Reviewlets: Wonder Woman Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo & The Omega’s Pack by Dessa Lux

Wonder Woman Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

I’ll be honest, when I saw this in the August 2017 Illumicrate I wasn’t too sure about this book. I’ve tried reading Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone and it really wasn’t my cup of tea. I also don’t know a whole lot about Diana, I’ve certainly never read any of the comics she’s been in so going into this book was something of an adventure. But you know what? I actually really enjoyed this book. I thought having Diana and Alia as dual narrators with alternating chapters worked well. They both had interesting takes on the situation. I also thought the whole idea of a “warbringer” was really cool and well thought out and explained within the text. I would have actually liked to see more of this world, but I don’t think that’s likely. Still whether you’re new to the DC fandom or have been there a while, I think you will enjoy this story.

The Omega’s Pack by Dessa Lux ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)

The Omega’s Pack by Dessa Lux

This is the second book in the Protection of the Pack series. I thought the first book was interesting and had a lot of potential, so I was curious to try this book. The Omega’s Pack is almost double the length of The Omega’s Bodyguard, and it has many of the same issues as the first book – high on sex, low on plot. That being said I really enjoyed it, and what plot there was was interesting. I liked the way Lux wrote Nick and how he was handling returning from war in a very different way to Rusty and Mike. The fact that so much of the book focused on his and everyone else’s struggles was what I most liked about this book. The Omega’s Pack is a great second book as it builds from the base The Omega’s Bodyguard started. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this world. If you enjoyed the first book in this series then you will definitely like this one too.

Review: The Omega’s Bodyguard by Dessa Lux

The Omega’s Bodyguard by Dessa Lux

Sparks fly when a protective alpha meets an omega in danger, but there’s a catch: this omega is still human, and doesn’t know what he could become with a bite from the right wolf.

Being an alpha werewolf made Rusty Jamison one of the best while he served in the Marines, a top team leader in the elite Force Recon. But now his instincts have made military life unbearable – he couldn’t protect his team without revealing what he was. He’s out of the Corps and taking his first job as a bodyguard, using those instincts while protecting his secret. But his client is the last thing Rusty expected: a latent omega, a human with werewolf blood just waiting for a bite to awaken his potential.

Sam Hurley has fended off plenty of unwanted advances in his twenty-four years. As a baby-faced computer genius, he’s used to being sought after for more than just his brains – but now someone is stalking him, and Sam is going ot need help getting him to take no for an answer. His new bodyguard seems like he’ll be able to do the job, but once Sam meets him he wants Rusty for a lot more than protection.

Series: The Protection of the Pack, 1
Genre: LGBT+, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Independently published (9 May 2017)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)

Having read and really enjoyed the first book in Dessa Lux’s Wolves of the World series Omega Required, I thought I’d branch out and try another of her series. The Omega’s Bodyguard is the first book in The Protection of the Pack series. In it we meet alpha werewolf Rusty Jamison who is fresh out of the Marine Corps, and Sam Hurley a human with wolf blood who if bitten will become an omega. Rusty comes into Sam’s life when he is hired by a friend to help Sam with his stalker problem. The trouble is Sam has no idea he is anything other than human.

Going into this book I had super high expectations. The Omega’s Bodyguard is a really tiny book, and therefore a super quick read. There are just over one hundred pages. This did make me a little wary, but I actually really enjoyed the story and meeting Rusty and Sam. I will be honest, if this book was more plot driven it would have got a solid 4 (maybe 5) stars from me. As it is this book has definitely got me intrigued by this world, and I will be reading more of the series so I can discover more of the world. In a lot of ways this book feels like a teaser for the rest of the series.

As I’ve mentioned there isn’t really a lot of plot to this book, but then at 106 pages it’s not really much of a surprise. There are a few hot and steamy scenes that I think people who are into that kind of thing will enjoy. That being said, what little plot there is I think Lux writes well and makes interesting. The way Lux writes the werewolves of this world is interesting, and Lux has put a lot of thought into how they would work. They don’t appear to be known, so they exist in the shadows.

