His Unexpected Mate (His Unexpected Mate #1) by T.L. West

Living in a small wooden cabin at the edge of a forest and working to solve the mystery of recent murders, young Eli Bright learns the locals believe a man-beast is responsible.
As an outsider, he is watched very closely as he works with the young local sheriff, Stanley Blake. But Eli knows there has to be a proper explanation. Paranormal creatures don’t exist, right?

I’ve read one other book by T.L. West and unfortunately, I came away from His Unexpected Mate feeling much the same way as I did when I finished reading A Fated Bond. *sigh*

I think a lot of my issue with His Unexpected Mate was that it was too short to give readers a chance to wrap their heads around what was happening between Eli and Stanley. Never mind all the supernatural danger, family drama and world building that was just as much a part of the story. If more pages were devoted to all the elements of the story, I might have enjoyed it more, because the premise was great and the writing flowed nicely. As with many, many short stories/novellas, I just needed more.

 

Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bryght (Orion #1) by Cathryn Cade

He’s an alpha beast, trapped on the space ship Orion in mating shift … with only her between him and madness.
Tryon Jag is handsome, wealthy and arrogant. With good reason–he’s one of the elite Tyger navigators trusted to bring ships like Orion through the deadly asteroid belts around his home planet, and he’s the best … until he shifts into a feral half-man, half-cat with only one thing on his mind.
They’ll never make it to safety, unless they bring him the one woman who ran from him.
Calla Fellura is a novice interpreter. The young Tyger loves her job on this state-of-the-art space cruise ship, but she’s in uncharted territory when it comes to Jag. The virile alpha can have any woman he wants–why would he choose the naïve, shy female who turned their first hookup into a snarling disaster, humiliating him in front of his entire planet? Unless she’s the only one of his kind available.
This time, she’ll have to stay… and let him take her any way he wants.

Short, sweet and hot… that pretty much sums up Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bryght.

Tryon needs Calla and she’s more than happy to help, but what Tryon doesn’t know is that they have a history.

Although Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bryght was a bit heavy on the smexiness level, there’s a lot more to the story than just a Tyger shifter in heat. There was a mystery to be solved, lives were in danger and even the bad guys had no idea whose side they were on.

Her Commander is the next book in the series and even though I’m late jumping into this series, I plan on playing catch-up… eventually. 😉

Some Girls Bite (Chicagoland Vampires #1) by Chloe Neill

They killed me. They healed me. They changed me.
Sure, the life of a graduate student wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it was Merit’s. She was doing fine until a rogue vampire attacked her. But he only got a sip before he was scared away by another bloodsucker–and this one decided the best way to save her life was to make her the walking undead.
Turns out her savior was the master vampire of Cadogan House. Now she’s traded sweating over her thesis for learning to fit in at a Hyde Park mansion full of vamps loyal to Ethan Sullivan. Of course, as a tall, green-eyed, four-hundred-year-old vampire, he has centuries’ worth of charm, but unfortunately, he expects her gratitude–and servitude.
But an inconvenient sunlight allergy and Ethan’s attitude are the least of her concerns. Someone’s still out to get her. Her initiation into Chicago’s nightlife may be the first skirmish in a war–and there will be blood.

Well, I’m WAY late to this party. It seems that every blogger/reader/author that I follow and trust for solid recommendations has read this book/series. And I have sat here oblivious – for YEARS. I think I picked this one up earlier this year when it was either offered free or really cheap. Either way, it doesn’t matter because I’ve FINALLY started the Chicagoland Vampire series and there is no turning back.

As series openers go, Some Girls Bite definitely covered a lot of ground. It also left the door wide open for a crazy amount of scenarios to play out. Along with more than a few characters that can go either way as far as loyalties lie. Merit never fit into the “mold” that her parents expected and it looks like the same will be true with her new vampire “family.” Needless to say, things are going to get more than a little interesting and I can’t wait to continue this series. Friday Night Bites is next and I’m pretty sure it won’t be long before I pick it up. Stay tuned!

 

Fury (Menagerie #3) by Rachel Vincent

1986: Rebecca Essig leaves a slumber party early but comes home to a massacre—committed by her own parents. Only one of her siblings has survived. But as the tragic event unfolds, she begins to realize that other than a small army of six-year-olds, she is among very few survivors of a nationwide slaughter.
The Reaping has begun.
Present day: Pregnant and on the run with a small band of compatriots, Delilah Marlow is determined to bring her baby into the world safely and secretly. But she isn’t used to sitting back while others suffer, and she’s desperate to reunite Zyanya, the cheetah shifter, with her brother and children. To find a way for Lenore the siren to see her husband. To find Rommily’s missing Oracle sisters. To unify this adopted family of fellow cryptids she came to love and rely on in captivity.
But Delilah is about to discover that her role in the human versus cryptid war is destined to be much larger—and more dangerous—than she ever could have imagined.

