Something to Howl About by Christine Warren

Book Review

 


Something to Howl About (Alphaville, #0.5)Book Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Shifter, Novella

Book Series: Alphaville #0.5

Released: 1/2/18 by Swerve

Pages: 86 Price: $0.99 Ebook

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

WELCOME TO ALPHAVILLE, where the she-wolves and alpha-males play. . .for keeps, in a brand-new paranormal romance series from New York Times bestselling author Christine Warren.

Dr. Annie Cryer has been called many things: Genius. Child prodigy. Scientific wonder.

Wolf Shifter.

Banished from her pack years ago, Annie’s lone wolf wandering has brought her to Alpha, Washington, home to all shifters who don’t quite fit in in the “normal” shifter word. Now Annie has the chance to go back home…if only she can make good on a favor her alpha owes the mayor of “Alphaville.” But it’s not much of a favor when you’re helping the hottest shifter in town…

Grizzly shifter Jonas Browning has a clan in trouble. They haven’t had a child born in over a hundred years…and their clan faces going completely extinct. Genetic scientist Anne Cryer has been sent to help save them. But what Jonas doesn’t count on is being irresistibly drawn to the small wolf shifter, and his bear isn’t about to let her go…

My Review:

I requested and was approved for the first book in this new series by Ms. Warren, Baby, I’m Howling For You.  A week or so later I was offered a copy of the prequel novella along with an invitation to join the blog tour.  Unfortunately, health issues prevented me from being able to join in the fun… I’m still battling the flu.  Anyway, I finally found a moment and motivation in wanting to finish just one more book before 2017 ends and decided to spend the afternoon reading this title.

I’m so glad I did because I now plan to spend the first day of 2018 devouring the next book!  This was such fun read that had me laughing at so many moments.  It was simply perfect!  There was humor, science (y) plot, relationship drama, and a really good steamy scene.  We have a smart sassy strong female lead and a horny yet bumbling commitaphobe mate that really puts his foot in his mouth.  My only complaint is that it was simply too short! The dialog was great and setting up of this new society was just right no info dump here but I didn’t feel lost either.  I do understand that this is to be a spin-off from her Others series but you do not have to have read that one to dive into this world.

I’ve not read a shifter series for a while and it looks like Alphaville is going to be a fun new playground for me to spend my reading time in.  This book while short had plenty to offer and I hope you go grab a copy for yourself after all the price is quite the deal. Perfect to get you hooked.  This was a great title to end my reading year on!

My Rating: 5 Stars

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Monday Morning Check-In: Review Requests

Monday Morning Check-In

Good Monday morning everyone!  Another weekend has come and gone and I got diddly squat reading done.  I did go all over town on Saturday in an epic search for a new purse I love that costs less than $50…. Came home empty-handed.  I’m picky.  I did scored big on cheap books while thrifting though!  24 new titles, two complete series, have been added to my new bookcase.  I don’t know when I’ll ever get to them but that’s the beauty of books they don’t go bad.

Alright, now to the topic of the title.  I have been receiving some review requests again, I swear there is a season to these things, and as result I have updated my review requests page and policy.  Not that any of you will read it but the info is there.  I would like to point out because it has been showing up in most of the requests.  I DO NOT post review to Amazon.  Yes, I have an account there and yes, I did post a review there just last week.  There is currently only one author I will post review to Amazon for and it probably isn’t you.  I’m not trying to be mean.  It is a case of one difficult author ruined it for everyone combined with Amazon review policies that I am against.  Authors are welcome to link to my reviews here or quote the review on their site, but I am not going to post my review to Amazon.  I also might turn a book down for review if it is only offered through Amazon, a practice that I believe is unfair to readers.  If this means you don’t want to request I review your book I’m fine with that.  I currently have over 200 books up in my bedroom waiting for their turn to be read, I’ll be alright.  I do cross-post my reviews to Goodreads and Barnes and Noble (when I remember).  The blog posts are shared with my Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, and Twitter account too.  I feel this is plenty of coverage for the books I review this is a hobby for me after all.

Alright I feel the tone of that was kind of snarky but I am going to leave it.  It is frustrating to get review requests from authors who don’t read my policy.  I even have it listed on my Amazon account that I no longer post reviews there and I still get requests from authors who contact me from simply seeing an old review over there.  I do have to say though most of the recent requests are at least for books relevant to my current reading taste, so that is getting better.

