Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Still Knife Painting

Prepare to dive into Cheryl Hollon’s newest cozy mystery novel set in the beautiful rural area of Eastern Kentucky. The author introduces readers to her newest main character Miranda Tolson, who, after inheriting her uncle’s homestead is hoping to be able to make her new business “Paint and Shine” a success in order to meet the requirements of his final will and wishes. The question soon becomes…can she at the very least make ends meet when a murder happens after her first painting class? Things don’t look good for her when she becomes the main suspect as locals are quick to remind her…and the police that she and the murder victim argued…a lot. Miranda is in for a real task in proving her innocence and keeping her business afloat as best that she can. Question is…who killed the cook…and why?

Still Knife Painting is a well –written cozy mystery that is full of tasty food (and recipes, too! Yum!), smooth moonshine, secrets, a touch of romance, and a few close calls of danger. The author gives readers the main character that is coming from the big city back to a small town and the small-time life. You can tell that Miranda isn’t used to small-town life and the complications of it, but she overall handles the whole situation pretty well. I’ll say this; she handles a couple of moments better than I would have when dealing with certain individuals in the story.

I like the way that the author writes the characters overall. You can honestly see them existing in this small town in Kentucky and going about their daily business. The descriptions of the scenery and events in the story are so well done that when the characters are tearing down the dirt roads kicking up dust I can almost taste it. Haha! The author shows the dynamic differences between what Miranda is familiar with and how some more rural towns are towards outsiders. There is some serious tension between two characters with a years’ long grudge. I was honestly surprised that after all this time these two grown men were still holding on to things that should have been let go of a long time ago.

This book is a soft cozy mystery. There is some thrill of danger and a couple moments of where you are pulled to the edge of your seat with the intensity of the moment, but there isn’t a lot of drama and thrills to go with this book. The focus is mostly on Miranda as she goes from having a decent beginning to her business to struggling to keep it afloat as she is painted as a killer by the police and those who don’t approve of the moonshine aspect of her business.

The author writes in some humorous moments throughout the book to help lighten the mood which I really enjoyed. One moment that almost had me waking the whole house was after the murder when the police begin to arrive. When the author has Miranda likens one of the officers to Barney Fife and then he actually SOUNDS like Barney Fife I almost howled. I had to choke back peals of laughter and that was all I could think of and hear when reading about that particular character.

My only real disappointment with this book is the revelation of the killer. I was expecting a bit more. For me, there isn’t a big REVEAL. The build-up is decent, but the revelation is…a bit disappointing for me. I have to say that the lead-up is absolutely tragic and gives readers a view into the past that speaks of unfairness and even cruelty.

All in all, I am rating this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. The mystery is well done overall and I love how true to life the characters and settings are. There is a good deal of drama, and even some hints of romance, but the romance never takes over the storyline. The author keeps it on the fringes but hints at more in the future between the two characters. I’m looking forward to reading what new danger Miranda will encounter with future books.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Night Hunter

Welcome to Harrowgate Prison…the place of where…once you’re in…there’s no way out…

Meet Six. She has amnesia, but she also has blood on her hands. No. Literally. She has blood on her hands because she’s taken a life. But she doesn’t remember who she is, where she came from, or why she’s covered in blood. Her memories have been locked away…but soon she’ll reclaim them and be set on the mission that she is there to accomplish…kill the Horseman. She’s been told – the Horseman…he’s evil. Vile. The man of the Coalition. Someone to be feared…someone who needs to be killed. But what’s a girl to do when her past comes back in a way that she never expected and marks her for death?

Night Hunter is the newest book in Katerina Martinez’s new prison paranormal romance series. The author drops readers into a familiar world with a new character under unique circumstances. The author weaves a storyline that pulls readers into the story quickly as the main character tries to figure out who she is, what she is, and why she is being accused of murder. She’s about to find out that there is a major divide between Outsiders and Natives. Outsiders are snatched up and usually locked away in Harrowgate Prison. We get reunited briefly with some familiar characters, but it is simply to set the stage for Six’s mission. I can’t help but admit that I whooped when I read the familiar names and the story branches off from one that I am already familiar with and creates something new.

