Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill

***WARNING***
This book is the Heirs Of Chicagoland No. 1, meaning there will soon be an Heirs Of Chicagoland No. 2. However, if you are unfamiliar with this author, please note that she has another series called the Chicagoland Vampires Novels that I feel maybe you should read first. It is NOT necessary because I didn’t start with the Chicagoland Vampires Novels and I felt Wild Hunger stood alone fine. But, I wish I had started with the Chicagoland Vampires Novels. If you, like me, like things to go perfectly in order, maybe start with Some Girls Bite

Wild-Hunger-Final.jpg

As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she’s a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he’s prince of the Pack and its future king.

When the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever.

RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 14, 2018
AVAILABLE AT AMAZON.COM

I loved this book. It was one of those I couldn’t put down and I felt like I knew each character personally. I have never read anything else by this author, but I’ve already looked her up and I think I’m going to have to look into some of her other series (Devil’s Isle Series, I’m looking at you).  I never once got lost through reading details, lengthy dialogs, or descriptions and I felt the plot pretty much carried itself.

I did expect there to be more interaction between Connor Stupid Keane and Elisa Sullivan, but after I read the entire novel I realize there is probably a good reason why there wasn’t. Their story is building over a few books, obviously, and there is very little in entertainment value lost by not hearing from Connor in every single chapter. Somehow, it works quite well.

The only regret I have is that I didn’t wait until closer to the release date to read the book because now I am ready for the second book, which hasn’t even been announced, much less given a release date. And, the anticipation is really driving me bananas! That being said, I’ll be singing Chloe Neill’s praises all summer long, at every opportunity. And, I’ll be (not so) patiently awaiting the announcement of a second Heirs Of Chicagoland novel.

Bravo, Chloe Neill.
Now, about that second Heirs Of Chicagoland novel…

 

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The Howling by Erin McCarthy

howlingRELEASE DATE: 6/26/18
AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER AT AMAZON NOW!

Beneath the silver moon . . .

For six months the nightmares have been chasing Liv Lugaru out of her sleep. The same terrifying dream, the same fevered wolves panting after her, their hot breath getting closer and closer as a full moon hangs heavy in the night sky—until she wakes up drenched in sweat, with her fiancé, the brother of the man who broke her heart, gazing down at her . . .

Six months ago, Sebastian was almost killed by his brother in a power struggle within their werewolf pack. His disappearance opened the way for his brother to console Liv, win her trust . . . without ever telling her of their true heritage. Now Sebastian is ready to reclaim his rightful place—to rise up with the moon and claim the only woman he’s ever loved . . .

WARNING:
This was a short read, one I’d classify as a novelette. A bedtime story for grown ups, perhaps, which I wasn’t expecting. I fully expected a full length novel because I didn’t bother to check Amazon or anywhere else for a length. Had I checked, I don’t think a length would have been listed anyway. And if any of my readers find one, please let me know because I saw nothing helpful. 

Can you tell I’m a bit bitter?

The issue is this–if you’re expecting a  novel about these werewolves and their lives together, look elsewhere. The description really does set up for a great, full length story. The problem is that there isn’t one. All you get is the basics with sex thrown in. The love scenes are great–sizzlin’ even–and, it read well, but I still really wanted more out of it. I believe a novel should have come from this. 

*****

Erin McCarthy’s writing isn’t an issue. She’s great, actually. The characters were surprisingly well fleshed for such a short story. You get the gist of their personalities and backgrounds without an info dump, which is difficult when you’re working in shorter projects. I felt like I could get to know these characters and I felt like there weren’t too many to keep up with for the length of the story, which can also be an issue for shorter works.

An issue I had was that I wasn’t sure I liked (or disliked, if you will) the antagonist enough. Yeah, he was a bad boy. He tried to kill his brother. Blah blah blah, insert werewolf howl here. This is where a longer story would have come in handy. There was plenty of room for this to have become a novel so that a reader could have felt the full wrath of this guy–someone who tries to kill their flesh and blood (particularly a pack animal) has to have a good, solid reason for it. And that reason has to be something more than just a simple power struggle over who gets to be married to the girl or who gets to be the alpha. Sebastian’s brother had the potential to be one of the best bad guys in (erotic) romance, but the feelings of hate (or disdain, perhaps) that a reader should feel for the antagonist just didn’t come through strongly enough for me, which impacted my ability to enjoy the story as much as I would have had it been longer.

