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: Check, Please! Book 1: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu

Check, Please! Book 1: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu

Y’all . . . I might not be ready for this. I may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and a very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It’s nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia. First of all? There’s checking. And then, there’s Jack.
. . . You see the problem.

Series: Check, Please! 1
Genre: Contemporary, Graphic Novel, Young Adult
Publisher: First Second (1st September 2018)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)

I was really looking forward to getting hold of a copy of Check, Please! Book 1: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu since I discovered that the webcomic I’d browsed briefly on Tumblr was getting published. Hockey really isn’t a sport I know a lot about, or have even watched, but Ukazu’s story of hockey and baking really drew me in. The story follows Bitty a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team who is a former junior figure skating champion, an amateur baker and a vlogger. This book follows his first two years at Samwell University, and focuses on his life with the hockey team.

This book is basically a compilation of the first two years of Bitty’s life at Samwell University, including some of the extra comments and some of Bitty’s tweets.  So if you’ve read the webcomic and are looking for new stories in this universe, then I think you’ll be disappointed. If like me, you’ve read some (or maybe all) of the webcomics but wanted something physical to hold then you will really enjoy this book. New readers are in for a treat! The book feels really good quality, and the paper feels quite thick and I think the colours have translated well from screen to page.

If you’re looking for a plot driven story then Check, Please! is probably not going to be something you will enjoy, as apart from it being Bitty’s first two years at Samwell University there is no real over-arching plot to tie everything together. Rather, each chapter serves as its own self-contained story, which I guess shows the books roots as a webcomic. Personally I really enjoyed this, as it enabled me to dip in and out of the book without having to worry if I’d forgotten an important plot point twenty pages back.

I also really enjoyed the fact that each chapter feels like a vlog; generally with Bitty addressing the camera, and updating us on what’s going on. Although Bitty is very definitely the main character, I thought Ukazu does a good job with making the rest of the team that appears in the comic seem real. Ukazu does a really fab job at showing the friendships within the team. I particularly love Ransom and Holster’s friendship, and Shitty seems like a really awesome person and just super chill. Check, Please! is perfect for anyone looking for a fun, light read. I also think fans of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda will love this too.  I’m really looking forward to the second book in this series, which looks like it will be published at some point in 2020.

Review: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (UK Edition – Zoella Book Club)

Title: If I Was Your Girl
Author: Meredith Russo
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher: Usborne Publishing (1st June 2016)
Blurb:

AMANDA HARD IS the NEW GIRL AT SCHOOL.

Like everyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is holding back. Even from Grant, the guy she’s falling in love with.

AMANDA HAS A SECRET.

At her old school, she used to be called Andrew. And secrets always have a way of getting out . . .

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

IF I WAS YOUR GIRL is Meredith Russo’s debut novel. It tells the story of Amanda Hardy an eighteen year old who has moved in with her dad for the first time, and is starting a new school. Like everyone else, she just wants to make friends and fit in. Amanda has a secret, one that has caused (and is causing) her a lot of heartache and pain: one that has pushed her and her family to their limits. Amanda used to be called Andrew. The trouble with secrets is that they have a way of getting out, whether you’re ready for them to or not.

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Review: Kings Rising by C. S. Pacat

King’s Rising

Title: Kings Rising (Captive Prince Trilogy, 3)
Author: C. S. Pacat
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Berkley (2nd February 2016)
Blurb:

THE WORLDWIDE PHENOMENON CONTINUES – FROM THE BOLDLY ORIGINAL AUTHOR OF CAPTIVE PRINCE AND PRINCE’S GAMBIT.

Damianos of Akielos has returned.

His identity now revealed, Damen must face his master, Prince Laurent, as Damianos of Akielos, the man Laurent has sworn to kill.

On the brink of a momentous battle, the future of both their countries hands in the balance. In the south, Kastor’s forces are massing. In the north, the Regent’s armies are mobiliding for war. Damen’s only hope of reclaiming his throne is to fight together with Laurent against their usurpers.