Lux plays with expectations of the genre, the omegas in this book are no wilting flowers but some of the alpha werewolves do play into the typical alpha werewolf trope you see in a lot of paranormal romance books. I liked the fact that this is not shown as a good thing. The pack dynamics were themselves interesting. There seems to be a lot of cooperation between packs, and a lot of I suppose checks and balances within the werewolf community to make sure no one over steps.

If you enjoy reading paranormal romances, and enjoy werewolf fiction then I think that you will enjoy this series if you think of The Omega’s Bodyguard as almost a taster for the rest of the series. I think you will particularly enjoy this if you’re looking for something a little bit different within the genre. As I’ve said, there are a couple of hot and steamy scenes but don’t be put off if that isn’t your thing as I think the story is engaging enough even with that. There is a lot of potential within this world, and I’m looking forward to exploring more of it.

Reviewlets: Omega Defiant by Dessa Lux & Another Year of Plumdog by Emma Chichester Clark

Here are another couple of short reviews that I hope you will enjoy. I’m trying to interspace these shorter reviews between longer ones, so I hope the balance is working at the moment.

Omega Defiant by Dessa Lux

Omega Defiant by Dessa Lux ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

After finishing the first book in the Wolves of the World series, I was really looking forward to getting my hands on this book. I really like the fact that the story focuses on two characters we’ve already kind of met in Omega Required. I really enjoyed this, though I do think that there is a lot going on and I’m not totally sure how I feel about how everything was (and wasn’t) resolved. This book explored more of the world of the Wolves of the World which I really enjoyed. It was interesting to see more and different packs, and how they worked. I really liked Casey and Adam as characters, and I enjoyed following their journeys through the book. If you enjoyed Omega Required then I think you will like this book too.

Another Year of Plumdog by Emma Chichester Clark ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)

Another Year of Plumdog by Emma Chichester Clark

Long-time readers of this blog will know that I read and loved Chichester Clark’s Plumdog, so how could I resist getting hold of another year in Plum’s life?! It is everything I expected and loved from Plumdog. There are new adventures Plum and Emma embark on, some of them are obviously fun others are not. I like the fact that Chichester Clark includes the good and the bad. I also like the fact that there isn’t something for all 365 days, but rather a series of highlights. The story is narrated by Plum, Emma just provides the illustrations. It’s a great book to either read in one go, like I did, or dive into and out of as each story is self-contained. If you like dogs, then this is definitely a one for you. The illustrations are beautiful, colourful, and convey a lot of feelings.

Review: Omega Required by Dessa Lux

Omega Required by Dessa Lux

AN ALPHA WEREWOLF CHASING HIS DREAMS MEETS AN OMEGA FIGHTING FOR HIS LIFE IN A STRICTLY TEMPORARY MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE . . .

Alpha werewolf Beau Jefferies has been going it alone ever since he was cast out of his pack as a teenager for trying to help a human and endangering the pack’s secvrets during the tumultuous years when the wider world was learning the truth about werewolves. He hasn’t lost his drive to help others, and he’s about to begin a prestigious medical residency – only to learn that, as the first werewolf the program has knowingly accepted, he’ll have to follow special rules, including the one that requires him to be married when he begins his residency.

Omega werewolf Roland Lea is just trying to survive. After escaping the last and worst in a string of abusive relationships that left him scarred and unable to conceive, he’s found safety in a refuge for homeless omegas. But despite the help he’s getting at the refuge, he just keeps getting sicker instead of better, further and further from being able to make it on his own. When he’s offered the opportunity to sign up with a mate-matching agency, he figures he has nothing to lose. No alpha is ever going to want an omega like him.

When Beau sees Roland’s profile, he knews at once what’s making the omega sick, and he’s determined to help. If he can persuade Roland to marry him, he can save Roland’s life while Roland helps him get through the residency. But will their hasty partnership be enough to bring them both through what’s ahead – and can temporary necessity lead to a forever love?

Series: Wolves of the World, 1
Genre: LGBT+, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Independently published (7 April 2018)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

Going into Omega Required, the first book in Dessa Lux’s Wolves of the World series, I had high expectations. I first came across the book in a discussion about “typical” werewolf books, this was one of the suggestions for people who were looking for less of the stereotypical alpha males. I thought the blurb sounded interesting, so I thought I would give at least this book a try. Honestly I was not disappointed. Omega Required plays with a lot of the tropes within the werewolf genre, but I thought Lux’s take on them was interesting and it was a really enjoyable read.