To clear up a few things, I am not a novelette hater. On the contrary, I quite enjoy them. But, putting forth the right amounts of this and that is almost a science where fiction lengths are concerned. In this area, I feel the mark was missed by a hair.

But, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. If the only thing a person finds wrong with a piece of literature is that there wasn’t enough of it, well, that’s not a horrible thing. It’s unfortunate, but certainly not enough for me to skip future works by this author. I did enjoy the characters and the plot and the saucier scenes were, um, saucy.

As far as a star rating, I’m going to go with a 3.5.

 

 

 

 

The Earl, the Vow, and the Plain Jane by Cheryl Bolen–Review

BolenRelease date: June 12, 2018
Available for pre-order NOW!

Bereft of beauty as well as fortune, the exceedingly plain Miss Jane Featherstone has failed to attract any suitor during her three Seasons. Rather than be a burden to her brother and his obnoxious wife, Miss Featherstone vows to accept the first man who asks—even though she’s always worshipped a lord who’s far above her touch. . .

Lord Slade must marry an heiress in order to honor the deathbed vow he made to his father, and he needs Miss Featherstone’s help in wooing her beautiful cousin. After her initial anger, Miss Featherstone agrees to his scheme, telling him she’s doing so because she admires his Parliamentary record of humanitarian legislation and his reverence for truth. But the more he’s with the two cousins, the more attracted he becomes to Miss Featherstone. What’s a man of his word to do? Break a vow to a beloved father—or follow his heart with Miss Featherstone?

*******

It didn’t take me long to read this book, probably only two sittings. I liked the story. I loved the premise behind it. The characters were okay, too. But, that was it. They were just okay. Not spectacular, not extraordinary, and I would not call Lord Slade an alpha male at any turn, for any reason. Obviously a vow to a dying father was important, but a man caring for three sisters should have realized (way before he did) that those left alive are far more important than any vow, particularly minors in his care. He was only a man and Jane was only an average woman–the Plain Jane, I suppose. I expected much more from these characters. By their descriptions, I envisioned totally different people.

I really felt like the book was missing some umph.

Regardless, there were a lot of things within the story I liked, otherwise I would have taken much longer to read it. There were also things (and characters) I really hated, which, to a certain degree, was the reason I stuck around to finish the story.

I really hated the younger cousin, Sarah, and I desperately wanted somebody to shove a pie in her face–unfortunately, no pies landed. Major bummer, right? She was a bit sure of herself and, even though she was young, I really think she could have taken better care of her words regarding beauty and Miss Featherstone.

Some people, amirite?

This was a very sweet romance, too, so not really the sort of book I’m used to picking up. I tend to read racier, edgier, faster paced books. When I, on purpose, pick up a sweet romance, I expect for there to be some sort of major conflict or, at the very least, some really warm scenes. In this book, a lot of that was really lost. To add insult to injury, so to say, the ending unfolded too quickly for the amount of build up behind it. I’m okay with knowing what’s going to happen before it does (and any reader can tell you this is very common), but I really dislike being let down in the delivery of these happenings.

I can’t say that I can give a recommendation for this book to anyone unless I give them a full report of the letdowns as well as the good points, so you have all been warned. Three stars.

 

 

 

Tall, Dark, and Deadly by Kharma Kelley

deadly

Well, this book is a big NO from me.

I was excited to read this book. The premise is solid and interesting, but I couldn’t make it to the fourth chapter. I would suggest the book be pulled for editing and re-released after some edits and revisions. Two stars because had it not been for the glaring errors and editorial issues, I could have really loved this book.

Example: Somewhere in the second or third chapter, author uses the word “just” three times in one sentence.

Unlike the majority of my reviews, this was not an advance copy. It’s been out for a few years now so I really see no sense in this sort of issue. Most books will have errors, but not one right after the other within the span of three or four pages.

I know that there are some really good reviews on Amazon for this book already, but it does make me wonder if those readers actually read with their eyes open because I seriously had a hard time getting through the beginning. Maybe I’m just an asshole.

