Sins of the Father by Mary E. Twomey – eARC Book Review

Title: Sins of the Father
Author: Mary E. Twomey
Genre: Paranormal
Publication Date: May 2020

SYNOPSIS

When parents can send their children to jail to serve time in their place, corruption gets a free pass.

Arlanna’s life quickly turns upside-down when her father, the feared and revered mafia boss, finally gets caught in one of his many schemes and elects to send her to prison in his stead.

The broken system was never more than a frustration for her, but now that her freedom has been stolen away, Arlanna makes it her life’s mission to force the parents of the world to see the error of their ways. (Goodreads).

MY REVIEW

Twomey’s books are some of the most under-appreciated for their genre, in my opinion. Paranormal romance can often be judged harshly when compared to its ‘cousin’ fantasy, as the development of romantic storylines usually occur at the expense of world-building. While I’m content with this, Twomey stands as evidence that not all paranormal romances forsake world building. This book is a prime example.

The Sins of the Father bill allows parents to send their children to prison for their crimes. Arlanna, the fae daughter of a ‘mob boss’ father is sent to prison and soon meets her ‘merry’ band of rebellious friends. The side characters in this book brought this world to life. Each character had faced their own trials (legal and psychological) in regards to surviving the dystopian-like world of dwindling magic and increased corruption.

While prison stories aren’t my usual jam, Twomey weaved a captivating and unique plot. The struggles children faced to grant their parents freedom was brutal and Twomey did not hold back on darker themes in this book. As a fair warning triggers included physical abuse, flashback kidnapping, violence and self-harm.

That said, there were a lot of lighter moments to balance everything out. Arlanna, Cass, Charlotte and Gray had forged a friendship that withstood the uglier events of prison life. Cass and Charlotte’s relationship was so wholesome and sweet, especially considering Cass’ snarky personality. Gray and Arlanna’s budding romantic relationship also provided a light distraction from the darker tones in this book.

I rated this 4 out of 5 stars in light of the fact that some of the events were predictable (but still enjoyable) and some of the conflicts were resolved too quickly. I would have liked more development on them, considering their importance.

4 Stars.

*ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review*

Wolfsong by TJ Klune – 5 Star Book Review

Title: Wolfsong
Author: TJ Klune
GenreFantasy / LGBT
Publication Date: June 2016

Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road. The little boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the little boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the little boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane. (Goodreads).

THIS BOOK. It took my by surprise and then proceeded to steal an entire weekend. A situation I was happy to abide by!

First off, this book is long. Like, much longer than I was expecting and yet the story flowed with great pace and character development. The sheer amount of events in this was a tad bit overwhelming (in a good way!) and every page felt necessary. Which isn’t always the case for books of this length (600+ pages).

The story follows Ox, bless his kind heart, and his encounters with the Bennett Pack of wolf shifters. Ox’s steadfastness and kindness truly captured my heart. He was the pure definition of a protective, gentle giant.

I have to be honest, for majority of the story I actually forgot that this was going to be a romance. While I adored Joe, the young individual Ox meets, I mostly enjoyed the growth of Ox and Joe as friends over the years. Klune managed to expertly convey their growth as individuals, friends, family and finaly mates. I adore the fated-mates trope but find that it usually involves insta-love. That wasn’t the case for this book. This was pure gold slow-burn.

While I was initially a bit uncertain of the romantic undertones in this story due to Joe’s age when Ox first meets him, Klune handled this so well. Almost a decade passes over the length of this book and the character development is astounding. By the end, Ox and Joe feel incredibly mature as characters and nothing untoward happens until that point to make you uncomfortable as a reader.

What made this book a soaring 5 Star read was the side characters. They came to life in this book and felt unique. Klune kept things unique and original which I really enjoyed.

I say this book stole my weekend but in reality I read, devoured and LOVED the sequels Ravensong and Heartsong as well. I CANNOT WAIT for Brothersong in October, 2020.

5 Stars.

Blog Tour: Dark Secret by Danielle Rose – ARC Book Review #IndieAuthor

There’s no wrath like that of a witch scorned.

Seventeen-year-old spirit witch Ava López is the self-appointed guardian of the witches and humans of Darkhaven, an idyllic village nestled between the forest and the sea. Her watch: vicious and bloodthirsty vampires.