Okay I hope to finish a book today and I need to get my 30 day book challenge Instagram post made.  Day 29 so I’m almost done!  Happy Reading everyone.

Guarding Angel by S.L. Saboviec

Guarding Angel
Linked to Goodreads page.

Book #1 of the Fallen Redemption series: Release Date 5/14/14, 320 pages

I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review.

Author’s Site

Book Synopsis:

Guardian angel Enael can’t seem to keep her human Wards in check. They’re the ones who choose their paths before reincarnating-she’s just there to help make sure they stay on track. But it’s not as easy as it might look.
When she meets and falls in love with charismatic Kaspen, a fellow Guardian, Enael’s feelings about Heaven, Hell, demons, and the life she’s known are turned upside down. Worse, angel-turned-demon Yasva, Kaspen’s former love, still holds him in her clutches. Even as Yasva works toward obtaining complete control of Earth, she taunts and haunts Kaspen’s and Enael’s lives.
Now Enael is forced to face her past (which is centuries long and bursting with secrets), her present (which is terribly unfulfilling and full of questions), and her future (which becomes more uncertain as time passes). Armed with a newfound love and fear of losing it all, she must figure out how to save the world–and the angel she loves. Which side will win? Who will Kaspen choose? Will Heaven and Earth continue to exist, or will everything go to Hell?

My Review:

Like many book review blogs I am inundated with requests to review books; indie authors and small publishing houses both send requests for bloggers to review their books.  My policy is that I look at each request and decide if the book interests me and if I have time to read and review it in the near future.  When Ms. Saboviec contacted me with a request I was instantly attracted to the book she offered for review and accepted.

So what motivated me to pick Guarding Angel?  I have to confess the concept of a paranormal romance centering around reincarnation is what pulled me in.  I am a believer in reincarnation and wanted to see how the author worked it into her story.  Angel stories also tend to be one of my favorite branches of paranormal genre, right behind vampires and before werewolves…yes I rank them.  So the desire to work more indie authors into my reading rotation and a story that caught my attention it was the right time to give Guarding Angel a shot.  If only I wasn’t in such a personal reading slump…

Okay, honesty time let’s get the tough stuff out of the way first. It took me nine days to read this book, and I just couldn’t get excited about it.  I did like it, but I thought I would like it better when I agreed to review it.   The book was a little slow in the beginning, but it did pick up about half way through and I finished the last 120 pages in one day.  I think I might have liked the story better if it was set in the modern era or the angel’s charges were in today’s society. I’ve mentioned before that I am not a huge fan of historical reads and this is one case where it didn’t add to the story for me.  The author did a fine job staying true to the time periods and I only found one instance where I know something was not historically accurate (baling of hay did not begin until the mid 1800’s about 100 years after one of the background character’s is moving bales of hay).

I also had a tough time connecting with the two main characters and did not care for their first set of charges at all.  I though Enael was a bit too timid and naive and Kaspen was all over the place.  Both characters grew and developed throughout the story, but only Enael was able to grow on me and I ended up respecting her by the end.  Kaspen never was able to win me over unfortunately.    Their romance was very innocent for much of the book, but did develop a bit of heat near the end, but even that remained off page.  For those looking for a less graphic read in the sex area this might be a book you would like to check into.  There are some sexual situations, but they not anything that would turn off the average reader in my opinion.

So what did work for me?  What kept me reading past my 50-100 page dnf cut off.  Like I said I enjoyed the story, and perhaps it would have worked better for me at a different time, when I am not in the middle of a reading slump.   I did love the reincarnation element that the author based her story around.  Much of it was pretty in line with much of the non-fiction reading I’ve done on the subject.  It was interesting to see this concept was blended with a more traditional view of heaven/hell and angels/demons.  I tend to have a more secular belief on the concept of reincarnation, but for story’s sake this one worked well.   I also appreciated the growth Enael experienced throughout the story.  In the beginning I wasn’t real sure I could be in her head for 300 some pages, but she surprised me and in the end I did like her.    Much of the story is broken into three time periods for three different set of charges for the two main characters.  I struggled with the first setting, but the second and third were quite interesting.  I almost wish we could have spent more time exploring hell in the book, some of my favorite scenes took place there.  I don’t necessarily think that all of the creatures there are as evil as they are classified as just as I don’t think all the angels inhabiting heaven are as pure as they are assumed to be.

