Tag Archives: paranormal romance

ARC REVIEW: THE KISS CURSE BY ERIN STERLING

the book cover for The Kiss Curse by Erin Sterling
  • STAR RATING:  4.5 stars
    PAGE LENGTH: 320 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: September 20th 2022
  • PUBLISHER: Avon Books
    CONTENT WARNINGS: Sexual content, violence, kidnapping
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY:  The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling

Thank you to Netgalley and Avon Books for providing an ARC copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS

Welcome to Spooky Season!! The follow-up to Erin Sterling’s New York Times bestselling hit The Ex Hex features fan favorite Gwyn and the spine-tinglingly handsome Wells Penhallow as they battle a new band of witches and their own magical chemistry.

Gwyn Jones is perfectly happy with her life in Graves Glen. She, her mom, and her cousin have formed a new and powerful coven; she’s running a successful witchcraft shop, Something Wicked; and she’s started mentoring some of the younger witches in town. As Halloween approaches, there’s only one problem—Llewellyn “Wells” Penhallow.

Wells has come to Graves Glen to re-establish his family’s connection to the town they founded as well as to make a new life for himself after years of being the dutiful son in Wales. When he opens up a shop of his own, Penhallow’s, just across the street from Something Wicked, he quickly learns he’s gotten more than he bargained for in going up against Gwyn.

When their professional competition leads to a very personal—and very hot—kiss, both Wells and Gwyn are determined to stay away from each other, convinced the kiss was just a magical fluke. But when a mysterious new coven of witches come to town and Gwyn’s powers begin fading, she and Wells must work together to figure out just what these new witches want and how to restore Gwyn’s magic before it’s too late. 

Oh, this was just a lot of fun! If you’re anything like me, sometimes you can sit down and just inhale a romance book. If I didn’t have a toddler, that would have been me with The Kiss Curse. Despite having a toddler, this book went very quickly.

The Kiss Curse brings us back to the delightful witchy town of Graves Glen, and to the absolutely hilarious Jones family. Well — really just Gwyn, and very tiny glimpses of Vivi, the heroine from the first book, The Ex Hex. Vivi and her new husband, Rhys, go away on a honeymoon, and leave Gwyn alone to run their shop. I did miss their presence on page, but as they already had their book, this was probably the best decision possible. This really gave Gwyn and Wells a chance to shine, and dang did their personalities just jump off the page.

Gwyn is a hilarious, very powerful witch, and I loved her so much. Wells is a little more stick-in-the-mud traditionalist when it comes to magic, but he very quickly loosens up. To be honest, Gwyn all but forces him to let go a little. Together, their chemistry was basically fire. They hate each other at the start of the book, but by the middle, they’re basically climbing each other. It’s fantastic. Not to mention the one real sex scene was incredibly steamy, so thumbs up to Erin Sterling, there.

The background plot of the book was interesting, but not as interesting as Gwyn and Wells together. To sum it up very simply: something is causing Gwyn’s magic to go haywire, and no one is quite sure what it is. It’s incredibly similar to the plot of the first book without being an exact copy. I wish their had been a little more variation, but whatever. I wasn’t really here for that. I wanted more Gwyn and Wells.

Oh and — Sir Purrcival is definitely still on page, and he’s definitely still talking, so I was extremely happy.

Four and half stars for pure enjoyment’s sake.

THE KISS CURSE comes out SEPTEMBER 20, 2022.

Add to your Goodreads, or preorder at at the following links:

GOODREADS | BOOKSHOP.ORG | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

BOOK REVIEW: WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING BY SAM HALL

the book cover for Half A Soul by Olivia Atwater
  • STAR RATING:  3.5 stars
    PAGE LENGTH: 434 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED:  April 30th 2022
  • PUBLISHER: Kindle Unlimited
    WHAT SERIES?  The Wolfverse series
  • WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? 2
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Sexual content, possibly emotional abuse
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY:  Just check out my werewolves tag.

SYNOPSIS

Growing up I had nothing but my good grades and them. The Vanguard brothers are the golden boys of our school, destined to be the alphas of our pack. They’re possessive, scaring away everyone else who might get close to me… until the night of their first shift.

