“Growling For Mine (Grayslake: More Than Mated Kindle World)” by Alexa Riley

Wow, I think this may be my favorite Alexa Riley yet. Short and sweet and the smut is happening from the get-go.

Good Lord, did I LOVE Bleu. Sorry, but he’s MINE.

Caveman bear shifter, treats his woman like a precious jewel.

This is just like I like ’em… right to the point. Short and sweet.

“You will be mine. If I mate you, you cannot leave. I will hunt you down and bring you back to our home.”

GAH. I lurv him.

Review also found at Goodreads.

Original post:

HELL YES! More paranormal smut from Alexa Riley! I’m there.

“Cottonwood” by R. Lee Smith

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In this story, insectoid aliens crash-landed on Earth. They were settlers, with some doctors, military members, and engineers onboard, going to settle an unpopulated planet. They got to Earth by mistake and humans decide they must be put in camps where they are housed and fed and work in a recycling program.

Sarah is a young woman who gets what she thinks is going to be an awesome job as a caseworker for the aliens to help work toward integration… when the aliens can be moved slowly into society.

When she gets there however, she discovers she has been lied to and the aliens live in squalor, picking through trash, with no showers or toilets, they are fed mystery meat in unlabeled cans, and “disappear” all the time never to be seen again. They have no rights and are prisoners.

Sarah slowly builds a friendship with a father and his son and a couple other members of Cottonwood. There are two mega villains: one runs the camps around the world and the other is his henchman. And that is the premise of Cottonwood.

What an amazing book. This was so much more than a “romance.” The author did such a great job bringing all the characters to life and making you feel deep emotion for everyone! Sarah was fantastic as the protagonist. She was brave and selfless. She helped the “bugs” even though she knew she could get in serious trouble – because it was the right thing to do. She wasn’t “badass” as far as being able to kick butt, but she was definitely badass as an amazing human being.

I especially loved the little boy, T’aki. He was so cute and sweet and his interactions with his dad, Sanford, and Sarah were touching. Sanford wasn’t an “alpha,” but he was strong and a good man. The romance doesn’t even really come in until around 60 or 70%? But the descriptions of the sex were well done, realistic. This isn’t smut and there are no raunchy scenes. It’s not sexy, but it is kind of fascinating and I totally shipped Sarah and Sanford.

There was another supporting character named Samaritan, who is like the Crazy Uncle who don’t want anyone to meet, but when the shit hits the fan, he’s got your back. He was a total asshole, but also pretty freaking incredible when the moment called for it… and then he’d go back to being an asshole again.

The “bugs” in this have a “clicking” type language and they “share breath” as part of intimacy. Their feelers can “taste” the air and smells. The author (again) did a great job explaining the aliens and made them really come alive.

Even though these aliens aren’t preying mantis-looking, I think fans of Vel from Ann Aguirre’s Sirantha Jax series would like this. I would call it more sci-fi adventure/drama with romantic elements.

This book made me cry, had me on the edge of my seat at times, smiling, frowning, and I appreciated that all the drama felt organic and not contrived whatsoever.

This is my favorite R. Lee Smith book. I’ve read 3 of hers now and I am hooked.

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Review also found at: Goodreads

Original post:

ERMAGHERD. All the stars! I loved this so much.What a fantastic story. Sci-fi adventure with an amazing love story, awesome supporting characters, villains you want to die a horrible slow painful death, amazing heroine, sweet and kind hero who happens to be an insectoid alien. GAH. All the feels.

This is not really a romance, but it has a slow-build love story at its heart. I think sci-fi and fantasy fans would like this. The writing is easy to get into and it was just paced well and an instant favorite!!

YOU NEED TO READ THIS!

“Dark Matter” by Blake Crouch

Spoiler-free review. This book isn’t even released until August, so I won’t go into too much detail. Besides, it’s best to go into a Blake Crouch book knowing nothing. When you’re finished, you may still know nothing, but you’ll know more of nothing that you started out knowing.

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I’m joking. This book isn’t confusing. It’s pretty fascinating, actually, and very different than the Wayward Pines trilogy (which I admit, I did enjoy more than this). This is sci-fi thriller where Pines was more sci-fi dystopian with a strong dose of weirdness. This one doesn’t have that quirky Twin Peaks vibe. But that’s okay! Blake Crouch has become one of my favorite authors. If he writes it, I’ll read it!

You can read the synopsis for a general idea of the plot setup. But this is more than just a sci-fi action thriller. It’s also a love story. I won’t go into that since the book hasn’t been released yet, but I highly recommend checking this one out. It also sort of reminded me of the awesome (but highly underrated) TV show Fringe.

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I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley and publisher to read and review! THANK YOU!!!

My Favorite Smut Authors

Since I started writing silly smut, I started reading more of it! There are a couple authors that have become my favorites. The first is Ruby Dixon. She writes the Ice Planet Barbarian series. Ruby Dixon is the secret pen name of a NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author. Here is her Facebook page. I have no idea who she “really” is, but she writes AMAZING alien smutty romance! There are five books so far in the series, plus one shorter story, and a sixth is due out sometime this year.

The plot revolves around a group of young women who are stranded on a frigid winter planet they dub Not-Hoth after the space ship they were on (due to being abducted by evil space men) crashes. They are discovered by huge, blue aliens with horns called the sa-khui. They are warriors who happen to be gorgeous and well-hung and they are just dying to be mated and have little alien hybrid babies with these women!

In order to survive on the planet, you have to take a symbiont called a khui which lives in your heart and helps you withstand the temperature and poisonous atmosphere. The women call it a “cootie” and it can cure diseases and help you stay healthy too. I want a cootie!! I suppose the most important thing the cootie does is purr, or resonate, once a person meets his or her fated match. Awww.