This is an adult book, as there are a few graphic sex scenes. However, Lux was very careful and didn’t fall into the trap that a lot of romance writers do – sex is not a “fix it” solution. I also like the fact the way Lux handled Beau and Roland’s different issues within the text, and that something as simple as birth control is actually dealt with on the page. I really liked the fact that Beau and Roland go into things on a pretty even basis – they both want/need something from the other, and the whole marriage issue is handled pretty well in my opinion.

One of my favourite things about Omega Required is how werewolves themselves are presented within the story. It’s pretty clear from the get-go that werewolves are a known entity within the world, but also that their coming out (so to speak) is a relatively new thing. Lux uses this within the plot well, and in a really thoughtful manner. The werewolves within this world are interesting. The terms alpha and omega are used almost like a secondary gender, rather than as an indicator of status within the packs. Good packs seem to act almost like large family units that cover several generations, and they also seem very friendly even to other werewolves outside the pack who are in their territory. The pack structure seems a lot closer to a real wolf pack structure than a lot of other pack ideas within this genre.

Omega Required is very much a paranormal romance story, so there isn’t really much of a plot besides what is going on between Beau and Roland. Lux throws in a few curve balls, and that definitely keeps things interesting at least for me. I also really liked the fact that Beau and Roland alternating narrating chapters, it was interesting to see events from their perspectives. I also thought Beau wanting to be a doctor, and practise on humans, was a really interesting and unique idea. My only slight complaint is that there is a lot of scope within the story that I don’t think was explored, but maybe that will be expanded more in future books. I would have loved to see more of what life was like within a pack, and it would have been interesting to learn more about Beau and Roland’s families. Overall though I think that this was a great start to the Wolves of the World series. I’m looking forward to reading more.

Review: Serpentine by Laurell K. Hamilton

Serpentine by Laurell K. Hamilton (UK edition)

MY NAME IS ANITA BLAKE AND I’VE ALWAYS OVERCOME ANYTHING I’VE FACED. BUT THIS TIME, THERE’S A MONSTER THAT EVEN I DON’T KNOW HOW TO FIGHT . . .

A remote Florida island is the perfect destination for my fellow U.S. marshal and best friend Edward’s wedding. And for me, it’s a welcome break as it’s the first trip I’ve ever taken with just wereleopards Micah and Nathaniel for company. But it’s not all fun, games and bachelor parties . . .

In this tropical paradise, Micah has discovered a horrific new form of lycanthropy, one that has afflicted a single family for generations. Believed to be an ancient Greek curse, it turns human bodies into a mass of snakes.

The last thing I need is more drama, but when women start disappearing from the hotel – and worse – my own friends and lovers become the prime suspects. A strange power is afoot, a force that’s rendering those around me helpless in its thrall. I can’t face this alone and am willing to accept help from even the deadliest places – help that I will most certainly regret. If I survive at all . . .

Series: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter 26
Genre: Erotica, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: HEADLINE PUBLISHING GROUP (7th August 2018)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

The twenty-sixth novel in Laurell K. Hamilton’s brilliant Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, Serpentine follows Anita, Micha and Nathaniel to Florida for Edward’s wedding. Life has been busy for Anita and her beaus, so romance and even sex have been on something of a back burner. The wedding is their chance for a break in tropical paradise; only like most things in Anita’s life it’s just not that easy. Micah has discovered a horrific form of what appears to be lycanthropy. And then women start disappearing from the hotel they’re staying at.

I was really looking forward to getting my hands on this book. I know a lot of people are disappointed with the later books in the series, and whilst I can understand why I’m just really invested in the characters and actually really enjoy the reading experience. So I’ll just straight out say it – if you are looking for a more plot based story, like the early Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter books, then you are going to be disappointed. Hamilton has again gone back to focusing more on Anita’s relationships than on the plot. Having said that, there is a plot that whilst small is interesting and I wish it could have been explored more.