I love the twists that the author writes in the story. You are presented with the initial storyline between the main character and her target and then the author introduces a secondary danger/twist that just as quickly hooks your attention and pulls you deeper into the story.  I find it both interesting and a bit humorous how the main character is tasked with “keeping her head down” but she manages to get caught up in trouble time and time again. But honestly, it’s not her fault.

My ONLY complaint about this storyline…the romance part. I felt that the romance angle in the story is…forced. When the two characters meet I was expecting there to be some sort of pull or draw between them. There isn’t so then I thought there was going to be some development…a build-up to create sparks. Instead, it’s more of a…”I can’t stand you but let’s get hot and sweaty” situation. I honestly felt that the steamy moment is less of “I can’t stand you” and more of a reaction to surviving a tense situation. For me…it feels a bit out of place. It feels more like the author felt the need to throw something in there to fulfill the romance angle of the story.

At the end of the day though, I honestly enjoyed this book. I’m eager to find out what happens in the next book. This book ends on a mild cliffhanger, but it still builds my anticipation for the next upcoming book. I’m hopeful that the romance angle will have a better build-up so that it can better satisfy the romance angle of the genre. For readers who enjoy this author, I’m sure that this book will be a satisfying read. I am rating this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Succubus Hunted

Succubus Hunted is book four in L.L. Frost’s Succubus series and things are getting intense. While Adie has finally hit her stride with her men, a new danger in town threatens all of it. An old demon “friend” of her men is in town and he’s not one to be trifled with. But there’s more…Adie is quick to warn her cousins of the lurking danger from the demon, but few seem to take her seriously. Now, Adie’s problems are being compounded with the addition of Hunters in the area. Somehow they have found her and decided to target her. Adie is in a fight…not just for her life…but for those who are closest to her.

Succubus Hunted contains the serials for Succubus Harem 16-22. Adie is confronted with danger from the Hunters and the Librarian gives her a clue to her salvation. The planning process begins, but the guys really don’t want her anywhere near the action. It’s a tangled web being woven by the characters. Tally’s men are more deeply involved in this book as Adie is trying her best to stay a step ahead of the danger that stalks her.

I like that she actually focuses more on this book on the more important issues. Now, I’m not saying that she doesn’t still have a few childish moments of being overly jealous. I honestly appreciate that there are fewer incidents with this book because it shows that she’s growing as a character. I understand…mildly…one scene of where she has a major dose of jealous outrage, but when the practicality is explained…it seems so obvious. I was a bit torn with that scene, but I honestly did end up feeling that she was once again overreacting to an extent. She’d made her point, but then she continued to push the situation instead of getting a grip.

This book/collection of the serial is darker than the previous books. Adie is faced with some hard decisions that will bring about changes to her. There was one moment where I got teary-eyed when tragedy strikes. The author really brings a lot to the table with this book from the seeds of love growing bigger, to the shock of loss and betrayal. Then Adie putting on her big girl britches and really beginning to understand that…sometimes…certain steps must be taken…for the love and safety of all.

I am rating this book 5 out of 5 stars. The character development and growth are well done. The characters really shine with this book and the author expertly closes the chapter on this section well. But, while the author wraps it up in a nice neat package it doesn’t stop me from wondering…what will the backlash be for the choices that were made? If you’re like me…you’ll be eager to read the next serial and/or books to find out what happens next. This is one hard to put down series, so if you’ve read this far…I encourage you to continue and pick this book up. Adie is becoming a true force…I’m eager to see where the author takes her next.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Succubus Mission

And so Adie Boo Pond’s (mis) adventures continue in L.L. Frost’s third book compilation of her Succubus series. Succubus Mission contains Succubus Harem serials 11-15. Adie is being faced with quite a bit as the serial gains even more traction and Adie is thrown into some serious situations that she honestly wasn’t expecting. The hag snags her and shoves a mission on her, but with a carrot of her own…a book to help her get stronger. How can Adie resist that? Her relationships with the guys are growing and developing further, but there are going to be some hiccups along the way and one big one that could threaten to derail her relationship with one. A new “player” or two is in town as well and Adie is about to find her very existence in danger.

