Tag Archives: genre: paranormal

Dare to Love Forever by Jake C. Wallace

Dare to Love Forever

Dare to Love Forever by Jake C. Wallace

Series: New Vampire Justice, Book 1
Published by: Dreamspinner Press on September 26, 2016 (2nd edition)
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Connor Locke is a rare vampire, a Tabula Rasa. When he bites someone, he has the ability to completely wipe their memories. Because he can work this power on both humans and other vampires, he’s considered dangerous by some and useful by others. But it means he needs to be careful what he does, where he goes, and who he trusts. So when he’s caught stealing blood to survive, he’s understandably suspicious of Lincoln Samuels, the New Vampire Justice Commander who saves Connor’s life, heals his wounds, and offers to help him. But as other forces prepare to move in on Connor and use him for their own purposes, he finds Lincoln might just be the one person he can count on. And together, they might just be able to change the world.

I’ve found that I’m reading more vampire stories than I think I have in the past. It’s not really a conscious thing; they’re just the ones that are popping up on my reading list at the right time lately. But I’m also finding that I’m enjoying the stories that I’m reading more than I think I did in the past. And that’s largely because I’m picking up books that are about more than the fact that a vampire is involved. There’s more going on in the story. Yes, one (or more) of the main characters is a vampire, but the story doesn’t revolve around that chapter after chapter after chapter. And an action romance like this one is a shining example of how to tell such a story without resorting to tropes to get through it…

Waiting for Patrick by Brynn Stein

Waiting for Patrick

Waiting for Patrick by Brynn Stein

Published by: Dreamspinner Press on September 16, 2016
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Elliot Graham is an architect who specializes in restoring old houses and flipping them for a profit. But when he purchases an old plantation home in South Carolina, there’s something about the place that makes him wonder if he’ll be able to part with it. He’s found something that he didn’t even know he was searching for even if he can’t exactly articulate what it is.

Ben Myers promised Patrick that he would wait for him to come back. And he’s someone who is true to his word. Even though that promise was made during the Civil War, Ben is still waiting in the same plantation house where they parted more than a century ago. A bit restless, Ben reaches out to Elliot and tells him his story. Elliot does his best to try to convince Ben that Patrick is gone and isn’t coming back, but Ben is devoted. And it turns out there may be a bit more to this love story than either of them realizes…

Are you someone who believes in fate? Even just a little? Well, even if you aren’t, I have a feeling you’ll still enjoy this well-written and engaging story of love that spans more than a lifetime. In life there are very few second chances–and sometimes even few first chances–and it’s imperative that we take the chances that we are given. Who knows, sometimes they may surprise us and we might even surprise ourselves. And that’s exactly what you’ll find here…

Sunchaser by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus

Sunchaser

Sunchaser by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus

Series: Smilodon Pride, Book 2
Published by: Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus on October 14, 2016
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Werecat Roan has found that he can manage to live among humans on his own as long as he doesn’t stick around too long. It’s not that they’ll figure him out; it’s that he can only put up with certain people for so long. And he’s well past the time he should be moving on from his current living situation. But when he discovers a traveling circus has captured a werewolf and is subjecting him to torture to entertain the masses, he decides he has one last thing to do before he leaves town. Not that he’s a fan of werewolves or anything. It’s just that no one deserves to be treated like that. But Roan isn’t the only one who wants to set the wolf free, and after the rescue attempt goes wrong he finds himself on the run with none other than the sheriff’s daughter. And as a lone cat, Roan has to quickly adjust to being part of a crowd–and figure out what to do about the circus ringmaster who is hot on their trail (and is some sort of supernatural creature himself). Will they manage to keep themselves and the werewolf safe? And will Roan be able to set his loner nature aside while they continue to run together?

There are more than a few unexpected turns in this book, which is something I am always a fan of. Roan is a character that you simultaneously love and grumble at a bit while reading. He’s gruff and a bit jaded while kind and caring at the same time. And it’s not so much that he tries to reject the caring part of his nature, just that he doesn’t want all of the trouble and fuss that seems to go along with it. His arch is indeed an interesting one, and it’s as much of a journey itself as is the cross-country road trip that the group undertakes as part of their getaway. This is a fun and entertaining read that I can’t help but recommend.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.]

Vampire Prince by S.J. Frost

Vampire Prince

Vampire Prince by S.J. Frost

Series: Paranormal Nobles, Book 1
Published by: Ellora’s Cave on March 7, 2014
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Three years ago, Sebastian Beaumont was tricked. Having been kicked out by his parents when they discovered he was gay, Sebastian tried to make it on the streets. But living on the streets is hard enough for an adult; it can be even harder for a teenager. So the offer for a roof over his head, good food, and security was something he jumped at. He just didn’t expect that he would be come a blood slave, forced to let random vampires feed off of him, in exchange. And he expects he will die in Wesley’s blood house.