I would definitely recommend this book to fans of historical paranormal romance.   I am at a loss of other authors to compare this one to, she has a pretty distinctive voice and style compared to others that I’ve read.  It was a good first book that finished strong and I expect will continue to gain strength in the next story as the plot develops.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Click here for the Cover Reveal for Reaping Angel, book #2 in the Fallen Redemption series!

 

 

More Than Magic by Donna June Cooper – 4 Stars

More than magic

Click on cover to visit book’s Goodread page.

Book one in the Books of the Kindling series.

I received this title from the author for an honest review

Book synopsis and cover art from Goodreads:

“A malignant secret could turn her mountain sanctuary into their tomb.”

DEA agent Nick McKenzie is sure magic exists – a dangerous drug called Smoky Mountain Magic that’s wreaking havoc on the streets of Atlanta. He’s also sure that locating and eliminating the source could mean his death.

When he arrives undercover on Woodruff Mountain, the beautiful owner’s anxious attempts to scare him off tell him something’s afoot, and it s not her secret patch of a rare, ancient species of ginseng.

As her dream of seeking medicinal plants in the Amazon fades into the distance, Grace Woodruff struggles to come to terms with an inherited magical gift she didn’t want, and searches desperately for the meaning behind her late grandfather’s final, cryptic message.

The last thing she needs underfoot is a handsome, enigmatic writer recovering from a recent illness. Until an accidental touch unleashes a stunning mystical force and Grace senses the wrath of a malicious blight at the heart of the mountain. Now she must choose between her need to hide her gift from the world and her desire to save Nick s life.

Warning: This book contains a fiery redhead whose magic cannot be contained and a handsome DEA agent whose final case might give him a second chance at life.

The author contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing this and her next book, Mostly Magic, that comes out on June 3, 2014.  I checked into it and decided to give it a go.  The book was billed to me as a paranormal, but I would rather call it a contemporary romance instead.  Sure there were some paranormal or supernatural elements to it, but there were very light compared to most of the books I read.  Those who read a lot of paranormal books might find this one a little tame.  Not saying it was bad,  I enjoyed the story quite a bit, but thought I would put that out there for those of you used to say Laura Wright who writes a very different type of paranormal book.

I thought this was a very nice story actually.  The writing was well done, very descriptive and it was easy to picture this beautiful setting which really was like another character in the story.   It took me a bit to get into, not the book’s fault  started it the same time my cat got sick so I was a little preoccupied and worried about that.  Like most new series and new to me authors it took some time to get the rhythm of the story and to bond with the characters.  The prologue does a great job of grabbing you with an interesting little story about the lead character Grace and how she awakens to her magical potential.  You are soon ripped away from that and introduced the the male lead Nick.  The story jumps back and forth between the heads of both characters until the love interests meet up themselves.  We are still in both their heads, but much of the back ground characters drop away and we focus on these two.  There is a little girl, Jamie, who plays an important part in the story along with a canine companion, Pooka.  I liked how the author limited much of the story to these four,  it was much easier to follow and get invested in the people most of the action centered around.

Like I mentioned this book felt more like a contemporary romance to me.  The first half of the book centers around the building up of chemistry between Grace and Nick.  It was what I like to call a slow burn,  the characters actually got to know each other and in return we got a chance to know them too.  They did not jump into the sack in the first 50 or even 100 pages the relationship progressed at a more natural realistic pace.  Okay sure they fall in love faster than people might in real life, but the world of a book this was a much more subdued pace compared to much of what is out there in the romance world.  Personally I thought it was a nice change of pace, and has the potential to appeal to a broader audience.  Not everybody is comfortable with a book that moves at the pace of the 50 Shades of Grey. This is a great romance for those readers who might want a more realistic relationship in their books and not have to advert their eyes every couple of chapters as the characters roll in the hay again.

Like I said the first half seemed to focus on the budding romance and the second half of the book we come to the action.  We are introduced to the bad guys and the very real danger they pose for Grace, Nick and the mountain.  The story changed a bit and either my cat was starting to feel better or I got more invested in the story at this point.  My reading pace picked up and I finished the second half much quicker than the first.  The author showed us that she could captivate us with more than just an awesome setting and  a sweet romance, she could get us on the edge of our seats as well.   I would say most of the action involving the mystery around the drug and why Nick came to the mountain plays out in this half of the book.  This is also where more of the paranormal elements come into play for the story.  Still on the light side, but they do add a nice element.  I would say this is a great book for readers who perhaps want to dip their toes in to the paranormal genre, but are not necessary ready for something that is way out there.

