Fantasy Romance

Read Always Practice Safe Hex

Read Always Practice Safe Hex (Stay a Spell, #4)

Livvy Savoie is a people person. Not only does she have the magical gift of persuasion, but her natural charisma charms everyone she meets. She hasn’t met a person she didn’t like. Until her annoyingly brilliant competitor walks through the door. No matter how hard she denies it, loathing isn’t the only emotion she feels for him.

Grim reaper Gareth Blackwater is rarely, if ever, moved beyond his broody, stoic state. But the witch he’s partnered with in the public relations contest is destroying his peace of mind. He’s convinced that the flesh-melting attraction he feels for her is merely her witchy magic at work.

But forced proximity proves there is more than magic sparking between them. Livvy learns this enigmatic grim’s abilities are beyond any supernatural she has ever known. And when Livvy becomes the obsessive target of a dangerous wizard, Gareth proves just how powerful he truly is. Because no one is going to hurt his Lavinia.

I enjoyed this overall, though felt the heroine didn’t get a lot of time to shine and had some qualms about some story elements. I disliked the subplot with the bad guy, especially the climax which was really cruddy all round for the heroine (an understatement). I never like when the climax plot relies on <spoiler>the hero rescuing the heroine from a sexual assault</spoiler>.

Fantasy Romance

Read The Alpha Experiment

Read The Alpha Experiment (Mismatched Mates, #3)

Studying shifter genetics takes brains, patience…and sometimes simulating mating rituals with your alpha-werewolf bestie. You know, for science…

Brilliant geneticist Newton McEwen, the only human in a family of werewolves, has devoted his life to researching the scientific key to shifter magic. Now he’s being blackmailed and his life’s work is threatened if he can’t produce results.

Alpha werewolf Colin Kimball is a newly-minted pack leader with a mountain of responsibilities, but when his lifelong best friend tells him he needs help, Colin drops everything to run to his aid. But Newt’s not just looking for a brawny bodyguard to watch his back—he needs help with an experiment, one he can’t carry out alone.

Out of academically approved methods, and desperate to accelerate his research, Newt’s trying a last-ditch approach, with himself as the test subject. And the very alpha Colin as the catalyst.

Determined to succeed, Newt’s willing to get up close and personal with Colin as many times as it takes. Only feelings weren’t a variable logic-minded Newt took into account. Now not only is Newt’s career on the line, his most important relationship is at stake. Can they outwit Newt’s blackmailer and move on from their experimentation…or will they lose the friendship that means everything to them?

I should have bailed on this. The setup was ridiculous and the main character made it weird. The POV character did not really come to grips with his desires/ self, it was just kind of explained in a brush-off sentence at the end?

Fantasy Romance

Read Warmth of His Light

Read Warmth of His Light (Blanchard Coven #1)

When Eos Hawthorne went to meet a friend one evening, he never expected his entire life to change. As if stumbling across a group of men fighting in an abandoned lot by his home wasn’t shocking enough—one of those men suddenly attacks him…with fangs and claws.

Vampire coven leader Julien Blanchard is having a bad day. After failing to apprehend a murderer and traitor to his coven, the absolute last thing he needed was a hapless human stumbling into the picture— especially an intriguing young man who, as it turns out, happens to be his mate.

Eos doesn’t know if he believes in mating, and knows nothing about the supernatural world he is suddenly thrust into. Julien is a vampire who has always put his coven and his duty first.

This was a little goofy, but I was in the mood for light fluff. The setup is very contrived. Thought about bailing at 75% but finished. Probably wouldn’t read another in this series.

The two love interests were a little flat, the human’s main interest was watching reality TV. I know that’s super normal but it’s kinda boring to read about. The building is described as cold and sterile and perfect, but later the human decides it reflects the vampire’s personality because it has thoughtful touches like a bowl of fruit and a historic photo of the building 🤔

I thought it was funny the vampire was like “oh my long long life” and it’s later mentioned he’s 75. The bad guy needed more motivation. I wanted to know more about the Witch Mother (?).

Fantasy Romance

Read The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy

Read The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy

Hart is a marshal, tasked with patrolling the strange and magical wilds of Tanria. It’s an unforgiving job, and Hart’s got nothing but time to ponder his loneliness.

