Ghosted by Chera Zade and Fanny Mills

Yes and no

Cover

OK, I will start by saying that understand some people’s POVs that there is “slut shaming” going on, but it is hardly done in a way that’s completely derogatory. The girls say it of themselves, to further excite themselves. In this context, I have no problem with it.

My actual issues with this was that it, for me, wasn’t concrete enough. The storyline itself was quite flimsy, with the sex scenes not quite as hot as I’ve come to expect from a Zade-Mills combo. This incredibly short story was fun in its way, but could have been so much more.

Final rating: ★★★☆☆ – Sort of liked/OK

*I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.*

Secrets and Suitors by Joanna Barker

Beautiful

Typical me, I’m behind on my reviewing again! Yet this one sticks in the mind plenty enough for me to still be able to give my thoughts and opinions on it.

I will start by saying that I usually avoid Regency romances as, quite like contemporary billionaire romances, they can be unrelatable, reading more like a fantasy world. The description and the cover sucked me in on this one and, I am relieved to say, that the writing made the story relatable. The characters felt real, fragile yet headstrong, each with their own unique characteristics.

It is hard to understand from a modern perspective a time period where men, particularly the heads of the family, very much had a final say in anything that women did. Despite having read so much, I’d hate to live without my modern freedoms. Yet here we have a young lady who is willing to test her father’s resolve so she can marry the man she loves, rather than the one that may give her the greatest comforts.

We have a great main character, accompanied by a slew of side characters who make the story even more colourful. I especially like the Countess – quiet and calculating, with a great sense of duty, but with an even greater sense of humour.

All in all, I have to say that I’m very glad that I picked this up!

Final rating: ★★★★★ – Loved it/couldn’t put it down

*I received a free ARC via NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Blood and Deceit by Laura Greenwood

Naughty Necromancers

That title of mine might give the wrong impression, when this is actually about necromancers who decide to act like “Gods” above all others. But not all necromancers are that way – Tabitha happens to be a necromancer of the old school, disappointing several of her old acquaintances. But new connections come along and she finds out that she’s not as alone as she might seem.

I must admit, I found a couple of points of this a little disappointing. The big “reveal” didn’t feel anywhere near as dramatic as it could have been. The characters, too, whilst the main characters should have been likable, I didn’t feel like they had enough depth to be able to connect to them.

Not a bad story, but unfortunately a bit forgettable.

Final rating: ★★★☆☆ – Sort of liked/OK

*I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.*

Death’s Choice by Laura Greenwood

Another great Paranormal Council standalone.

This is another standalone set within the greater Paranormal Council universe. It’s quite an interesting universe, as the magic within it works in a specific way, whether they be necromancers, witches, or shifters. Living within the human realm comes with its many dangers, but the characters here manage to adapt and find their place within it.

Kali is a necromancer whose job is to kill whoever her guild assigns her to. Unlike some of her peers, she doesn’t actually relish in the killing part at all. So when she receives an assignment to protect instead of kill, she is all for it, especially when it brings certain men into her sphere who turn out to be far more than they seem. Kali adapts well to the new situation, loving the fact that she doesn’t have to kill. Well, not on order, anyway – only to protect. She makes some good friends, and even stronger enemies, in her new life.

The characters have interesting dimensions to themselves, and some are more accepting of the unchangeable situation than others. Most notably, jealousy, until it becomes obvious that the emotion is completely pointless. The dynamic once she has found all three of her mates becomes really interesting, although one of them should have been expected, really.

I was actually slightly disappointed that the “clause” wasn’t used to protect Kali, like expected, instead of the more extreme setting, but all works out well in the end.

Final rating: ★★★★☆ – Really liked

*I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.*

Reluctant Dragon Mate by Laura Greenwood

Stubborn Dragons!

Yep, you heard that right – this book contains one very stubborn dragon, who is so caught up in his own world and what he believes a so-called prophecy might actually mean for him, that he refuses to see what’s right under his nose.

