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: Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs

Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs

In this new installment in the No. 1 New York Times bestselling series, Mercy Thompson must face a deadly enemy to defend all she loves . . .

My Name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic.

And a coyote shapeshifter . . . And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.

Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn’t taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae.

The reality is that nothing and no one is safe. As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death.

But we are pack, and we have given our word. We will die to keep it.

Series: Mercy Thompson, 11
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit (9 May 2019)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)

This is one of the books that I have been really looking forward to getting my hands on, even though I didn’t rush to get my hands on a copy when it was first released. In her Mercy Thompson series Patricia Briggs has created a world and characters I really enjoy. So I had high expectations going into Storm Called, and honestly it totally lived up to them. From the first page I was able to dive straight back into Mercy’s world and become completely absorbed in the story, to the point that I was a little disappointed when I had to stop. This was not a book I savoured, though I probably should have: I just devoured it.

Plot-wise this book was not what I was expecting at all, though it did follow a similar formula to previous books in the series. Briggs kept me guessing from start to end about what was going to happen, and I really enjoyed that. I thought the set-up was going to go one way, but Briggs outmanoeuvred me on that front. The storyline was everything I wanted from a book in the Mercy Thompson series and more. My only slight gripe was that one of the events I thought was going to happen, happens off the page but with that there is definitely plenty of scope for future books in the series. It has definitely left me excited to see more of this world in future books, as there is a lot of potential for the future in this book. Fans of this series will, I think, definitely be pleased. Storm Called is definitely a contender for my favourite book in this series.

Not only was the plot interesting, but there is the return of a few familiar faces. I just want to say that Mercy has some awesome friends, and I love the way Briggs writes Mercy’s relationship with Adam and her relationship with his pack. It feels very real. The baddies are intriguing characters, though at times they do feel a little flat and two-dimensional. I don’t really feel that that reflects negatively on the story, to me it just reflects the fact that the story follows Mercy’s point of view and she’s not an omniscient narrator. There is definitely the feel that there is a lot going on behind the scenes, but considering the events of previous books it is somewhat to be expected – after all Mercy and her pack are at the centre of a period of great change within the world.

If you are new to this series and have just stumbled across this review and thought it sounded interesting, then I highly recommend that you give the series a try with the first book in the series Moon Called. If you are a long-time fan of the series, and you haven’t got this book yet then go out and get it. If you’ve loved the previous ten books, or at least liked them, then you will enjoy this one too.

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: Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop

Title: Etched in Bone (A Novel of The Others 5)
Author: Anne Bishop
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: ROC (9th March2017)
Blurb:

New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop returns to the world of the Others, as humans struggle to survive in the shadow of shape-shifters and vampires far more powerful than they are . . .

After a human uprising was brutally put down by the Elders – a primitive and lethal form of the Others – the few cities left under human control are far-flung. And the people within them noew know to fear both the no-man’s-land beyond their borders and the darkness . . .

As some communities struggle to rebuild, Lakeside Courtyard has emerged relativelt unscathed, though Simon Wolfguard, it’s wolf-shifter leader, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn must work with the human pack to maintain the fragile peace. But all their efforts are threatened when Lieutenant Montgomery’s shady brother arrives, looking for a free ride and easy pickings.

With the humans on guard against one of their own, tensions rise, drawing the attention of the Elders, who are curious about the effect such an insignificant predator can  have on a pack. But Meg knows the dangers, for she has seen in the cards how it will end: with her standing beside a grave . . .

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

ETCHED IN BONE is the fifth book in Anne Bishop’s brilliant The Others series. This book continues the story of Meg Corbyn and the inhabitants of the Lakeside Courtyard after the events of the previous four books. With the others having taken action against the humans who threatened them, the humans who survived their anger are still struggling to find the balance that may guarantee their survival. The Lakeside Courtyard may have escaped this turbulence relatively unscathed, but all the residents are aware of how fragile the peace is. When Lieutenant Montgomery’s brother turns up, the Courtyard is thrown into chaos.