Ava is a novice in the eyes of her coven. If she expects to protect them and the secrecy of their powers, she must gain better control of her own. When a full moon ritual goes awry, control may be lost forever, and Ava is exiled from her coven. Forced to seek refuge among the beings she had always sworn herself to hunt, she vows revenge on those who have upended her life.

But the more time Ava spends away from her coven, the more she discovers a startling truth: the witches haven’t been honest with her. Ava’s quest to strip the truth from everything she’s ever known begins with the toughest realization of all—coming to terms with who she has become. (Goodreads).

With being on a paranormal kick lately, this book fit right in with my reading mood and was an enjoyable, quick read.

Ava is a young spirit witch who can communicate with other spirit witches via sleep. As an unconventional source of power, Ava’s ability to draw from spirits means that she is at peak power regardless of time or seasons. Due to her added power, Ava feels responsible for protecting her coven from their natural enemy: vampires. When things become less cut and dry regarding vampires’ evil nature, Ava soon finds herself doubting everything she’s been taught to believe.

While this was a very short story for me, at 167 pages, it had an action-packed pace that delivered a lot more than I had been expecting for the length of the story. Ava was an easily likeable character and despite her numerous flaws she seemed to have the best of intentions with her actions. Her ignorance toward the reality of witches vs vampires slowly began to unravel throughout the story and her progression toward being more open minded was interesting to read about. She had been placed in an incredibly stressful situation and her growth during this deserved applause.

There were a few things that had me unsure at the start of this book, namely Ava’s ignorance and the fact that it was written in first person. I grew to like Ava’s growth toward being less ignorant but still could not get in to the story as much as I had hoped to with it being in first person. Quite often this narrative choice just isn’t a good fit for me though, so bear this in mind that it’s simply personal preference.

Overall, I enjoyed this story and wish there had been a little more added to the ending of the book but I realise it’s in a series so hopefully the next book will answer some of the questions I was left with.

Dark Secret (Darkhaven Saga #1)  by USA Today Bestselling author Danielle Rose

AVAILABLE NOW!

Amazon Amazon Print | Nook

Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo

#DarkSecret #DanielleRose #ReleaseBlitz #YAParanormal #Waterhouse #BareNakedWords

Jen

Hexes and O’s by Lisa Wells – eARC Book Review #IndieAuthor

✰ ✰ ✰

Genre: Paranormal Romance

When down-on-her-luck costume designer Remington Smith receives a surprise inheritance, she must return to the town she swore to forget. And complete a list of mandatory projects. And learn to cast magic spells. Magic spells? Too bad the hunky guy next door keeps getting in the way.

After a tornado ravages a small town, Jason Hart purchases ninety percent of the property as a cooperate training ground for Think Tank Innovations. But his first renovation crew quits. Then another. And another. They all say ghosts are running amok—and the whole town is hexed with an anti-love spell. Except Jason doesn’t believe in ghosts or (anti) love spells. And given how drawn he is to his spunky new neighbor, that doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon.

Lisa Well’s paranormal romance, Hexes and O’s initially caught my attention with the title. It reminded me of that song… Ex’s and Ohs by Elle King which I used to love. After that, I had to see what the story was all about!

The story beneath the catchy title was just as appealing. Wells’ ability to write laugh out loud, quirky characters was the first thing I truly loved about her writing. It’s not often I react so strongly to dry humour in a book but this one had the right amount.

Remington and Jason’s relationship as neighbours was rife with mutual attraction, misunderstandings, banter and the appeal of forbidden relations. The rule set by Remington’s dead best friend, Beth, had them both promising to stay away from each other despite their strong attraction. While this might have been a tedious aspect to read about due to Beth’s manipulation, the context behind Beth’s decision (which we were privy to as readers) made sense. I couldn’t help my desire their HEA though!

The inclusion of multiple paranormal aspects in this story was one of my favourite parts of it. There was magic, ghosts, hexes and a spell backfire of a meowing dog! I love a good mystical, magic romance and this one delivered on all fronts. Beth was the perfect kooky side kick with memory issues and Remington had a stubborn, kind nature that appealed to me as a reader. Jason annoyed me at times as a character but the level of manipulation placed on him made his choices more bearable to read and understand.

