOT ending up with him.

Angela on the other hand is incredibly lovely and bubbly. Some of the comments that she’s received from others in Hollywood actually reminded me quite a bit of reading Busy Philips’ biography. The “curvy best friend trope” that still needs to lose weight. Honestly, I could spend this whole review just writing about how well Norinne & Brinkley approach the different body types conversation. Angela is able to show a complete love and acceptance for her own body. And I love that past her seemingly ditzy outer shell, she is able to carve out exactly the life she wants with a spine of pure steel.

Although Noah might have really bothered me, and I did have moments when I didn’t actually want Angela and Noah to end up together, because I seriously loved Angela, this was a really nice romance. It flirted that line of frustration without quite going over the line. Having said that, I did want a  little bit more grovelling from Noah. Angela is most definitely a whole lot more understanding and kind than I would be! Now I just can’t wait to read more romances in this small town.

<- More Rebecca NorinneThe Distiller’s Darling ->

Image source: Kobo

Jock Rule by Sara Ney

Overview

Title: Jock Rule
Author: Sara Ney
Series: Jock Hard #2
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance, Sports romance
Pace: Medium
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2018

Thoughts

Jock Row was a wonderfully sweet and easy read. A nice, quick one to while away a few hours. Which, of course meant I was hoping for the exact same thing when I decided to read Jock Rule. And I wasn’t disappointed. This was a fun, light and incredibly sweet read. A few little hurdles along the way, but almost none – just the kind of romance that I need to read every now and then.

I thought Kip was the most wonderfully, dreamily abrasive man I have read about in a long time. Alright, a lot of it is a shield and something he’s using to try and keep people at arm’s length. But, I love that a lot of it is also just his personality. I also just love how his nickname is Sasquatch and he is considerably large and intimidating. Definitely a character that I want more of. Abrasively honest, but also grudgingly caring, particularly when he starts to realise that he has feelings for Teddy.

Teddy is a nice counterpoint to Kip’s gruffness. She is incredibly sweet, and struggles a little to stand up for herself at moments throughout this story. Having said that, for all that I enjoyed her sweetness, my favourite moment was definitely when she finally stood up for herself with Mariah. For much of this storyline, she is aware that her “best friend” is just not treating her properly. But, when she finally calls her on it and just realises that she honestly doesn’t care enough to engage in the nonsense? Beautiful. Also a little reminiscent of my own growing a few years ago…

Kip’s sister Ronnie has got to be one of my favourite wing women. She is hilarious and witty, sassy to a fault and takes great pleasure in aggravating other people. The way these two relate is such a beautiful, healthy sibling relationship. And realistic, they’re not exactly subtle with each other, and not afraid to aggravate one another in their honesty. I particularly love how she fits into the epilogue. It had me giggling out loud as these wonderful characters rode off into their happily ever after.

This was such a great, but admittedly quick story. Not only is it about Teddy growing up and finding her own feet in a new adult world, but it’s also a very quick falling in love. Although, I did enjoy the fact that this is based on banter and a friendship rather than just being insta-lust and insta-love. I definitely can’t wait to read more of this series when I need a nice, sweet and happy diversion.

<- Jock RowJock Road ->

Image source: Amazon

Miss Congeniality by Shelly Laurenston

Overview

Title: Miss Congeniality
Author: Shelly Laurenston
Series: Pride #0.75
In: When He Was Bad (Shelly Laurenston & Cynthia Eden)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal romanceShapeshifters, Urban fantasy
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Year: 2008

Thoughts

Irene was a great character to be introduced to in In A Badger Way, she is clinical and terrifyingly brilliant. But you can tell that she actually cares about others, she’s just completely unable to show to, well, anyone. The fact that she has her own novella about falling in love decades before… it was even better than I imagined. Wonderful, funny and kind of sweet. A perfect novella.

As expected, Irene is all sass and attitude. Some of it is just pure personality, but some of it is the fact that she’s pretty protective of her feelings. And, you know, there are apparently multiple government agencies spying on her and watching her every move… all of this just meant that even as Irene falls in love with Niall, she is still sassy and feisty and everything I love in the character.

The wedding that finishes out this story is kind of perfect. I mean, it’s always nice to skip forward a little bit so that you can see how the couple ends up. But the fact that Irene genuinely forgets that its even her wedding day and cares not at all about it, was brilliant. It also pulled in the Jean-Louis Parkers into the story. And how that clan of terrifying geniuses had their beginnings too…

All in all, this was a wonderful novella. And I can’t wait to see what happens next in this story. Definitely a strong argument for continuing to fill my ereader with books by Shelly Laurenston.