A lot of the drama of this novel comes from interpersonal relationships. Things are not all sunshine and roses for Anita and her family, or for her friends. Getting caught up in a case when she’s supposed to be on vacation certainly doesn’t help matters, but Anita wouldn’t be Anita if she didn’t. The case is actually rather interesting. Hamilton drops little hints about what’s going on, but although I had some guesses it wasn’t until the big reveal that I actually knew what was going on. It would have been nice if the book had been a little more case focused, but I think it does work well the way it is and it does fit in with the style of Crimson Death .

Although Serpentine is not in St. Louis we do get to meet a lot of familiar faces – there’s even a namedrop of a character from near the beginning of the series – and we are introduced to some new faces. As you can tell from the blurb, the main focus of this book is Anita, Micah and Nathaniel’s relationship. I enjoyed catching up with them. I also really liked seeing Edward and his family again – and it was nice to see how different he is in this book from when we first meet him. I wasn’t that impressed with the new faces that are working for Anita and Jean Claude. Most of them felt like you’d blink and you’d miss them, and the ones that got the longer page time just seemed a little flat to me – though to be fair this might have been because Anita is the narrator and she’s dealing with the aftermath of the events in Crimson Death. Fans of Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter will not be disappointed with Serpentine as long as they have enjoyed the more recent additions to the series.

Review: Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton

Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton (UK edition)

Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton (UK edition)

Title: Crimson Death (An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, Novel, #25)
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Genre: Erotica, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Headlines (11th October 2016)
Blurb:

MY NAME IS ANITA BLAKE.
I’M A VAMPIRE HUNTER AND NECROMANCER, AND I’M ABOUT TO LEARN THAT EVIL IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER . . .

I’ve never seen Damian, my vampire servant, in such a state. The rising sun doesn’t usher in the peaceful death that he desperately needs. Instead, he’s being bombarded with violent nightmares and blood sweats.

Damian is at his most vulnerable, but now is the time I need him most. The vampire who created him, who subjected him to centuries of torture, might be loosing control, allowing rogue vampires to run wild and break one of their kind’s few strict taboos.

Some say love is a great motivator, but hatred gets the job done, too. I’m joining forces with my friend Edward to stop the carnage, and Damian will be at our side, even if it means travelling back to the land where all his nightmares spring from . . . a place that couldn’t be less welcoming to a vampire, an assassin and  a necromancer.

Ireland.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️(4 stars)
Review:

CRIMSON DEATH by Laurell K. Hamilton is the twenty-fifth novel in her excellent Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series. This book sees Anita travel to Ireland at the request of her friend Edward, to deal with vampires running rogue – they may even been breaking one of the strictest taboos within their culture. However, traveling to Ireland means going to the one place Damian does not want to return to – the home of the vampire that made him – but Anita desperately needs his help. It doesn’t help that Damian is being bombarded with violent nightmares and blood sweats, as the rising dawn no longer appears to grant him peaceful death.

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Review: Lover Unleashed by J. R. Ward

Lover Unleashed by J. R. Ward (UK edition)

Title: Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, 9)
Author: J. R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Piatkus (3rd November 2011)
Blurb:

IN THE DARKEST CORNERS OF THE NIGHT IN CALDWELL, NEW YORK, A CONFLICT LIKE NO OTHER RAGES. THE CITY IS HOME TO A BAND OF BROTHERS BORN TO DEFEND THEIR RACE: THE WARRIOR VAMPIRES OF THE BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD.

Payne, twin sister of the Vishous, is cut from the same dark, seductive cloth as her vampire brother. Imprisoned for eons by their mother, the Scribe Virgin, she finally frees herself – only to face a devastating injury.

Manuel Manello, MD, is drafted by the Brotherhood to save her as only he can – but when the human surgeon and the vampire warrior meet, their two worlds collide in the face of their undeniable passion. With so much working against them, can love prove stronger than the birthright and the biology that separate them?

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

LOVER UNLEASHED by J. R. Ward is the ninth book in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. This book tells the story of Payne, twin sister to Vishous who is a member of the Brotherhood. Payne has spent the last several centuries imprisoned by their mother, and has only been recently reunited with her brother whom she watched from afar. After she frees herself, Payne is injured and requires the help of a surgeon. Jane ropes in an old friend to help in the form of Manuel “Manny” Manello. Payne and Manuel share something more than doctor and patient, and the lines between them quickly become blurred.