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Review: Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs (UK edition)

Title: Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson 10)
Author: Patricia Briggs
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit (9th March 2017)
Blurb:

MECHANIC. SHAPESHIFTER. FIGHTER.

Mercy Thompson has found her voice in the werewolf pack. But when her bond with the pack – and her mate – is broken, she’ll learn what it truly means to be alone.

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against Alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes – only to discover that she is alone in the heart of Europe without money or clothes.

Unable to contact her pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, but first she needs to figure out which is which . . .

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

SILENCE FALLEN is the tenth book in Patricia Briggs’s brilliant Mercy Thompson series. Although not a werewolf, Mercy has settled into her place in her pack. After some pack bonding, Mercy finds herself attacked and abducted by the most powerful vampire in the world. This vampire plans to use her against her husband and the vampires of the Tri-Cities. Never one to sit and wait for rescue and unable to contact her pack, Mercy escapes from the vampire in her coyote form only to discover she is no longer in the US – instead, she finds herself without money, passport, or clothes in Europe.

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Review: Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop

Title: Marked in Flesh (A Novel of The Others, 4)
Author: Anne Bishop
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: ROC (10th March 2016)
Blurb:

For centuries, the Others and humans have lived side by side in uneasy peace. But when humankind oversteps its bounds, the Others will have to decide how much humanity they’re willing to tolerate – both within themselves and within their community . . .

Since the Others allied themselves with the cassandra sangue, the fragile yet powerful human blood prophets who were being exploited by their own kind, the delicate dynamic between humans and Others has changed. Some, such as Simon Wolfgard, wolf shifter and leader of the Lakeside Courtyard, and blood prophet Meg Corbyn see the new, closer companionship as beneficial – both personally and practically.

But not everyone is convinced. A group of radical humans is seeking to usurp land through a series of violent attacks on the Others. What they don’t realize is that there are older and more dangerous forces than shifters and vampires protecting the land that belongs to the Others – and those forces are willing to do whatever is necessary to protect what is theirs . . .

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

MARKED IN FLESH by Anne Bishop is the fourth book in The Others series. This book continues the story of Meg Corbyn and the residents of the Lakeside Courtyard. Unrest caused by a radical group of humans who seek to control land belonging to the Others attracts dangerous attention that could cause trouble for everyone.

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Review: Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs

Title: Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson, 9)
Author: Patricia Briggs
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit (8th March 2016)
Blurb:

MECHANIC. SHAPESHIFTER. FIGHTER.

Mercy Thompson is back, and she’ll soon discover that when the fae stalk the human world, it’s the children who suffer . . .

Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could help avert out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.

Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans and the fae, Mercy, Adam and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?

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

FIRE TOUCHED is the ninth book in the fantastic Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. Tension between the fae and humans risk coming to a head in this book when the pack are called upon to stop a rampaging troll from wreaking havoc in the Tri-Cities. Mercy and her husband Adam, the pack’s Alpha, find themselves caught in the middle of something that could cause in a war.

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Review: Led Astray: The Best of Kelley Armstrong by Kelley Armstrong

Led Astray by Kelley Armstrong

Title: Led Astray: The Best of Kelley Armstrong
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Fantasy, Short Stories, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Tachyon Publications (15th September 2015)
Souce: Publisher
Blurb:

With her signature twists and turns, New York Times best-selling author Kelley Armstrong (Otherworld, Cainsville, Darkest Powers, Age of Legends) always gives a fresh spin on city-dwelling vampires, werewolves, and zombies. She is equally exciting when traveling further afield, to a post-apocalyptic fortress, a superstitious village, a supernatural brothel, and even feudal Japan.

Here is the first time that urban fantasy, young adult, mystery, and crime author Kelley Armstrong has had her stories collected from Otherworld and beyond. From humorous to heart-stopping, and including two original tales, Led Astray showcases Armstrong at her versatile best.

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

LED ASTRAY by Kelley Armstrong is a new collection of twenty-three short stories. The stories feature new and familiar characters, as well as new and familiar worlds. This collection brings together some favourite short stories from previous volumes, as well as two new pieces.

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