<- Like a Wolf with a BoneThe Mane Event ->

Image source: Goodreads

Like a Wolf with a Bone by Shelly Laurenston

Overview

Title: Like a Wolf with a Bone
Author: Shelly Laurenston
Series: Pride #0.5
In: Howl For It (Shelly Laurenston & Cynthia Eden)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal romanceShapeshiftersUrban fantasy
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Year: 2012

Thoughts

I’m really not used to reaching any kind of story with incredibly Southern names in it. Names like Darla Mae, Egbert…. It took me a little bit to get used to reading such names. But, once I moved past that, I definitely enjoyed this story. Particularly when I realised that it’s a tale about Dee Ann’s parents. Who I’ve only really met in the Honey Badger Chronicles, but I know I will have a greater appreciation for as I delve into the Pride series.

I thought that this was quite a humorous novella. Kind of like the Laurenston stories that I’ve already read so far. It had me smiling and laughing, and just all round enjoying this storyline. I mean, it’s a story of two individuals falling for each other. But in the meantime, there is a whole lot of family drama, killers on the loose and siblings who are determined to put their nose into everything. The perfect combination for a fun and fast paced tale.

I loved how Darla was able to just… handle everyone. She might be the meeker of the sisters, but she is only like that because she doesn’t feel the need to fight. The moment her sisters step too far over the line, she happily shoves them back into line and handles their nonsense. A perfect match for a man who is a known killer. Then, she also finds a way to mess with Egbert’s brothers, family and race fast cars.

A great novella that has me ready to dive into a whole new Laurenston series. I’ll definitely be devouring this series just as quickly as the rest of the books on my shelves.

<- Howl For ItMiss Congeniality ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia

Badger to the Bone by Shelly Laurenston

Overview

Title: Badger to the Bone
Author: Shelly Laurenston
Series: Honey Badger Chronicles #3
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal romanceShapeshiftersUrban fantasy
Pace: Fast
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2020

Thoughts

Like ever other book in this series, or, indeed, by this author, Badger to the Bone is freaking hilarious. It’s witty, cute, fun and humorous. Although, I did have a bit of a moment of regret – this is the last romance of the three MacKilligan sisters. But, it did also introduce Max’s basketball team and those four women also need their own stories, so I have another rabbit hole to dive into. Very, very happily.

As much as Max is totally a psycho, I’ve been dying to read about her since the prologue in Hot and Badgered. I loved getting more of an insight into just why she acts the way that she does. Particularly in her relationship with Stevie – finally, the way that Max is constantly aggravating her begins to make sense. Plus, Max is the only full honey badger of the three siblings, and this difference was incredibly fun to read about.

I love that although you know that Max is chaos personified, she is actually kind of a do-gooder. She hides it really, really well. And she refuses to let others in on her goodness. That, and the fact that although Max thinks that Charlie is unaware of many of her extracurricular activities, the older sibling is still completely in tune about the insanity that is her younger sister. Yet another amazing sibling moment that had me grinning from ear to ear.

ZeZe is a great counterpoint to the insanity that is Max. Where Max is just pure chaos and happy in her own skin, she is also a serious handful. ZeZe, being entirely cat is quite happy to just stand back and watch the insanity unfold. With humour. And feeling entertained. Much like a real cat would I imagine. His smugness and contentment (once he accepts what he actually is) made me an incredibly happy woman.

ZeZe’s journey in this, whilst totally overshadowed by my love for Max was fun. I love the idea that he doesn’t actually know that he’s a shapeshifter and anything about fitting into the world that he should have been born into. Likewise, the relationship with his grandfather is a little bit tender, but ultimately beautiful. A reminder that sometimes people do the wrong things for love. And a great way to get more and more glimpses into Laurenston’s world of shapeshifters. Now I just need to keep diving into these amazing stories.

<- In a Badger WayBreaking Badger ->

Image source: Kobo

In a Badger Way by Shelly Laurenston

Overview

Title: In a Badger Way
Author: Shelly Laurenston
Series: Honey Badger Chronicles #2
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal romanceShapeshiftersUrban fantasy
Pace: Fast
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2019

Thoughts

I must admit, I’m kind of completely obsessed with the Honey Badger Chronicles, because… well, honey badgers. But also, Laurenston writes amazing romances that are filled with wonderful friendships, strong women and a whole lot of humour. They make me smile with every single page turned and leave me incredibly happy that I’ve had the pleasure of discovering such amazing books. The fact that this continues to follow the MacKilligan sisters, who are most certifiably insane and completely lovely, well, that made me dive right in. Actually, it took me a little while to actually get to this – because I can’t seem to put these books down once I start reading them.