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Review: Lover Mine by J. R. Ward

Lover Mine by J. R. Ward

Title: Lover Mine (A Black Dagger Brotherhood Novel, 8)
Author: J. R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Piatkus (3rd February 2011)
Blurb:

In the darkest corners of the night in Caldwell, New York, a conflict like no other rages. The city is home to a band of brothers born to defend their race – the warrior vampires of the BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD.

John Matthew has come a long way since he was found living among humans, his vampire nature unknown to himself and to those around him, and taken in by the Brotherhood. No one could have guessed his true history – or his true identity. Indeed, the fallen Brother Darius has returned, but with a different face and a very different destiny.

Xhex, a symphath assassin, has long steeled herself against the attraction between her and John. Having already lost one lover to madness, she will not allow a male of worth to fall prey to the darkness of her twisted life. When fate intervenes, however, the two discover that love, like destiny, is inevitable between soul mates.

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

LOVER MINE by J. R. Ward is the eighth book in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. This time the story focuses on John Matthew and Xhex, who have both appeared as minor characters in previous books. John Matthew struggles to deal with the repercussions of the events at the end of the previous book, and also to gain justice for Xhex.

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Review: Lover Avenged by J. R. Ward

Lover Avenged by J. R. Ward

Title: Lover Avenged (A Black Dagger Brotherhood, 7)
Author: J. R. Ward
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Piatkus (4th November 2010)
Blurb:

As the vampire warriors of the BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD defend their race from their slayers, one male’s loyalty to the Brotherhood is about to be tested – and his dangerous mixed blood revealed.

Caldwell, New York, has long been the battleground for the vampires and their enemies, the Lessening Society. It’s also where Rehvenge has staked out his turf as a drug lord and owner of a notorious nightclub that caters to the rich and heavily armed. His shadowy reputation is exactly why he’s approached to kill Wrath, the Blind King, and leader of the Brotherhood.

However, Rehvenge has always kept his distance from the Brotherhood. He’s a symphath and the revelation of this deadly secret will result in his banishment to a colony for sociopaths. And as plots within and outside the Brotherhood take their toll against Rehvenge, he turns to the only source of light in a darkening world: Ehlena, a vampire untouched by the corruption that has taken its hold on him – and the one thing standing between him and eternal destruction.

Rating: **** (4 stars)
Review:

LOVER AVENGED is the seventh book in J. R. Ward’s intriguing Black Dagger Brotherhood series. This book tells the story of Rehvenge – brother of Bella – who is a symphath, something that is supposed to be cast out by the Brotherhood and the Blind King.

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Review: Rock Hard by Nalini Singh

Rock Hard by Nalini Singh

Title: Rock Hard (A Rock Kiss Novel, 2)
Author: Nalini Singh
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Publisher: TKA Distribution (10th March 2015)
Blurb:

In New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s newest contemporary romance, passion ignites between a gorgeous, sinfully sexy man who built himself up from nothing and a shy woman who has a terrible secret in her past . . .

Wealthy businessman Gabriel Bishop rules the boardroom with the same determination and ruthlessness that made him a rock star on the rugby field. He knows what he wants, and he’ll go after it no-holds-barred.

And what he wants is Charlotte Baird.

Charlotte knows she’s a mouse. Emotionally scarred and painfully shy, she just wants to do her job and remain as invisible as possible. But the new CEO – a brilliant, broad-shouldered T-Rex of a man who growls and storms through the office, leaving carnage in his wake – clearly has other plans. Plans that may be equal parts business and bedroom.

If Charlotte intends to survive this battle of wits and hearts, the mouse will have to learn to wrangle the T-Rex. Game on.

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

ROCK HARD by Nalini Singh is the second book in her self-published series Rock Kiss. This book tells the story of Charlotte Baird, Molly’s best friend, and her boss Gabriel Bishop – who Charlotte refers to as T-Rex. ROCK HARD takes place almost simultaneously with ROCK ADDICTION (review), though ROCK HARD starts a little later.

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