**shrugs innocently**

But, the editorial issues were not the only ones.

I felt like the main character, Chloe, was an absolute brat. I didn’t like her, not even a little bit. She was immature and, at times, I wanted to smack her teeth out. Ethan was a little bit more likable, but given what I know of Chloe, I found it unbelievable that he would ever want anything to do with her romantically–but, keep in mind, I didn’t make it far enough to see how that all happened. I’m assuming she must have had a drastic personality change somewhere in the middle of the book.

I really do hate it when things like this happen. I don’t think anyone downloads a book to their e-reader and actually wants to dislike it. Some of the reviews on Amazon come from some notable reviewers, so I’m going to investigate further–this is NOT the author’s only book and I do like the premise, so I’d like to give her another chance to entertain me. After all, vampire books seem to be disappearing these days. Or, not showing up anywhere at all.

Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Summer Binges

I’m really looking forward to summer, but I have to admit that I’m not looking forward to trying to navigate all of my streaming services. At our house, we have access to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, so we have a lot of choices. Problem is, I can’t figure out what I want to watch. I have one show picked out and that’s it!

TheMagiciansHP.jpgBut, first, I want to tackle the latest season of The Magicians. Why? Well, because it’s somehow managed to become a good show. I have no idea how that happened because I wasn’t expecting it to be so good. I expected it to be juvenile–something you might watch to pass time, no other reasons. White noise. But, there are some really great themes within the episodes of the show. The characters are all great (some you love to hate and some you hate to love), the premise is incredibly fun, and I really need a good sci-fi fix.

But, if you haven’t started the show, be warned that it airs on the Sy-fy network. They are notorious for cancelling shows (**Ahem…** HAVEN) after three or four seasons and The Magicians is already a few seasons in.

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Do any of you have any binges planned for summer break? Obviously I need some shows to carry me over until the next season of Outlander starts…because I’m really starting to miss the show and I have a sinking feeling there might not be many more seasons coming.

 

 

Summer Reading and Vampire Mania

cropped-burne-jones-le-vampire.jpgIs it just me, or are things going back to the way they were pre-Twilight era? I have no idea what’s going on. Maybe it’s because the weather is warmer, maybe because I know fall is getting closer (I’m counting down, y’all), maybe because there are so many awesome summer releases coming, or maybe it’s because I’m an absolute weirdo and an obviously a glutton for punishment.

But, I can NOT get enough vampires and werewolves lately. I’m going bananas trying to find enough to get me through and it appears as though there is a supernatural romance DROUGHT going on right now. I hope I’m wrong and it only seems that way because I’m a whiny loon.

AshleyThere are a few good releases coming that I know of and I’m excited for both. One of them, Twilight Desires by Amanda Ashley, is coming August 28, 2018, according to Amanda Ashley’s website. I’ve been waiting on this one forever. FOREVER, people. And, I am of the personal belief that nobody does vampires like Amanda Ashley. If you haven’t read any of her books, I would suggest you go to her website, choose a title, and go. Any title. Just pick one. You can thank me later. I prefer Dove dark chocolates, cash, and Chilis gift cards.

The second book I’m looking forward to is Serpentine by Laurell K. Hamilton. It’s an Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter novel and the release date is August 7, 2018. I don’t have to go into details about this book because every self respecting vampire fan has read the Anita Blake books or has at least given them a chance. Either we like them or no, there is usually no in between there (lol). serpentine

The issue I’m having is that I can’t find enough vampire fiction, particularly of the romance variety. A few years ago, when the Twilight books were in the spotlight, vampire novels were a dime a dozen–and I was so happy about it because FINALLY there were vampires and werewolves getting shelf space in places that didn’t require a ladder or a flashlight to find them. I can remember a time when finding supernatural romance novels was, for people in rural areas in particular, incredibly difficult. Obviously the books were out there somewhere, but locating them took some doing.

I’m not even having any luck finding vampire titles in grocery stores and Wal-Mart. Am I looking in the wrong places? I keep finding every romance genre but vampires and werewolves.