Mercy never has a moment to herself. She’s been single-handedly keeping Birdsall & Son Undertakers afloat in defiance of sullen jerks like Hart, who seems to have a gift for showing up right when her patience is thinnest.

After yet another exasperating run-in with Mercy, Hart finds himself penning a letter addressed simply to “A Friend”. Much to his surprise, an anonymous letter comes back in return, and a tentative friendship is born.

If only Hart knew he’s been baring his soul to the person who infuriates him most – Mercy. As the dangers from Tanria grow closer, so do the unlikely correspondents. But can their blossoming romance survive the fated discovery that their pen pals are their worst nightmares – each other?

Quite enjoyed this mashup of wild west meets ancient Greek / Norse / Egyptian mythology meets The Shop Around the Corner meets zombies. I liked that it was as much about the romance as it was friendship and family. I have minor quibbles with some aspects of the ending but it got to a good spot.

Fantasy Romance

Read Storm Echo

Read Storm Echo (Psy-Changeling Trinity, #6; Psy-Changeling,…

Silence has fallen. The Psy are free to feel emotion. Free to love. But Silence was never a prison for Ivan Mercant. The biggest threat to his future lies dormant in his brain—a psychic monster that wants only to feed. And now, the brutal leash he’s kept on that monster is slipping. He prepared for this day, for the end of Ivan Mercant . . . but that was before he met Lei.

As primal as she is human, this wild changeling brings color into his life, laughter to his soul. Then the dream shatters in a rain of blood, in silent bodies in the snow. Lei is gone. Vanished without a trace . . . until he meets strangely familiar eyes across a busy San Francisco street.

Soleil Bijoux Garcia is a healer who has lost everything. She exists in a world of desolate aloneness . . . till the day she finds herself face-to-face with a lethal stranger. The animal who is her other half knows this man, but her memories are tattered fragments. Sorrow and a need for vengeance are all that drive her. Her mission? To kill the alpha of the DarkRiver leopard pack.

But fate has other plans. Soon, a deadly soldier who believes himself a monster and a broken healer might be all that stand between life and death for the entire Psy race.

Enjoyed this. Ivan is very stubborn. His murder hobby is uhhh something, at first I got a Dexter vibe but he’s not a serial killer so that is good I guess. Still could have done without that. Some weird time jumps that might have been clearer in chronological order? Appreciated the Arwen cameos.

Fantasy Romance

Read Wicked Beauty

Read Wicked Beauty (Dark Olympus, #3)

*A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Helen of Troy, Achilles, and Patroclus that’s as sinful as it is sweet.*

In Olympus, you either have the power to rule…or you are ruled. Achilles Kallis may have been born with nothing, but as a child he vowed he would claw his way into the poisonous city’s inner circle. Now that a coveted role has opened to anyone with the strength to claim it, he and his partner, Patroclus Fotos, plan to compete and double their odds of winning.

Neither expect infamous beauty Helen Kasios to be part of the prize…or for the complicated fire that burns the moment she looks their way.

Zeus may have decided Helen is his to give to away, but she has her own plans. She enters into the competition as a middle finger to the meddling Thirteen rulers, effectively vying for her own hand in marriage. Unfortunately, there are those who would rather see her dead than lead the city. The only people she can trust are the ones she can’t keep her hands off—Achilles and Patroclus. But can she really believe they have her best interests at heart when every stolen kiss is a battlefield?

Of the three books in this series, this plays the loosest with the source material overall, but then clings a little too close in other spots. Some things seemed to be included just to show that it was referencing the Iliad (Ajax), but would have been more powerful if those roles had been expanded (Hector).

The romance in this was a bit messy, starting with an established partnership in an open relationship and adding a third person, with some hurt feelings and bad behavior on the way. For the romance, I would have appreciated one more chapter at the end — it would have been good to hear from Patroclus again, and I never felt like Achilles and Patroclus resolved their mutual secret “you’re going to get tired of me and leave me” issues.

This set up some big pieces for the overall story of the city, but left too much unresolved IMO. There’s a big question about one of the plot pieces that we’re I guess just supposed to accept will be explained in the next book.

Using a golden apple on the cover when Atalanta is in the book but not the love interest is a weird choice for a series devoted to retelling myths, where readers may be familiar with the story of Atalanta’s footrace.