I’m been told over and over I can never be their mate, but the boy’s wolves have other ideas….So, I’m whisked away, told to forget them and I do, right up until they walk in through my door, telling me all the things I’d secretly dreamed of.

That I’m their fated mate, and that they refuse to settle for anyone else. But I’m forced to push them away.

Why?

Because their parents were right to send me away. I’ll never be what they need me to be, but these guys? Back then they never knew how to take no for an answer, and now they’re coming for me, whether I’m ready or not. 

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing was a different take on the werewolf romance genre than what I’m used to. In this particular verse, only alphas and omegas have wolf forms — betas are simply the neutral ground, regular ol’ plain humans, basically. Our main character, Riley, grows up being told over and over again that she’s a beta, that she’s not for her group of alpha friends. She’s grown up in a pack — her father was an enforcer for — but she’s not a wolf. The parents of her alpha friends drill into her over and over that she is not for them. It is awful emotional abuse, and one that the author handles well. In the end, Riley turns into an omega, and that was exceptionally cool.

I felt bad for Riley throughout the whole book, but wow does she fight the whole situation that she’s thrust into. She fights it hard, and after say…the third time she’s struggling with it, it got old. She does eventually give in obviously, but it took way, way too long in my opinion. Another problem I had with Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing was that only…three of the five alphas really have a personality. Colt, Haze, and Blake all have distinct things going for them, but the other two — Ryan and Fen are just sort of…there. I really would have loved more from them, but it’s just not present in the book.

The sex scenes were hot, but you really don’t get the typical werewolf stuff until the very, and I mean very end of the book. I missed that in the earlier portions of the book, but what are you gonna do, I guess.

Overall, a decent entry into the werewolf romance genre, but definitely not hitting all my werewolf buttons.

Add to your Goodreads, or order at at the following links:

GOODREADS | AMAZON 

*This review is being posted on a Saturday because I have too many other reviews coming out. This is not a normal occurrence.

BOOK REVIEW: THE TYRANT ALPHA’S REJECTED MATE BY CATE C. WELLS

the book cover for Half A Soul by Olivia Atwater
  • STAR RATING:  4 stars
    PAGE LENGTH: 382 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: November 12, 2021
  • PUBLISHER: Kindle Unlimited
    WHAT SERIES?  The Five Packs series
  • WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? The Tyrant Alpha’s Rejected Mate
  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? 2 so far, but I’d bet there’s probably going to be 5?
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Ableism, bullying, violence, sexual assault, emotional abuse
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY:  I am unsure, I haven’t read enough of these kinds of books yet.

SYNOPSIS

He rejected me, and then he realized I’m the center of his world. Bummer.

Una
I keep my head down. In this backwards pack, females rank low, and my bad leg makes me damaged goods. It doesn’t help that I’ve never shifted. I don’t mind the late twenties single life, though. No one’s paying any attention as I build an illicit farmer’s market empire.

My roomies and I are doing it for ourselves, and if life under Killian Kelly is stifling, at least it’s predictable. We can deal.

But when biology finally kicks in, I lose my mind. I claim our alpha as my mate. And he rejects me in front of the whole pack. It’s all good. It only hurts when I breathe. I’ll survive. That’s what I do.

Who wants an arrogant jerk for a mate, anyway? I’ve got a business to run.

Killian
To lead this pack out of the dark ages, I’ve had to be hard. Merciless. I don’t flinch, and I don’t make mistakes.

Una Hayes isn’t my mate.

My wolf might have some kind of strange infatuation, but if she were mine, I’d know it. And I can walk away, can’t I? And if I keep coming back? If she starts living in my head?

I’m the strongest male in five generations. My pack scrambles to do my bidding. I can bring one quiet female back in line. No one can possibly be as stubborn as I am.

There’s no way I’ve ruined the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

I’m the Quarry pack alpha. I don’t lose.

I picked this KU paranormal romance up after seeing it on the Twitter of one of my trusted fellow booklovers. (When she said it was worth the read, I basically jumped at it.) You all know how much I love werewolves. And you certainly know how much I love romances, so combine the two together, and you basically have catnip for Jordyn. But dang, there are a lot of BAD werewolf romances out there, and I’m particularly picky when it comes to my favorite mythological creature.