There was a surprisingly plot twist that added a dash of crime/mystery to this story that was developed quite well but overall felt slightly unnecessary. I would have preferred to just read about Remington’s to-do list and forbidden attraction as opposed to deeper topics and for that have reduced what would have been a 4-star to a 3-star. Others may enjoy such a twist though!

If you’re after something fun, non-angsty and hilarious then this is the story for you!

Jen

Death’s Daughter by L.A. McGinnis – eArc Book Review #IndieAuthor #LetsReadIndie

✰ ✰ ✰

Arc provided by publisher via Book Sirens in exchange for an honest review.

I initially requested this book due to the inclusion of Greek and Norse mythology in its premise as well as the paranormal romance genre. I have such a weakness for mythology in the paranormal romance genre and I’m so glad that I decided to give this novel a try!

She’s death’s daughter.

After a thousand years, their paths are about to cross again.

Hunter Wallace’s luck just went from bad to worse. Case in point? The immortal god she’s managed to avoid for centuries just became her only hope of survival.

Destined to a life of endless conflict, Tyr could never forget the fierce Scottish princess he left behind. But a thousand years hasn’t dimmed her hatred for him, and when she shows up on his doorstep, he discovers that flame still burns bright.

With her home reduced to ashes and a heart haunted by the past, Hunter’s only chance at revenge is to join forces with the immortal god whose life has been forever intertwined with hers. In a world rocked by war, Hunter must discover why Tyr’s greatest treachery was also his greatest gift. (Goodreads)

Death’s Daughter is an easy to read and enticingly good book. If you’re a fan of Larissa Ione’s Lords of Deliverance series then this is for you! The inclusion of Greek and Norse myth was done very well. The story had an easy flow as an understanding of mythology created the perfect foundational background to the characters. If you’re entirely unfamiliar with Greek and Norse mythology it’s still relatively easy to read and follow this book however, the story did not develop the characters extensively. Rather it relied on familiar characters with a unique plot line.

While the action and dialogue were brilliant (i.e., easy to follow and attention grabbing) the romantic relationship could have used some work. The importance of a sound romantic arc in the paranormal romance genre is the main reason I have rated this book at 3 stars. The swift transition from hate to love in this story did not feel genuine or authentic to me (despite liking the characters).

Their long history was alluded to in the story but flashbacks of this would have added an extra depth and realism to their relationship. Perhaps if this had been explored further the reader could have connected and believed the fast transition from hate to love between the characters.

Overall, this was a surprisingly good story that has made me eager to read the initial three books in the series. As a book in an established series I would say that this is possible to be read as a stand alone but will be most appreciated when read as part of the full series due to the inclusion of characters from previous books. I’ll be continuing on with the series!

Jen

Where Winter Finds You by J.R Ward – Book Review

✰ ✰

The release of another Black Dagger Brotherhood book was met with my absolute excitement. I cannot even state how much I love the series. It’s a comfort zone and sentimentality all rolled in to one gloriously long series. I have to admit though, while I adore J.R Ward’s writing and have read so many of the books over and over and over, this latest addition was not a favourite of mine.

When Trez lost his beloved to a tragic death (The Shadows, Black Dagger Brotherhood #13), his soul was crushed and his destiny seemed relegated to suffering. But when he meets a mysterious female, he becomes convinced his true love has been reincarnated. Is he right? Or has his grief created a disastrous delusion?

Therese has come to Caldwell to escape a rift with her bloodline. The revelation that she was adopted and not born into her family shakes the foundations of her identity, and she is determined to make it on her own. Her attraction to Trez is not what she’s looking for, except the sexy Shadow proves to be undeniable.

Has fate provided a grieving widower with a second chance…or is Trez too blinded by the past to see the present for what it really is? In this sensual, arresting book full of the themes of redemption and self-discovery, two lost souls find themselves at a crossroads where the heart is the only compass that can be trusted…but that may require a courage that neither of them possesses.