Fantasy Romance

Read Wolf’s Lady

Read Wolf’s Lady

The only mistake Lady Adelle Thornber ever made turned into a scandal that rocked London and saw her banished to Scotland, the reluctant bride of a reclusive baron. But Lord Henry MacAulay isn’t what she was expecting: he cares deeply for his barony and for her.

As the sole heir to the Roseheath title and werewolf alpha, Henry knew that he had to take a mate someday. He just didn’t expect to find her in a disgraced noble’s daughter forced into marriage with him. But as he falls more deeply in love with Adelle, he can’t bring himself to tell her what he really is. But when he can, it isn’t his werewolf nature that may tear them apart.

Another loose Beauty and the Beast retelling with werewolves. This worked as a novella but didn’t have much room to develop the characters’ personalities and histories like a full novel would. The hero’s decision not to tell her things was obviously dumb, and the heroine’s actions during the climax were foolish though her reasoning was explained.


Read Bella and Her Beast

Read Bella and Her Beast

The clock is ticking for Greyson Devereaux and life as he knows it will soon come to an end. A man by day and owned by the moon at night.

There is only one option—find his one true mate or be bound to the beast for eternity. For years he searched, hoped to find her but his efforts have come up short…until now.

With only three months remaining, how can he convince Bella that she’s the one and how can she tame the beast within?

I liked the first half well enough to keep reading, but wasn’t thrilled about several things in the second half. I think the pacing and stakes didn’t quite match, maybe? Like, this guy has a month to convince this woman to fall in love with him but still can’t bring himself to talk to her…then when he does ask her on a date, she invites him in and he says no? Then he goes on an unexplained trip when he has one week left to win her over? So the slow pacing made the stakes feel lower.

I did like the concept of making the Beast a werewolf rather than all-the-time beast.

Some of the dialogue / internal narration felt a little awkward.

The hero coming on full millionaire (midway) felt weird to me. It felt kinda skeezy that he’s sucking up to her with expensive gifts.

The librarian kept reading on her shift — and also doing the page’s job and shelving books? Wasn’t like that when I worked at the circulation desk 🤷‍♀️

Fantasy Romance

Read Broken Chains

Read Broken Chains

Shy librarian Catena likes her quiet life…until a huge naked man muscles his way into her house, insisting he’s been woken from his centuries-long sleep to be her personal protector.

Catena’s life is turned upside down when she’s saved by a creature she’s only heard about in books. If only her hero’s rock-hard abs weren’t actually made out of stone.

Tor has no memory of his past. All he knows is that he must protect Catena at all costs.

Can they unlock the dark secrets chaining them to the past, and forge a new future?

Another freebie from a new-to-me author. Gargoyles are the next thing, huh? I guess I read a gargoyle / demon series a while back…so maybe not new at all 🤷‍♀️

The plot for this didn’t really come together for me. Lots of pieces that didn’t quite coalesce, or maybe just too many loose ends left for the next book in the series for my preference. I didn’t understand the godmother’s connection to everything.

Very mild despite the caution: steamy label. The hero was very formal, from two hundred years earlier, and very concerned about propriety.

Fantasy Romance

Read The Sumage Solution

Read The Sumage Solution (San Andreas Shifters, #1)

Max fails at magic, relationships, and life. So he works as a sumage, cleaning up other mages’ messes. The job sucks and he’s in no mood to cope with redneck biker werewolves. Unfortunately, there’s something irresistible about the sexy muscled Beta visiting his office for processing.

Bryan is gay but he’s not out. There’s a good chance Max might be reason enough to leave the closet, if he can only get the man to go on a date.

Everyone knows werewolves hate mages, but Bryan is determined to prove everyone wrong, even the mage in question.

I was tickled that this was set in Marin, with a scene at the Civic Center. Turns out Gail Carriger was originally from Bolinas!

Interesting setup. It feels almost as if it’s the second book in the series because a recent new relationship is mentioned so prominently, but apparently that was covered in a prequel novella.

I was frustrated by the mage’s self loathing attitude and at the end wasn’t convinced the conversation he had would be enough to bring about a change of heart.

The bigger picture had a tie-in explanation to a steampunk history, which was intriguing but not explained very much — I presume that’ll be explained more in future books.

I don’t really read much urban fantasy / paranormal romance but these guys get after it pretty quick 😂

I do want to read more about the drag queen kitsune 🦊 so I may check out her novella — though the author recommends reading all the other books first so 🤷‍♀️