So even if I’m extremely picky when it comes to werewolves, The Tyrant Alpha’s Rejected Mate was a whirlwind of fun. Killian and Una are something else together, but it does take them almost the whole book to get there. Killian has to grovel something FIERCE to make up to Una for humiliating her in front of their entire pack. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him figure out how to make her happy, and how to apologize for the pain that he had put her through.

Una, on the other hand, stood her ground and I loved her for it. I especially loved her wolf. What a queen. Killian’s wolf was WAY ahead of Killian himself, and that was also extremely entertaining.

I also love love love the reveal towards the end of the book. That made the rest of the book better, and honestly, yeah, it made everything make a little more sense. It was the perfect reveal. I would have read about 293408234 more books about these two. I’ll definitely be picking up the next, though I have heard it isn’t quite as good.

Add to your Goodreads, or order at at the following links:

GOODREADS | AMAZON 

BOOK REVIEW: NOT YOUR AVERAGE HOT GUY BY GWENDA BOND

the book cover for Not Your Average Hot Guy by Gwenda Bond
  • STAR RATING:  4 stars
    PAGE LENGTH: 320 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: October 5th 2021
  • PUBLISHER:  St. Martin’s Griffin
    CONTENT WARNINGS: Confinement, panic attacks, fire

  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling

SYNOPSIS

A paranormal romantic comedy at the (possible) end of the world.

All Callie wanted was a quiet weekend with her best friend. She promised her mom she could handle running her family’s escape room business while her mom is out of town. Instead a Satanic cult shows up, claiming that the prop spell book in one of the rooms is the real deal, and they need it to summon the right hand of the devil. Naturally they take Callie and her friend, Mag, along with them. But when the summoning reveals a handsome demon in a leather jacket named Luke who offers to help Callie stop the cult from destroying the world, her night goes from weird to completely strange.

As the group tries to stay one step ahead of the cult, Callie finds herself drawn to the annoying (and annoyingly handsome) Luke. But what Callie doesn’t know is that Luke is none other than Luke Morningstar, Prince of Hell and son of the Devil himself. Callie never had time for love, and with the apocalypse coming closer, is there room for romance when all hell’s about to break loose?

From New York Times bestselling author Gwenda Bond, Not Your Average Hot Guy is a hilarious romantic comedy about two people falling in love, while the fate of the world rests on their shoulders. 

Not Your Average Hot Guy is a delightfully silly romp of paranormal romance book. For a book about the possible end of the world, starring the son of the literal devil, it does not take itself seriously. If you go in knowing that, then you’re going to have a helluva good time. (Did I make a Hell pun? I did. Sorry.) Callie’s mom runs an escape room business, and Callie helps her set the rooms up, find the props, etc. Its in doing these particular jobs that she finds (and buys) a legitimate grimoire. Without spoiling anything too important, the grimoire ends up being used to summon a demon…only…Luke shows up instead.

Luke is Lucifier Morningstar’s son, and he’s not a very good demon. Or devil. Or uh…bad at all, actually. He’s tempting, handsome, and has a sense of humor. Its really almost as if he doesn’t belong in Hell at all. Callie is a legitimately good person, and because of that, is a giant cinnamon roll of a person. Her, and her friend, Mag, are enormous nerds, which I very much appreciated. (As someone who self-identifies as a nerd, it always makes me happy to see a book about a nerd that has very clearly been written by someone who is also nerdy. You can tell, I promise.) Sidenote — Mag is non-binary. It’s brought up once, and then never made a big deal of the rest of the book. It is excellent representation. I loved it.

Luke and Callie are fantastic together. They pick on each other a little bit, but oh do they prop the other up when they really need support. It is a bit insta-love for my usual tastes, but they are way too cute for me to care too much about it one way or the other. My one real complaint, though, is that there are no real sex scenes! It’s a fade-to-black book, my friends. Still enjoyable, but not quite what I want from a romance book. For that, I’ve docked one star, but the rest of the book is too much fun not to recommend.