Succubus Mission hits the ground running and hyper speeds readers along as they follow Adie’s struggles to grow as a demon. She’s learning new things about herself and the one who helped raise her. While the author focuses on Adie growing as a character, the author shows the growth of Adie’s little cupcake shop and her fellow characters. I love how much of Torch and Tac we get in this book. As I stated before in a previous review, I absolutely adore Tac. Torch, Adie’s little ignis demon is absolutely delightful and after the whole debacle with him, I’m glad that Adie really doesn’t hold any fear towards him. Instead, she’s attentive and learns from the previous situation and how things go out of control.

I can easily say that this book is balanced with humor, steamy, soft moments, and danger. There were some moments in this book of where I literally laughed out loud. One of my favorite scenes is, of course, with Tac when he decides to be “helpful.” Once again…I’ll say it…I’d love to have a “cat” like him. LOL! Some of the situations that Adie finds herself in are humorous, but then there are some that will have you on the edge of your seat. I like that Adie shows a bit more maturity with this book, but she still has her “childish” moments and tantrums. I understand a couple of them, but at the same time, I want her to handle them better.

Now, if you’ve read this serial/series then you know that this book ends on a major cliffhanger as Adie has a nasty revelation dropped on her concerning some recent issues she’s started having at the bakery. If you’ve NOT read the serial/series…get ready because the ending will have you scrambling to grab the next book or serial to learn what happens next. All I’ll say is this…Adie’s problems are beginning to build, and either she’s going to prepare and survive or she’s going to lose this fight.

I have to say that this book is the best one yet of the series and so I’m rating it 5 out of 5 stars. Things are getting intense and I’m looking forward to what the author brings next. Adie started out as a “broken” succubus, but she’s slowly coming into her own and healing what has been broken inside her. The sky is the limit if she can just survive the next twist Fate has thrown her way.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Succubus Bargain

Succubus Bargain by L.L. Frost is the compilation of the first five serials in her The (Un)Lucky Succubus series. This book is perfect for readers who enjoyed the serials but want to be able to read them all in one large book and thoroughly enjoy them from start to finish. Readers get to experience Adie’s beginnings all the way to the bargain being made with the three demons and the acquiring of her bakery that will be her dream.

Adie Boo Pond, succubus, a new demon to the human plane, but the last thing that she wants to do is to drain down a human. All she wants to do is bake treats in a bakery, soak up the energies that humans give off as they indulge and live a happy life. Too bad fate has a different plan for her. Adie seems to get herself into quite a bit of trouble from the beginning. Hence why the author coins the phrase (Un)Lucky succubus. Adie has her lucky moments, but it does seem like…she has more Unlucky moments.

Adie is a fun character, but really immature in how she handles several situations. She’s starved for energy more often than not, but when she gets energy she burns it like she has a fresh source to truly feed on. Of course, the demons that she becomes roommates with have no qualms telling her that she’s incompetent for a demon…and a succubus. Yeah, it sounds like the same thing and on a level it is, but there are degrees/levels to this and they are quick to point that out as well. A succubus would take the energy the guys have with fewer qualms than Adie and a demon would know how to properly negotiate deals.

Now, while Adie does annoy me with her immaturity I can’t put the whole blame on her. Honestly, how can you fault someone when they have been set up to fail? Adie isn’t the only sex demon in town, and I like that the author keeps things interesting with Adie’s cousins. I have to admit that I’m intrigued by the one who is the most dangerous. Is it wrong that I want to know more about her? Haha! She really does intrigue me because of how much she scares all of the others.