Forced into an uneasy alliance, the two princes journey deep into Akielos, where they face their most dangerous opposition yet. But even if the fragile trust they have built survives the revelation of Damen’s identity – can it stand against the Regent’s final, deadly play for the throne?

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

KINGS RISING by C. S. Pacat is the final book in her brilliant Captive Prince Trilogy. This book brings to a conclusion the stories of Prince Laurent and Damen, his slave. Damen’s real identity, that of Damianos of Akielos, has been revealed and now he has to deal with the consequences of that. Akielos and Vere stand on the brink of war, and the only chance to avoid that is for Damen and Laurent to forge an alliance. But can they trust one another? And the Regent still has some cards left up his sleeve.

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Review: Prince’s Gambit by C. S. Pacat

Prince’s Gambit by C. S. Pacat

Title: Prince’s Gambit (Captive Prince Trilogy, 2)
Author: C. S. Pacat
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Berkley (7th July 2015)
Blurb:

With their countries on the brink of war, Damen and his new master, Prince Laurent, must exhange the intrigues of the palace for the sweeping might of the battlefield as they travel to the border to avert a lethal plot.

Forced to hide his idenity, Damen finds himself increasingly drawn to the dangerous, charismatic Laurent. But as the fledgling trust between the two men deepends, the truth of secrets from both their pasts is poised to deal them a final devistating blow . . .

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
Review:

PRINCE’S GAMBIT by C. S. Pacat is the second book in her Captive Prince Trilogy. The novel continues the stories of Prince Laurent and his slave Damen. Prince Laurent has been sent from the palace to spend time protecting the border, which is a powder keg waiting to blow, by his uncle the Regent. Damen follows his master to the border, closer to his homeland, determined to keep the Prince safe and earn his freedom. The closer they get to Damen’s home, the more lethal the secret of his past becomes.

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Review: The King’s Men by Nora Sakavic

The King’s Men by Nora Sakavic

Title: The King’s Men (All For The Game, 3)
Author: Nora Sakavic
Genre: Contemporary, GLBT, Mafia, New Adult, Thriller
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (31st March 2016)
Blurb:

Neil Josten is out of time. He knew when he came to PSU he wouldn’t survive the year, but with his death right around the corner he’s got more reasons than ever to live.

Befriending the Foxes was inadvisable. Kissing one is unthinkable. Neil should know better than to get involved with anyone this close to the end, but Andrew’s never been the easiest person to walk away from. If they both say it doesn’t mean anything, maybe Neil won’t regret losing it, but the one person Neil can’t lie to is himself.

He’s got promises to keep and a team to get to championships if he can outrun Riko a little longer, but Riko’s not the only monster in Neil’s life. The truth might get them all killed – or be Neil’s one shot at getting out of this alive.

Rating: ***** (5 stars)
Review:

THE KING’S MEN by Nora Sakavic is the concluding part of her All For The Game trilogy. When Neil Josten signed with the PSU Foxes he knew he would only have limited time, but now that time has run out and Neil must face the consequences of choosing to stay. The monsters in his life are growing closer, and now after years of running Neil might just have a reason to live. His growing bond with the Foxes means for the first time he has a family. But one of them might mean a whole lot more to him, and kissing them would be dangerous.

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Review: Captive Prince by C. S. Pacat

Captive Prince by C. S. Pacat

Title: Captive Prince (Captive Prince Trilogy, 1)
Author: C. S. Pacat
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Berkley (23rd April 2015)
Blurb:

FROM THE GLOBAL PHENOMENON C. S. PACAT COMES THE FIRST IN HER CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED TRILOGY – WITH A BONUS STORY.

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos. But when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Beautiful, manipulative, and deadly, his new master, Prince Laurent, epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal polical web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country.

For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else . . .

Rating: *** (3 stars)
Review:

CAPTIVE PRINCE by C. S. Pacat is book one of the Captive Prince Trilogy. In it we are introduced to Prince Damen and Prince Laurent, who are heirs to the thrones of rival kingdoms. Damen is sent to serve Prince Laurent as a pleasure slave when his half-brother seizes power and becomes King of Akielos. Stuck in a place where discovery will mean his death, Damen struggles to fit into the Veretian Court.

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