Add to your Goodreads, or preorder at at the following links:

GOODREADS | BOOKSHOP.ORG | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

ARC REVIEW: THE VERY SECRET SOCIETY OF IRREGULAR WITCHES BY SANGU MANDANNA

the book cover for The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

STAR RATING: 4.5 stars
PAGE LENGTH: 336 pages
CW: Abandonment, child abuse, sexual content, homophobia, racism, death
IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Berkley Books for providing an ARC copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS

As one of the few witches in Britain, Mika Moon knows she has to hide her magic, keep her head down, and stay away from other witches so their powers don’t mingle and draw attention. And as an orphan who lost her parents at a young age and was raised by strangers, she’s used to being alone and she follows the rules…with one exception: an online account, where she posts videos pretending to be a witch. She thinks no one will take it seriously.

But someone does. An unexpected message arrives, begging her to travel to the remote and mysterious Nowhere House to teach three young witches how to control their magic. It breaks all of the rules, but Mika goes anyway, and is immediately tangled up in the lives and secrets of not only her three charges, but also an absent archaeologist, a retired actor, two long-suffering caretakers, and…Jamie. The handsome and prickly librarian of Nowhere House would do anything to protect the children, and as far as he’s concerned, a stranger like Mika is a threat. An irritatingly appealing threat.

As Mika begins to find her place at Nowhere House, the thought of belonging somewhere begins to feel like a real possibility. But magic isn’t the only danger in the world, and when a threat comes knocking at their door, Mika will need to decide whether to risk everything to protect a found family she didn’t know she was looking for….

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches is an absolute delight of a book. If you’ve read and enjoyed The House in the Cerulean Sea and desperately wanted more books that have the same sort of feel, well, look no further. This is the exact same sort of book, and I’m so glad that I read it. This is found family to a T, and well, you need to read it immediately. Especially if you’re looking for a cozy hug in a book.

That’s not to say there weren’t parts that I disliked. I desperately wished we had gotten to see more of the main character, Mika, and the love interest, Jamie, together. They do spend time alone, but it’s not very often in the book, and glazed over rather frequently. Mika and Jamie are absolutely sunshine and grump, though, so if you love that pairing, you’ll like this book. There are no real steamy scenes, however. The sex is the fade to black sort, with minimal descriptions of anything. Mika is extremely sex positive throughout the whole book, so this sort of threw me for a loop. I was expecting at least one high-steam scene, and ultimately, I was left disappointed.

BUT, the rest of the book’s absolute adorableness made up for it. The three child-witches were amazingly well done, though one of the kids was sort of…glossed over and didn’t have a real personality, unfortunately. Again, this didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book. The other adults at Nowhere House were also, just fantastic characters. Ian, in particular, was a favorite. I do also want to mention that Mika is an absolute ball of sunshine, and I loved her to pieces. I love when main characters are just bubbly and lovely.

This is a standalone novel where everything gets wrapped up beautifully at the end. I think this is going to be a perfect book to break people out of reading slumps. I can’t recommend this one enough.

the very secret society of irregular witches comes out AUGUST 23, 2022.

Add to your Goodreads, or preorder at at the following links:

GOODREADS | BOOKSHOP.ORG | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

BOOK REVIEW: DARK NIGHT, GOLDEN DAWN BY ALLISON CARR WAECHTER

the book cover for Dark Night Golden Dawn by Allison Carr Waechter

STAR RATING:  almost 3ish stars
PAGE LENGTH: 411 pages
WHAT SERIES? The Immortal Orders
WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? Dark Night, Golden Dawn
HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? Unknown
CONTENT WARNINGS: Mentions of past abuse by partner, gore,

IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

SYNOPSIS

In a city where the elite are powerful as gods, the season is about to begin. The Immortal Orders will gather, pair and create a spectacle for all of Nuva Troi to witness.

Harlow Krane is a sorcière who wants nothing more than to recover from her most recent breakup in peace. When the season begins, her Order needs her help to save their ancestral occult district from being taken over by the Illuminated, the most powerful immortals in Nuva Troi. They offer to back off—if Harlow agrees to pair with their most eligible bachelor, Finn McKay. But Harlow has been burned by Finn before.

Finn McKay is one of the Illuminated. Rich, powerful, and he isn’t afraid of anyone—except for his parents. When they push him towards Harlow Krane, he knows their purposes are sinister at best. For the past seven years, Finn has done everything in his power to stay away from Harlow and he won’t break his resolve now, even if it means defying his parents. As the season begins, it’s clear something is dangerously wrong but besides Finn, only Harlow seems to notice.