Sebastian’s outlook changes when a mysterious new patron arrives and selects him. Valentin is a vampire prince–something Sebastian didn’t know existed. The two hit it off quickly, and when Sebastian is threatened, Valentin buys Sebastian’s contract off a reluctant Wesley and takes him home. Sebastian is free, but for someone who has been enslaved and expected to die that way, freedom is a difficult concept. And Valentin has some wounds of his own. Of course, there’s also the fact that Wesley feels scorned over the loss of one of his slaves, and he may stop at nothing to get him back. With the cards stacked against them, can Sebastian and Valentin find a way to make this work?

There’s something I really enjoyed about the world in which this story takes place. I mean, yes the concept of blood slaves isn’t a huge stretch in a vampire universe, though I don’t know that I’ve read many stories that have featured something like that. But the interaction with demons, the backstory of how vampires were created, and some of the other lore kept me intrigued. And Beezle–everyone needs a Beezle.

There isn’t as much focus here on the development of the relationship between Sebastian and Valentin, but that was okay with me. There was a good balance between focusing on them and letting other characters shine while drawing readers into this world. Definitely an enjoyable read.

Flight of Magpies by K.J. Charles

Flight of Magpies

Flight of Magpies by K.J. Charles

Series: A Charm of Magpies, Book 3
Published by: Samhain Publishing on October 28, 2014
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Life for Stephen Day has never really been what one would call normal. But things are getting weird even for him. The justiciary is still in the process of rebuilding their forces, and one of the apprentices may be going mad with power. Of course, this only adds to the stress between Stephen and his lover, Lord Crane. A stress that comes to a head over the investigation of a theft in which Crane finds himself the victim. Can Stephen help solve the theft, figure out what’s going on with the young apprentice, and keep his relationship afloat?

I have enjoyed this series; the combination of historical and paranormal always has a way of drawing me in. And the characters here are the same characters that I’ve grown to enjoy reading about during the previous two installments. I have to say that I do feel like there’s just a little bit too much going on in this one, though. There’s the case at the core, there’s the drama with the justiciary, there’s the short-staffing of the judiciary–it’s just so many layers and makes things suddenly more complex than I feel they have been thus far. Perhaps I just wasn’t ready for this turn. I still enjoyed this book, and I absolutely recommend it. It just didn’t quite hit the spot in the way I expected it would.

Prickly by Nature by Piper Vaughn & Kenzie Cade

Prickly by Nature

Prickly by Nature by Piper Vaughn & Kenzie Cade

Series: Portland Pack Chronicles, Book 2
Published by: Dreamspinner Press on November 16, 2015
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

It’s been four months since hedgehog shifter Avery Babineaux started his investigation into the disappearance of Lacey, a young woman from the Portland Pack. Despite finding himself in danger more than once, he’s continuing to investigate, committed to bringing Lacey home. Now that he’s started working with a licensed private investigator, Corbin Reid, he’s hoping to learn more and be able to track down every possible lead.

There are days when Dylan Green would prefer that his mate not get himself tangled up in his private detective work. He admires and appreciates Avery’s dedication; he just doesn’t care for the fact that Avery’s investigations put him in danger. And Dylan’s wolf is very much the protective type, so he can’t just stand back and let Avery walk into situations where he might get hurt. But he knows that Avery’s just as unlikely to back down as he is, and the two of them will need to find a way to live with the current state of things.

But as Avery gets closer to finding out the truth about Lacey, the danger is likely to only grow–for both of them.

Of course I had to read the follow up to the first ever hedgehog shifter novel I’ve read. And I love that the authors carried over the same spirit, that excellent balance between humor and seriousness, that I enjoyed so much in the first book. And he same sort of unexpected twists and turns exist to keep readers guessing and on the edges of their seats…

Restless Spirits by Jordan L. Hawk

Restless Spirits

Restless Spirits by Jordan L. Hawk

Series: Spirits, Book 1
Published by: Widdershins Publishing on January 5, 2015
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Henry Strauss has no time for psychics or mediums. His own experience witnessing their deception has led him to develop machines that can detect spirits without the need for a medium–total objectivity. And he’s determine to prove that they work. So when he receives an invitation from Dominic Gladfield to investigate a haunted house and exorcise it of any malevolent beings, he jumps at the chance. Of course, the $500 prize is just as enticing.