Plus, the guys have a giant demon cat!!! I want him! Granted he could probably eat me and have no qualms doing so, but still!! I love cats. LOL! The characters are well done overall. The author does a good job showing that while the guys may be destruction demons they are not immune to thinking with their LOWER heads more than their top heads. Most of the situations well done, but there are a few that I felt were a bit of a stretch. It is fiction though so I honestly can’t say that it “stretches the imagination.”

Adie stretches my patience at times, but there is a method to the madness. It’s the groundwork to show her development as a character in the future books because if she has nowhere to grow and develop…where would the story go? Not very far that’s for sure. These book blends – hints of romance, steamy temptations, humor, and drama to create a delightful concoction that will leave you wanting more. This book is a solid 4.5 out of 5 stars. Adie annoys me with her immaturity and at times frivolous naïve nature, but as the pieces come together to show her the truth…I know there is hope for her yet. If you like a good reverse harem novel and enjoyed the serials but didn’t want to wait to read them then this book compiling the first five will be the perfect fit for you.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Succubus Studies

Succubus Studies by L.L. Frost is the second book in her The (Un)Lucky Succubus serial/series. This book picks up where book one left off with Adie working towards her dream of opening up her bakery and dealing with the three men that she now calls roommates. Of course, they aren’t the first thing giving her a headache when the book starts. Remember Julian? Well, he’s up to some mischief and Adie needs him to cooperate. Too bad she doesn’t seize the moment to strike a bargain with him so that everyone wins all the way around. Things start getting amped up in this book, which I absolutely love, and bring on the steamy! Adie is growing and beginning to become what she is meant to be piece by piece, so bring on the entertainment!

Succubus Studies sees Adie beginning to grow as a character. Don’t jump ahead here and think that she lets go of some of her childish behavior because she still clings to certain things for a while, but she’s beginning to develop and better understand exactly how things work. Adie is multi-tasking on various fronts. She’s struggling to truly embrace who and what she is, so she’s visiting the library and trying to learn, but as the librarian tells her…until she learns…TRULY learns how to be a demon…she’ll not be able to understand the books that are there. I mean…let’s be real…she’s already discovered through all of her hard work that the demon language translated to Latin, translated to English just doesn’t work. I can only imagine the type of headache that must be to try and decipher what’s been translated into something that makes sense.

I like how things are beginning to develop between her and the guys. Plus, the author is adding in quite a few new characters and I’m excited to see where things go. Is it fair to say that I’m a touch jealous of Tally? She’s one of the characters that get added into the series. She can go and eat people’s dreams and learn the skills that they have. I want that ability! LOL I’m also really liking the introduction of the imps. The author portrays them as completely innocent and malleable which is to the liking of both Julian and Adie, but if it Adie isn’t careful it’s going to create some bigger problems for her down the line.

This book takes things up a notch with the introduction of danger that could shake the worlds of all characters involved. I like to think of the situation that presents itself as a “moment of enlightenment.” I honestly can’t help getting annoyed with Adie when she wants to get offended behind honest truths though. She already knows she’s lacking, so why get offended when the further dangers of your ineptness are pointed out? She’s growing, but she still has a ways to go.

At the end of the day, this book elevates further on the first and brings in some twists and some much desired steamy as well. I scowl when Adie wants to whine and huffs like a child, but I have to applaud when she puts on her big girl britches and buckles up for what must be done. She’s seeing what she can truly be and I look forward to her embracing it in the coming books. I am rating this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

The Offer: Succubus Harem Book 1

The Offer is the first installment in L.L. Frost’s The (Un)Lucky Succubus series/serial. These short installments will follow Adie’s journey as she strives to accomplish her dream of owning a bakery and being able to sustain herself on the human plane without harming humans but living in harmony with them.