I had been eagerly anticipating Trez’s HEA for years since Selena’s untimely demise and was finally looking forward to him having the happy ending he deserved. That said, I felt that this book was a stretch of not only my imagination but also my willingness to go along with the ‘magic and divine’ solves everything solution that had been used so many times in the past. When it was used in Rhage’s, Phury’s, Vishous’s and Thorment’s books I had been mostly accepting of it. Finally a happy ending had come to those who had deserved it. In this book’s case, it felt like everything was forced. Without giving too much away regarding the ending, the HEA felt like it was at the expense of a woman’s established life.

What I loved about this story was the chance to be immersed in the Caldwell life again. The inclusion of well known BDB characters made me practically giddy. I do like Trez but he was never a favourite of mine. The original BDB Warriors are my ultimate faves and their subtle inclusion in this story is the main reason I have rated it as I have. Without them, this would have felt like a very cliched rip off of some of the other books without the same satisfying ending. I know that sounds so harsh, but it felt like the author had settled for this story line without attempting to think of something that included a complete new beginning – such as in Thorment’s case.

Additionally, the naming of the book as a ‘Caldwell Christmas’ seemed like a misnomer as there seemed to be no Christmas element included, with the exception of a few brief mentions of it. Perhaps the title was placed there due to the publication date of November 26, 2019. Either way, this book was unfortunately a miss for me.

Jen

Malicious Prince by Mary E Twomey – ARC Review

Arc provided by author in exchange for an honest review.

✰✰✰

My anticipation for the final instalment in the reverse-harem Territorial Mates series was high and the book (mostly) did not disappoint! The love matches still had that tantalising slow-burn appeal while the political machinations and plot-line kept me completely engaged! I read this book all in one sitting. Despite my overall enjoyment there were a few issues I had with the development of their reverse-harem relationship considering this was the final book. If you’re looking for a slow-burn paranormal reverse-harem romance though, you’re in the right place!

Blurb:

Sometimes sacrificing your heart isn’t enough.

Lily escapes with Salem and Destino to shifter territory, where deception lurks around every corner. With the Queen of Jacoba unable to rule, too much responsibility falls to Lily, who realizes she will never be the princess the shifters want. However, she quickly learns that she might just be the ruler they need.

Mating with Prince Salem wasn’t in the plan, but now that Lily’s fallen for him, her marriages to Prince Destino and Prince Alexavier are put to the test. Sharing seemed like a good idea in the beginning, but when passions run high and the stakes are higher, the Territorial Princes have to decide if they want Lily for themselves or peace for the nation.

My Thoughts:

The political build up between the Vampire, Shifter and Fae Kingdoms reached an all-time high in Malicious Prince. I absolutely loved it and this was the best part of the book, if I’m being honest. The unexpected ending of Wicked Prince had set this book up for a political climate that was not only founded on prejudice but bursting at the seams with anger from the swift, unpopular changes the main characters had instigated. I loved how Twomey incorporated more of the back story and world-building in to this third book. Most of the questions regarding the hatred between the Kingdoms were (finally) answered. Everything was culminating to a final political climatic event and I was right there along with it.

That said, the reverse-harem relationship in the third book needed a bit more OOMPH. Everything seemed to be super slow and still unsolved near the ending of the book. I had expected more growth, communication and understanding between the four of them and this just didn’t seem to be the case. Perhaps there is another book in the series I’m unaware about that targets some of the big-ticket communication issues they’re still experiencing but if there is, I don’t know of it yet. Taking it as a finale in the series, I was expecting a hell of a lot more in regards to their strategies for making everything work between them.

The insight in to the shifter world marked the final piece of the puzzle regarding the three Kingdoms. We were gifted with a privileged look inside the Shifter strong-hold and as I mentioned earlier, things started to finally make sense. That said, my previous adoration for Prince Salem and Prince Alexavier were pretty much dried up in this book. The lack of communication and strategies for building a strong, healthy relationship really got on my nerves. These are men who run whole nations. How was it impossible for them to negotiate with each other and communicate? It’s practically their job descriptions!

Despite these issues, this series is still one of my favourites. The first book was a really strong start to the series and the unique take Twomey has placed on the warring Kingdoms was fascinating to read about. I really enjoyed the world-building, side characters and majority of the reverse-harem (pretty much everything from the first two books). If you’re in the mood for a paranormal reverse-harem romance, I’d definitely recommend you try this!

Jen