Vincent Night received a similar invitation, but he doesn’t bring any fancy equipment with him. He has his skills as a medium and those of his colleague. And he is equally determined to win the prize. But what neither Vincent or Henry count on is the spark of attraction that pops up when they meet and lingers between them as they investigate Reyhome Castle. And they don’t exactly have time to explore the attraction while they’re still competing for the prize and trying to stay safe from what appears to be a powerful, angry, and violent spirit. To get out alive, they may just have to put all of their misgivings aside…

I actually enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I was going to when I read the blurb. Paranormal mysteries with a romantic subplot seem to be all over the M/M romance sphere. But this one stood out as unique to me. For one, the author doesn’t rely on tropes to carry the story. Yes, you can see them in the story since this is such a common framework. But aside from being the framework, the characters and their interactions have a spirit to them that is fresh and original. And each of the characters–including the side characters–has a rich backstory that comes into play at various points throughout the plot. Everything that happens is grounded in advancing the story, which keeps the momentum and the buildup to the climax going on an even pace.

I give this one a strong recommendation.

With Caution by J.L. Langley

With Caution

With Caution by J.L. Langley

Series: With or Without, Book 2
Published by: Samhain Publishing on November 20, 2007
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Remington Lassiter is still adjusting to his new upside-down world. Overnight, he went from not knowing werewolves existed and that his best friend was one to being one himself. At the same time, Remi finds himself trying to do all he can to protect his younger brother from their abusive father. But Remi also carries some deeply-rooted secrets that he doesn’t even realize are hidden in his past. They will need to be confronted before he can truly be free. And then there’s the attractive and mysterious private detective, Jake Romero, who keeps popping up to help Remi out whenever he needs it. And Jake has his own bombshell to drop on Remi when the time is right…

The character development in this one is pretty solid. Each of these guys is a distinct character with complex backstories that come to bear on who they are and what they do. It’s hard not to feel for Remi at so many points while reading, but I appreciate that he has moments where he can find his strength and try to move things forward at the same time. I also appreciate that the author didn’t rush the relationship here, knowing full well that Remi has other things to deal with on top of confronting the possibility of being in a relationship with a guy. An interesting read, though there are some unpleasant moments in the lives of these characters.

Content warning: discussions of child abuse and domestic violence, virulent homophobia

Hemovore by Jordan Castillo Price

Hemovore

Hemovore by Jordan Castillo Price

Published by: Samhain Publishing on July 28, 2009
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

Mark Jensen would describe his boss, Jonathan Varga, in many ways. Mysterious would be a big one. And he’d also probably say sexy too, but it’s not something he could ever act on. Not only is Jonathan Mark’s boss, but he’s also V-positive–a vampire–and it can be passed on through sex. So they carry on a professional relationship with Jonathan often holed up painting in his studio while Mark runs his errands, keeps the office clean, and procures cat blood for his boss. But when a major sale comes through on several of Jonathan’s paintings, he decides they should have a night out. The night itself is innocent enough, but it ends with someone from Jonathan’s past resurfacing. And that someone appears to be anything but friendly, leaving death and destruction in his wake. So Mark finds himself on the run with Jonathan, not really sure where they can hide or where they can turn. They both know they can only run for so long, and they can only hope they will make it out alive…

The idea of vampirism as a virus is a rather interesting concept. It adds a whole layer to the vampire-human interaction piece that doesn’t exist in more traditional vampire narratives. It also draws parallels to it as more of a medical condition than a “you are now a demonic monster overnight” condition. But clearly that doesn’t mean there isn’t drama around being “turned” or people using the virus to threaten or intimidate other people. Some vampire drama here with a few very interesting twists.

Without Reservations by J.L. Langley

Without Reservations

Without Reservations by J.L. Langley

Series: With or Without, Book 1
Published by: Samhain Publishing on October 10, 2006
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Chayton Winston has been dreaming of a mate since he was five years old. And despite being part of an American Indian werewolf pack, in his dreams his mate always has blond hair and blue eyes. But his parents always told him he would find his mate in good time, so he forced himself to stop obsessing about it and just let it happen. So when an injured wolf is brought into his veterinary office and he experiences some strange feelings, he’s surprised. Of course, he’s also surprised because if those feelings mean his mate is near, it means his mate is male. He knows that won’t go over well with his mother, but he first needs to figure out how it goes over for himself.

Keaton Reynolds is a powerful wolf who wants nothing more than to leave any fighting in his past. He took a job as a professor in New Mexico, far from his family, to have a new start. So when we wakes up in a strange man’s vehicle after going for a run, he’s not sure what to think. And his thoughts are further clouded when he realizes this strange man is his mate. Not one to force himself on someone, he’s more than willing to walk away from Chay–especially since the man is straight. But the pull of a mate is strong. And Keaton may be in the crosshairs of someone far more dangerous than a mate…

I feel like shifter romances with the whole “unexpected mate” trope aren’t difficult to find. There seem to be several on the market. But the supporting cast and the world in which this takes place are different enough to make this unique. I do wish we got a chance to get to know the main characters a bit better. Once they’re thrown together, it’s all about how they interact and there isn’t much of them alone or with friends or family that might help provide a bit more insight into who they are. And Chay’s decision seems a bit fast for someone who was not expecting a mate like the one he got.

It’s still definitely worth a read, so I give it a recommendation.