With magic behaving strangely, the balance of power between the Immortal Orders and humans grows deadlier by the day. Harlow and Finn must work together to keep ancient grudges from resurfacing and take back their lives in the process. If they can get over their past, the whole world may have a brighter future.

Dark Night, Golden Dawn should have been a five star book for me. It had so many of my absolutely favorite tropes (vampires, mating, there’s a social season like in historical romances etc.), but ultimately, it fell more than a little flat. My biggest problem with the book lies with the main character, Harlow. For most of the book, she is a limp, boring noodle. She has little personality other than wondering why anyone likes her at all. (The author writes a reason for this into the story, but it didn’t really solve the issue for me.) Despite having the world’s worst self-confidence, Harlow is good at practically everything, other than standing up for herself and doing something to make herself interesting.

Finn, Harlow’s love interest, is slightly more interesting than her. He is the typical alpha male, a perfect specimen with awesome powers. He is protective, and always willing to take a step back to make sure Harlow is comfortable with how things are going. They have a rocky past together, but Harlow gets over this surprisingly quickly.

The plot and the world built in Dark Night, Golden Dawn is vastly interesting. The author has fantastic ideas, but the actual book just does not equal up to a fantastic story. The writing itself tends to be on the more boring side — too simple and plain to really paint a picture of what’s going on. The sex scenes should have been steamy, but instead felt overly bland. We get so much of Harlow hating and doubting herself when we should have gotten more descriptions of the world, of the plot, of what was going on.

I really wanted to like this book more than I did. If I remember about Dark Night, Golden Dawn when it’s sequel comes out, I might grab it. But I have a feeling this book might fade in my memory — it just has no sticking points. Dark Night, Golden Dawn is available on Kindle Unlimited.

GOODREADS | AMAZON 

WOLF GONE WILD BY JULIETTE CROSS

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

SYNOPSIS

What’s the worst thing that can happen to a werewolf? Unable to shift for three months, Mateo Cruz knows all too well. His wolf has taken up residence in his head, taunting him night and day with vividly violent and carnal thoughts. Convinced he’s cursed, he needs the help of a powerful witch before he literally goes insane.

​Evie Savoie has always obeyed the house rules of her coven–no werewolves. They’re known for being moody and volatile. So, when a distempered, dangerous werewolf strolls into the bar and almost strangles one of her late-night customers, she’s ready to bounce him through the door. But the desperation in his eyes when he begs her to help him softens her heart and convinces her to bend the rules.

​What Evie doesn’t know is that Mateo’s wolf has a mind of his own. And now that she’s in his sights, he wants only one thing. Her. 

Wolf Gone Wild is a paranormal romance starring the Savoie family, who are a witchy group of sisters who control New Orleans and presumably, their eventual love interests. The Savoie sisters own a bar/tavern and a witchy shop in New Orleans, and from there ply their magic to whoever needs help. The majority of the world is in the dark when it comes to supernaturals, but from what I could gather, there were four main types. Vampires, Witches, Werewolves and Grims — who are grim reaper types.

In Wolf Gone Wild, Mateo Cruz, a werewolf with a hex problem, shows up at the Savoie’s door looking for help. He can’t shift, and it’s causing some issues with his wolfier side. There he meets Evie, and well, love happens.

This series has the potential to be really cute, but unfortunately, Wolf Gone Wild fell a little flat for me. The writing is what brought this down in rating. It’s very basic, which is fine, but the characters — especially the main character, Evie, just felt… elementary? She’s a geek who loves comics and Star Wars, and normally that would be fine and dandy, but there was no real heart there. It felt very filled-in, and that there was no real love for either comics or the Star Wars series. Maybe I’m reading too into a paranormal romance book. Who knows.

Anyway, Mateo and Evie were rather cute together, and I did enjoy the alpha-ness of the werewolf bits. When it comes to sex scenes, Wolf Gone Wild is on the steamier side of things. There are a few explicit scenes, and several scenes of characters thinking rather raunchy thoughts.

In the end, I’m not going to be rushing to the other books in this series. It’s a shame, I had high hopes for this one!