My initial reaction when I finished Fury, the last book in the Menagerie series was torn between heartbreak and… well, I’m still not sure. Yet, there’s no way that I could rate this book with anything less than 5 stars. Given the direction that Rachel Vincent had taken the characters and events in Menagerie and Spectacle, I shouldn’t have been surprised. I wanted these characters that we’ve gotten to know, respect and love to get the happiness that they deserved – just like Delilah did. *sigh*

There’s really not a whole lot more I can say without giving things away, and trust me, Fury is one of those books that you have to experience for yourself. There was also a big difference between Fury and the rest of the books in the series. The chapters flipped between “1986″ and “Present Day.” At first it was a little confusing, especially since the book began with “1986.” It didn’t take long to not only get used to, but to actually look forward to each POV. Eventually both POVs catch up with each other and surprising connections are made.

I loved these characters and the world that Rachel Vincent created. Parallels between “fiction” and “non-fiction” weren’t hard to recognize, but the message wasn’t forced. I suppose it’s possible to read the Menagerie series without making the connection, but it would be nice if people paid attention to the details…

Then there was the ending… not what I expected and definitely not what I wished for, but there was a spark of hope, which is always nice to walk away with in a series as powerful and emotional as this one. ❤

Healer’s Need (Ancient Ink #2) by Rhenna Morgan

When the hunter is your mate, being prey is anything but terrifying
Coyote shifter Tate Allen has been watching. Learning his mate every possible way before he moves in. Protecting her through the night, always from afar.
He’ll be the one to teach her about her gifts. He’ll be there when she changes for the first time.
With him, she’ll fulfill her destiny.
Elise Ralston loves Tate for the patience he’s shown. The faith he’s demonstrated—denying himself what he needs sexually, even as he teaches her about pleasure.
For Tate, Elise is willing to try. To revel in touch, to give him control…and to embrace her healer’s need.
But someone unknown is still stalking the clan, threatening more than Tate and Elise’s bond. And Elise is a prime target—precious for the magic she hasn’t even learned yet.

I really liked Guardian’s Bond and I’m also really glad that I made the decision to purchase that one before I read the ARC of Healer’s Need – for a lot of reasons… The first book in the Ancient Ink series not only introduced the characters in Healer’s Need, but a lot of world building ground work was laid. So… for once, you should probably do as I did 😉 (I don’t get to say that often, so pay attention – you can thank me later;) ) Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…

Tate was one of my favorite characters in Guardian’s Bond. He and Jade had been a part of Priest’s life for a long time and the “sibling” banter between the two of them was natural (and entertaining), as well as the love and respect that they both had for Priest. Tate’s reaction to Elise at the end of Guardian’s Bond was priceless and I couldn’t wait to find out how things developed between the two of them. I wasn’t disappointed.

Like I said, I loved Tate in Guardian’s Bond, but he gained my respect in Healer’s Need. Given the mate bond, it was no surprise that he was amazing with Elise, but he still impressed me. Elise had been through a lot and Tate somehow sensed that and was patient. A lot was thrown at her at once, given the fact that she knew nothing of her heritage – at least nothing that she believed. I loved and respected her strength and determination to face her destiny.

I’m really loving this series and can’t wait for it to continue. Rhenna Morgan has quickly turned into one of my go-to authors. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for readers next.

Guardian’s Bond (Ancient Ink #1) by Rhenna Morgan

Priest Rahandras has lived with the darkness trapped inside himself for years. Betrayed by his own brother and forced to watch his clan’s brutal annihilation, the only thing Priest wants more than to escape the curse that haunts him—as both man and beast—is to rebuild.
Until the mate he’s longed for walks into his life with an elder from his past. She’s everything he’s wished for, and the key to the clan’s very survival.
Kateri Falsen is a woman of logic and facts. While Priest’s cat can sense her arousal, telling her they’re fated won’t be enough. He’ll have to show her his love: with his words, with his actions and with his body.
Protecting Kateri from the evil trapped inside him is paramount. But when lost clan members are systematically murdered, he’ll have to choose between exposing his mate to his black magic, or risking her as the next victim.

I’ve been a HUGE fan of Rhenna Morgan’s Men of Haven series since I read Rough & Tumble. Somehow I missed Guardian’s Bond when it was first offered as an ARC, but once I saw Healer’s Need, I new I had to start at the beginning, so here we are.

Guardian’s Bond was an amazing start to this series. There was a lot of world building, which is expected in the first book in a new series, but it didn’t bog down the story. The fact that Kateri and her brother knew nothing about their heritage was the perfect catalyst for the magic they knew nothing about to be explained to both them and readers.

There was a lot to love about Guardian’s Bond. I loved the connection between Kateri and Priest. I loved the connection between the clan members. I loved the magic, the world building, the suspense, the characters, even the danger. I can’t wait to continue the series. Healer’s Need is already ready and waiting for me to pick up and from the hint of what’s in store for characters at the end of Guardian’s Bond, Healer’s Need is going to be just as intense.