I love that this story is about Stevie, who is most definitely the most neurotic of the MacKilligan sisters. I particularly enjoyed that she just… decides that Shen is her boyfriend. He is such a chilled being and kind of just meanders along. The dichotomy between Stevie’s intensity and inability to relax, and Shen’s calm nature worked really well in this relationship. It was fun getting to know another species of shapeshifter in this series – Shen’s enjoyment in upsetting the other bears with his bamboo chomping in particular. There’s also the way that, although Shen is so damn calm all the time, he is also not exactly the kind of being that you want to mess with… kind of making him the perfect laid back balance to Stevie’s high-strung reality and tendency to find herself in dangerous situations.

Stevie’s other form is definitely terrifying and intense – as demonstrated in Hot and Badgered. It was thoroughly enjoyable getting to know more about just what Stevie is capable of in this form. And just how much damage she can truly do. Although, the moment when she realises that she is actually a badass with DNA that eats other DNA… I thought this was freaking fantastic. And may have laughed for a good minute after reading this. Stevie’s ability to finally accept a part of herself that she’s both feared and reviled was a really nice moment. Definitely gently helped along by Shen’s quiet presence, but also just finally growing enough to realise that just because you’re scary, it doesn’t mean you’re bad.

This might have been a romance about Stevie and Shen, but, yet again, it’s the MacKilligan sisters and their honey badger kin that really steal the show. I genuinely loved the parts where everyone attends a honey badger funeral… there’s a truck vs. badger collision, Charlie wanting to kill her father (again), and a whole bunch of snakes thrown into the mix. It’s not quite what I expected, but fits in completely with the idea of honey badgers being certifiable, down to the last one. I honestly don’t want to stop reading about any and all of the crazy honey badgers that are running rampant through this series. But, it’s not just the honey badgers that steal the show, it’s all of the sibling pairs. Laurenston has a wonderful way of writing about sibling relationships which just feels genuine – there’s loving and affectionate antics, but also those that are about just pushing each others’ buttons, because that’s always fun. I’m honestly hoping that Shen’s, Berg’s and Kyle’s siblings all get their own stories as this series continues on….

This was such an amazing paranormal romance. Not just for the wonderful, steamy sex. The beautifully matched couple. But also the high jinx and shenanigans. Every time I read one of the wonderful stories written by Laurenston, I’m transported to a wonderful world that has me smiling and laughing. Also having all the feelings, because that’s what you should always have in a good romance.

<- Hot and BadgeredBadger to the Bone ->

Image source: Amazon

Acute Reactions by Ruby Lang

Overview

Title: Acute Reactions
Author: Ruby Lang
Series: Practice Perfect #1
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Pace: Slow
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2015

Thoughts

This is a very simple and sweet contemporary romance. It’s definitely got absolutely no surprises in it and was a total breeze to read. One of those stories that I thoroughly enjoyed, but wouldn’t necessarily want to reread again and again.

Ian and Petra both have quite a few issues to get over for them to finally get together. In fact, the way that they meet and the ethical / moral greyness around this is actually the least of their worries. Petra might fixate on this, but ultimately, it’s actually their own nonsense that is a massive hurdle.

Having said that, I do love that this story brings up the morality of daring a patient. I mean, that’s how they meet and get to know one another, but there is nothing untoward throughout. In fact, Ian does everything he can to make sure Petra doesn’t look like she’s doing the wrong thing. In fact, it’s all of those nuances of doctor patient relationship that I liked. It’s a similar difficulty I’ve faced working in disability – you form connections with people being around them that much and in their lives, but you somehow have to also remain professional. It’s a hard line to walk.

I knew that Danielle (the ex) would be an issue in this story – I mean, there was nothing really all that great about her from the beginning. I didn’t actually anticipate just how low she would stoop and what she was likely to do though. It kind of made my teeth hurt if I’m being honest.

Sometimes this was a frustrating read (because people getting in their own damn way), but all in all I did enjoy this. It was a nice, light and fluffy read with just enough questions about morality to make me intrigued and happy.

<- More Ruby LangHard Knocks ->

Image source: Amazon