Some of the other aspects of the book I enjoyed are how the author weaves the mountain, herb and our environment into the story.  I also thought the message she was giving us about how not only are some drugs a danger and destroy people but they poison our planet as well.  I enjoyed her take on natural healing with herbs,  I know this an aspect of the story my husband would have enjoyed.  The author also did an excellent job with her characters,  they were believable, likable and well formed, even the background characters had depth to them.   I was also intrigued by the character Daniel,  Grace’s brother, whose story is up next in Mostly Magic.

This was a different type of book for me.  I’m glad I read it and am looking forward to the next one which I hope to get to next week.  This book was well written and I think could have broad appeal to lovers of contemporary, paranormal and supernatural romance.  There is plenty of action as well and even a little mystery in these pages.  I hope you check it out.

State of Grace by Elizabeth Davies – 4 Stars

State of Grace
Click on cover to visit book’s Goodread page.

Book one in the Resurrection trilogy

I received a copy of this book from the author for a honest review

Book Synopsis from Goodreads:

When Grace, 27 years old and with only a few months left to live, returns to her home town of Brecon, she is catapulted nearly 1800 years into the past. At first she attributes her hallucinations to her brain tumour but as the visions become more detailed and closer to the present day, she becomes involved with a certain wickedly handsome and rather inhuman Roman, who has an obsession with blood.
Grace is forced to confront her fears when the past begins intruding on the present, and she falls deeper in love with her phantom man.

‘Death is only one option.’

A love story with a supernatural twist, it looks at vampires from an unusual angle, knitting together the twelfth century with the present day.

The author of this book messaged me through Goodreads inquiring if I would review her book.  I took a look and thought about it for the better part of a day.  I was on the fence.  Sure, I am passionate about paranormal romance books, but not always a fan of ones with historical elements to them.  Also the lead female is dying,  how is that going to be anything but sad and depressing.  In the end I went ahead a took a shot, most of the review were positive, so I agreed to try the first one.  I am SO glad I did, my assumptions were way off (taught me a lesson didn’t it).  If I had gone the other way, declined, I would have missed out on the beginning of a beautiful story.  The book does have a different feel to it and has a fresh approach to the paranormal genre.  I think this is one of those paranormal stories that could appeal to a broader audience than just vampire fans.

The story started off a little slow for me, hence the four star instead of five star rating, and the first few chapters we jump back and forth between modern times and Grace’s episodes or visits to the past.  The writing is beautifully done, descriptive (but not too much) and paints a vivid image of the setting, characters and the world they inhabit.  Much of this beginning deals with Grace’s prognosis and that she came home to die.  It is a little heavy/sad, and I tried to keep Grace at arm’s length and not get too attached to her.  The flash backs were very intriguing and I would get frustrated when they ended, I wanted to explore this world that Grace was being pulled into.  I wanted to know more about this mystery man she kept being drawn towards.

After a few chapters the author rewards us and much of the book is spent with Grace stuck in the past.  The story becomes much brighter here as Grace stops focusing so much on the fact that she is dying and wants to learn more about this ‘dream’ world she has created for herself.  The story is quite humorous at time and I loved the fish out of water feel to it.  There are elements of danger, after all Grace has entered a much different world filled with unknown elements and a much harsher people inhabit it.  Roman becomes her protector and is intrigued by this  unusual woman that keeps popping up in his life.  The chemistry between them is really well done along with the feel this ‘dream’ world Grace has fallen into.  The author took the time to research the time period and the story feels authentic to me.

This is not a terribly long story, only 208 pages, so before I knew it I had reached the end.  Right in the middle of action we are ripped back to modern times and like Grace we feel a sense of loss.  The last pages continue to captivate me and I find myself to have completely fallen for Grace. I could not keep from becoming attached to her and a bawl along with her of the injustice of her death sentence.  I have added the next two books to my to-read shelf because I simply must see how this story plays out.  I am so rooting for a happy ending for Grace and Roman.

Like I stated in the beginning this is a beautiful story that should have broad appeal to many different readers.  There is a paranormal element, but it isn’t too heavy and kinda takes the back burner to the time traveling parts of the story.  Fans of historical books should also give this one a try too.  And finally lovers of a good romance might also want to add this to their to-read list as well.