To Trust a Wolf (Unnatural Alliances #1) by Danielle Hardgrave

A list of things Helen Jurist never expected to see in her museum:
1. Viking relics
2. A dangerously seductive Dane with a suspicious interest in Viking relics
3. Werewolves
With the discovery of the Cutler Hoard, Helen may be forced to strike the word “never” from her vocabulary.

This one was short and sweet. Honestly, I was looking for something I could read in one sitting during Bout of Books 21 and I found this offering from Danielle Hardgrave buried under a bunch of other books on my Kindle. I also found just a bit more than I bargained for.

A lot happened in less than 90 pages. A mystery, romance, a historical find and a quick introduction for Helen to the supernatural world. Even though everything came to a somewhat satisfying end for Helen and Dane, I wouldn’t have minded more. Especially since it’s obvious that they have a lot more adventure waiting for them by the end of To Trust a Wolf. The next book in the series features another Unnatural Alliance in Sluething with the Enemy

Possessed (When Worlds Collide #1) by Kelly Apple

When she bought her new house, Char James didn’t plan to also take on a ghost. It’s rude, creepy, and a downright terrible roommate. Despite that, she’s determined to show it they can live in harmony. Hopefully.
But Char’s entire perspective changes when a surprise encounter rocks her world. She learns that sometimes pranks can be helpful, sometimes a ghost isn’t really a ghost…
And sometimes the scariest creature of all is the most protective.

I love smexy ghost stories… even though this isn’t exactly a ghost story. Hence the title, Possessed. Trust me when I say that When World’s Collide is off to a great start.

Char got more than she bargained for when she moved into her new home. Mal… At first he was an annoyance, then he turned into a lot more… way more… Did I mention that this was a smexy read? He also turned out to be really helpful in more ways than one. Turns out that sometimes the bad guys aren’t exactly who you might expect them to be.

Yeah, Kelly Apple is really good at creating really smexy times with paranormals. I’m kinda looking forward to see what she has planned for the next books in this series. 😉

White Collared (Wicked Pride #3) by Kelly Apple – Bout of Books 20 Review

Kane Mayhew, Alpha of the cat shifters and all around surly guy, has never been one to walk away from a challenge. So when a full-human walks into his business and asks for help, he gives it to her. He never expected to find himself in the middle of a possible inter-species war. Or trying to figure out how to keep the pretty human with him once he’d done as he said.
He was a cat, after all, and cats looked after themselves.
But Carrie Sato is intriguing. She calls to his beast and she’s fierce enough to stand up to him when he’s at his worst. When the help she asked for leads them into the territory of one of the meanest shifter breeds around, Kane knows he’s going to have to be as quick and deadly as his kind are known for.
Not only when it comes to keeping her safe, but also so he can stake a claim on her heart.
Because when a lion finds his mate, nobody better get between them.

It’s always fun when a big bad alpha gets unexpectedly tamed. It’s even more fun when the person doing the taming is a timid human, who isn’t quite as timid as they seem.

Kane’s most definitely got his hands full with Carrie, but he’s up to the challenge. Then there’s the tiny little matter of some disgruntled (and growly) bear shifters. Needless to say, things got interesting by the end of White Collared.

So yeah, it was a lot of fun, a lot of heat and plenty of smexiness… of course it was a Kelly Apple read, so I would expect no less. Needless to say, Laid Bear just moved way up on my TBR pile. 😉

Dangerous Curves (Wicked Pride #2) by Kelly Apple

Samuel Delaney’s had a rough couple of months. Not only did he find out his mom works for the government in a job she stubbornly refuses to speak about, now he’s helping his alpha deal with a sudden influx of wolves after their alpha mated with one of the cats from his pride.
Most importantly, the leopardess he’s been half in love with his entire adult life is actively looking for a mate.
And Sam isn’t even a footnote on her list of potentials.
Convincing the lovely Luna North to give him a chance would be a hell of a lot easier if he didn’t get tongue tied whenever she was around. He’ll have to rely on his cat’s instinctive ability to land on its feet if he hopes to make any headway with the stubborn beauty.
Because when a lion chooses his mate, he doesn’t back down.
Ever.

Wow! That was a fun addition to the Wicked Pride series. After meeting Sam and Luna in No Reservations, I wasn’t surprised. Besides, this is a Kelly Apple book which means that witty characters, an abundance of snark and plenty of heat between the sheets – or wherever else her characters may end up – is pretty much guaranteed. 😉

So yeah, I kinda loved Sam and Luna. Sam was adorable… he knew Luna was his mate, but she didn’t have a clue. He sat on the sidelines, waiting for his chance and growling under his breath every time she made it clear she wanted nothing to do with him. Luna was utterly clueless and never even considered Sam as a friend, much less a potential mate. Watching these two squirm until they FINALLY got their act together was perfect. My only complaint – which is extremely minor – is that I wish we had more time with them. Dangerous Curves was short and … well not exactly sweet, but oh so much fun!

The next book in the Wicked Pride series is White Collared, which is on my Bout-of-Books 20 reading list, so stay tuned!