Adie is a young succubus who has a problem…she’s not good at BEING a succubus. She won’t take from humans and drain them down and she can’t get back to Dreamland where she came from to feed either. Talk about big problems right? Since she has refused to feed she’s starved herself to the point of where she might be in big trouble, but she’s hopeful that a little “pick-me-up” will help get her through her meeting with a bank for a loan. What she doesn’t expect are two “chance” encounters with two powerful demons that will set in motion a series of chain reactions that are going to change her life.

The Offer is short, sweet and leaves readers on a cliffhanger. Adie is made an offer and it’s one that she flat out refuses. But when you get to the end…you’ll see what she’s really up against. Now, let me remind readers…this book is a SERIAL. At this time, the author has created a second version of this series with 1-5 of the serials compiled inside it and she also has an omnibus with the first three books collected inside it as well. So for those who want a good deep dive story then those would be better choices for you to read.

The Offer as a serial is a delightful little treat for those who don’t have a lot of time to read and want something short and sweet to dive into. It will of course leave you wanting more, but that’s the point. Right? I am rating this short treat 4.5 out of 5 stars. It’s a good starter  for the series and shows a lot of promise for what is to come. 

Friday, June 12, 2020

Untamed: House of Berserkers Review

Untamed: House of Berserkers is the first book in Lacey Carter Andersen’s new academy series. Meet Kiera, the daughter of the Lord of the Winter Berserkers. She’s just graduated from their community college and the night is alive with celebrating and spirits. Kiera and a few of her friends head out to have some fun. Some say that seeing a specific spirit in the woods is an omen of death…but despite seeing it Kiera and her friends continue on to a human club intent on having a good time. Some omens should be heeded…
Untamed: House of Berserkers is an engaging paranormal reverse harem romance novel. Kiera is a petite Berserker. Only males go berserk, but it isn’t unheard of for a female to do so…it’s just rare. When Kiera suffers a loss close to her she loses all control and becomes one of the select few females who go berserk. What she doesn’t know is the danger that one act of losing control puts her in. In her rage she takes lives, and as punishment is sent to a “reform school” where most don’t leave…alive.
I have to say that Lacey Carter Andersen is one of my favorite paranormal authors and she does not disappoint with this book. We get a variety of shifters and a school with secrets and a darkness that hides nothing from those who are sent there. The teachers are less there to help the shifters reform and more to encourage them to lose control so that they can be put down. I love the twists and the darkness. Then add in a mad shifter who wishes to declare himself “King” of the Berserkers. He’d be a mad king and the ground would run red with blood. When he learns of Kiera he’s determined to have her no matter what it takes.
Kiera is a feisty character and I have to say that I really like her. The author gives me a nice variety of characters to be captivated by. I’m quick to piece together certain connections in the story. This doesn’t diminish my interest in the story, instead, it further fuels it. Each character has their unique backstory. With a couple of the characters, we get a good taste of what has shaped them into who they are now, but there are a couple that I think that there is still more to come.
There isn’t much that I can complain about concerning this book. There is one scene between Kiera and Drake that had me confused briefly. Drake is prompting Kiera to give him her hands so that he can share with her his memories. For a brief moment, I thought that I had missed a scene that had played out, but the author comes back and writes that in. I personally feel that it would have been better to lead with Kiera telling Drake that she doesn’t know him and him offering to do “Thought Sharing.” I think that it would have flowed better. For readers who don’t like cliffhangers…sorry, this book has one. Now, it’s not a major one that leaves you on the edge of your seat with suspense, but it is one that makes you want the next book in the series to learn what happens next.
At the end of the day, I am rating this book 5 out of 5 stars. This book is engaging from start to finish. The author, known for her steamy novels, does not disappoint with her steamy scenes in this book. Everything comes together to make this book hard to put down and a true delight to read. I can’t wait for the next book. I just hope that we don’t have to wait too long. If you are a fan of Lacey Carter Andersen then I encourage you to pick up this book. If you enjoy paranormal romance novels and are new to this author then I recommend this book. I truly think that you’ll enjoy it.