I feel like I’m trapped in a fantasy super library full of every book ever written, sorted by rooms/genres, and I’ve finally read the very last book in the vampire room. I’ve gluttonously read through every single bloody word in every single black book. Every word has been consumed and I’m standing on a table, innocently shrugging at the angry librarian. I’ve read so many vampire novels that I’ve spontaneously sprouted my very own fangs and I’ve sucked the life force out of the genre and left nothing but a husk.

Obviously, that’s not how it happened, but I do have a flair for the dramatic.

So, without any more of my sulking, I leave you with one final plea.

Please, for the love of vampires and books, if you know of any vampire romance NEW releases, you can email me at KellyShrewsbury@Gmail.com or leave a comment below! I really look forward to suggestions.

 

Rogues Rush In: A Regency Duet by Tessa Dare and Christi Caldwell

rogues rush in

Release date: 5/22/18
Available at Amazon.com now!

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors Tessa Dare and Christi Caldwell come together in this smart, sexy, not-to-be-missed Regency Duet! 

Two scandalous brides…
Two rogues who won’t be denied…

His Bride for the Taking by NYT Bestselling author Tessa Dare
It’s the first rule of friendship among gentlemen: Don’t even think about touching your best friend’s sister. But Sebastian, Lord Byrne, has never been one for rules. He’s thought about touching Mary Clayton—a lot—and struggled to resist temptation. But when Mary’s bridegroom leaves her waiting at the altar, only Sebastian can save her from ruin. By marrying her himself. 

In eleven years, he’s never laid a finger on his best friend’s sister. Now he’s going to take her with both hands. To have, to hold…and to love.

His Duchess for a Day by USA Today Bestseller Christi Caldwell 
It was never meant to be…
That’s what Elizabeth Terry has told herself while trying to forget the man she married–her once best friend. Passing herself off as a widow, Elizabeth has since built a life for herself as an instructor at a finishing school, far away from that greatest of mistakes. But the past has a way of finding you, and now that her husband has found her, Elizabeth must face the man she’s tried to forget.

It was time to right a wrong…
Crispin Ferguson, the Duke of Huntington, has spent the past years living with regret. The young woman he married left without a by-your-leave, and his hasty elopement had devastating repercussions. Despite everything, Crispin never stopped thinking about Elizabeth. Now that he’s found her, he has one request—be his duchess, publicly, just for a day. 

Can spending time together as husband and wife rekindle the bond they once shared? Or will a shocking discovery tear them apart…this time, forever?

HIS BRIDE FOR THE TAKING by Tessa Dare

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story. I read on my computer during my morning coffee/breakfast/busywork ritual, which means it’s a short read, but a very entertaining one. One sitting is all you need.

I’ve read Tessa Dare before, so I was already familiar with her style. I felt like Mary was a likable character, but that sometimes her thought process was skewed. I think we all know a few people like that in our real lives, right? Sebastian, the hero, was rough and gruff and everything one might ask for in an alpha male, but I’m not sure I’d really call him a rogue. Nevertheless, the story was great and the romance within was sweet. Details were given where needed and kept away where not needed. Perfect for a night in when you might have to get up early the next day.

HIS DUCHESS FOR A DAY by Christi Caldwell

I would have liked this in a longer story–I don’t feel like the characters got their moment in the sun as they should have. I don’t feel like it was fair to them to cram the entirety of their romance into a few short chapters. BUT, I have no reason to not suggest this story to other readers. After all, if the only problem I can come up with is that it’s just not long enough, then the writer has done her job and well beyond. I am entertained and I want more.

Crispin Ferguson is the kind of storybook romance novel hero readers (myself included) tend to go bananas for. There is an element of mystery, a gentleman with a reputation that precedes him, and by description, he’s handsome. Oh, and he’s a duke, so he’s loaded. He’s every nineteenth century woman’s fantasy man. His bride, Elizabeth, is a woman most can relate to and identify with in some way or another. I felt the romantic scenes were nicely written and appropriate within the story.

I have absolutely no reason to not give this book my recommendation. I actually really enjoy shorter stories sometimes because there are days when a gal just likes a light read. I’m not someone with a lot of time on my hands, so when I read something (short or long) I enjoy, I feel like my minutes and hours were more than well spent and I can not wait to see what’s next from BOTH of these authors.