His “distraction” he found by accident on a Paranormal dating app, a distraction in the form of a witch called Dakota. She works out quite quickly that there is more to this dragon than meets the eye, but this damned stubborn dragon just refuses to play ball.

A quite fun back and forth ensues, before both finally accept what their fate actually means.

My only disappointment is that the book description doesn’t completely match the content – we are led to believe that it’s Achilles business that’s the reason he’s holding back, but we barely hear anything about that at all! Anyway, despite this little niggle, I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

Final rating: ★★★★☆ – Really liked

*I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.*

The Platypus and Her Wolves by Laura Greenwood and L.A. Boruff

A platypus shifter?! Rarer than unicorns!!

This was a nice, fun, quick-burn short read, based in the Valentine Pride universe.

The shifters on the mountain have been looking for lone shifters living amongst the human population, monitoring for strange web searches, to try and bring them back to the pride and their families, where they belong. One of these shifters is April. Her adoptive parents are unaware of her shifter capabilities, so she’s been trying hard to find others like her. When a pack of three male wolf shifters suddenly appear on her doorstep ready to give her all the answers she’s been looking for, plus turning out to be her fated mates, suddenly she’s not so sure if she’s ready to give up the human world that she’s lived in for so long.

This is quite an interesting story, with a platypus shifter! Well, I guess the paranormal universes allow for any type of shifter you may be able to dream of, but this is the first platypus that I’ve come across. Unusual animals, once believed by Victorian scientists to be a “fake”, like many other samples that had returned their way, this animal is unusual in more ways than one. And what I do love is that this story played upon that.

Quite a nice addition to the universe.

Final rating: ★★★★☆ – Really liked

*I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.*

Beyond the Northern Lights by Arizona Tape

A boy meets girl story with a twist

The boy is a terminally-ill human; the girl is an alien light being. Both are alone and lonely, until they meet by chance under the Northern Lights.

This I found slow to get in to, with the first couple of chapters with Ben and Y’me talking to themselves not really pulling me in. I had to wait until the middle of the book before it actually became interesting, when Ben and Y’me finally meet and start talking to each other.

The funniest part for me was their discussion about “silly human behaviour”, like (paraphrased), ‘why does paper beat rock?’ ‘It just does…’ And, my favourite one, ‘Isn’t ketchup technically a fruit smoothie?’ Haha!

Up until that point, I wasn’t so impressed with the story, but as it started to progress from there on, it slowly warmed to me. Then, the ending – it was probably one of the most profound things I’ve read in a long while. The last paragraph just took my breath away and gave the story such wonderful roundedness.

It’s a story that requires some patience, but once you’re in there, you will be hooked.

Final rating: ★★★★☆ – Really liked

*I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.*

If the Shoe Fits by Laura Greenwood

The shoe fit quite well, thank you!

I’m actually quite surprised that this book has a mediocre average rating, but I actually only tend to trust those who write full reviews rather than just slapping a couple of stars on a book. So, therefore, if you go on the basis of actual reviews, this book appears to be a hit.

And, if you come onto me, it was a hit with me as well!!

Now we must mention that there are some cheesy moments. I mean, “Fairy Gay Mother” just had me cringing! lol! But, as a retelling, of course you had to have the similarities in there, in some way, and that’s just one of them.

Sadie’s life has been compared to that of Cinderella by her best friend and I guess she moderately agrees, but she just has a stepmother who hates and would rather ignore her than one who submits her to drudgery. But when she sees a man she must have on the TV, she decides that she just has to get to the ball to meet him, even if her stepmother had forbidden it.

And there are familiar characters who come along, in the shape of Queen Amara and her consorts; I didn’t quite recognise them at first, but when I remembered that I’d read their story, too, it was a nice squidgy moment.

All in all, a good fun read.

Final rating: ★★★★☆ – Really liked

*I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.*