The books all focus on a different couple and how they come to be mates. It’s over-the-top alien romance at its best! Lots of raunchy, sexy times, sometimes there’s instalove, sometimes it takes a little longer for the couple to come together. But these books are pretty short and things are never drawn out too much. I highly recommend! These blue aliens are HAWT.

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Ruby Dixon also has a fun bear shifter series called Bear Bites that is not quite as spectacular, but it’s still silly smutty goodness.

My second favorite smutty author right now is Alexa Riley. This is a team of two friends who write over-the-top smut (my favorite kind) with lots of instalove and juiciness included. I’ve only read the Breeding series (yes, there is such a thing as breeder smut), but I will definitely be reading more – and soon! My favorite was Coach, the first one.

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DAT COVER. Each book is about a man meeting a young woman (who is a virgin, of course) and instantly loving her to the point of obsession. He just wants to yep, breed her, and make her his forever! You can’t get any sillier and over-the-top than this and I love it! haha

Alexa Riley books are pretty short and get right to the point, which I greatly appreciate when reading smut. Plot is allowed to be flimsy, let’s get down to business!

For whatever reason, both of these authors’ writing style just clicks with me and I LURV their stuff. I don’t mind tropes or stereotypes in smut a fraction as much as I do in “real” books. haha

I admit it, my expectations are lower, but that’s okay, and these ladies are up-front about what they write about, no deep meanings or slow-build romances. I can appreciate that when it comes to this type of read. 🙂

 

 

 

“The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy, #1)” by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review also found at: Goodreads

I have no idea how to classify this. It’s YA, but not fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian, steampunk, paranormal, or any of that. If anything, it’s like an alternate history. The people ride horses and carriages and have to send “letters” by hand to relay messages. They have ships and cannons and archers and knives. So it takes place in some generic past, I think? The females wear dresses sort of like the Regency period, I guess? They have balls and fancy picnics and stuff.

The main character in this is a 17 year old girl born in privilege, the daughter of a famous general and warrior. The main male lead belongs to the “slave class.” One imperialistic people had invaded a more peaceful and artistic country and taken its citizens as slaves.

A lot of the book is about high society, politics, intrigue, and a rigid government based on war and the expansion of an empire. Kestral, the female, spends a lot of her time stressing out because she doesn’t want to join the military or fight. She’s not physically strong or able to learn to be. She’d rather be playing the piano.

She buys a slave on a whim, it seems, and he ends up becoming much more than a “slave.” She’s got a couple of rich friends, one to serve as the role of the superficial, yet loyal BFF, and one to serve as part of a love triangle. I actually liked Ronan a lot and he seemed to really like Kestral.

This was a “star-crossed” lovers kind of romance. The “society will never accept us” thing, which, I actually love. The romance (and even the love triangle) wasn’t annoying. What made this a 3-star book instead of a 4-star one is Kestral. I found her kind of annoying.

She was always fainting, it seemed like. I don’t require that every female heroine has to be a bad-ass, but she seemed overly weak to me. And not just weak, but devious and vindictive too. In one part, she was rude to a slave for no reason, just because she was frustrated. It also seemed like she had no backbone. She just goes along with a lot of things and acts brainwashed about her country. I guess I get it because her father has drilled the military into her since birth.

She freed a slave (her nurse who was like a second mom to her) and I guess that is supposed to make her sympathetic, but when the shit hit the fan, she didn’t follow through and did what a good citizen would do.

She also had two males of worth in love with her and acts like she likes them both at certain times, but rejects them both.

The ending was irritating too. Of course, it sets up the next book (including another love interest, sigh). I think fans of Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy would like this. It kind of reminds me of that. That was a trilogy that annoyed me. I was the one with the unpopular opinion on that one.

Overall, this was a very quick read, uncomplicated…there’s nothing really original about it, yet it was engaging enough. I think I liked all the other characters more than Kestral. Maybe she has growth as the books continue. I might read the next one, but I’m not in any hurry to at the moment.

Original post:

Wow, so many of my friends have read this. Eh, may as well add it to the pile.

Buddy read with the Saucy Wenches in January 2016.

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“Uprooted” by Naomi Novik

UprootedUprooted by Naomi Novik
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review also found at: Goodreads

I’ve been thinking for days now how to review this book when almost everyone has. It seems like almost everyone likes/loves it, while a few didn’t (or didn’t like the second half). When I started it, I wasn’t sure, but before I knew it, I was completely wrapped up in the story and characters. By the end, I had cried, my feels broke, and I was blown away by the imagination of the author and the story she had created. So I guess I’ll just ramble on about a few things.

Even though this book had the trope of “ancient powerful male falls for very young inexperienced woman,” it worked. There was romance, but the story did not revolve around it and it was actually a fairly minor part overall. The girl’s life did not revolve around the male character’s loving her and she was fine with or without it. She had her own things going on and was not a love-sick puppy.

There is a sort of mega alpha jerk in this, but it worked for me. We got to understand why the Dragon was the way he was. He was annoying sometimes and a bit too much “prickly” and cantankerous, but I grew to really love him. Even though he wasn’t really a dragon and that was just his wizard name.

The magic in this book is awesome. There’s spells, chants, illusions, and even magic that can literally shape and change reality. There are fantastical creatures – chimeras and forest monsters. The forest is like a dark spirit that can possess people when they go into it and make them do evil things.

Part of the book takes place at the royal castle and there are politics and intrigue. The end has a more other-worldly, mystical vibe. It really feels like a fairytale laced with mythology.

One of the things I came to truly love was the main character, Agnieszka. She was so kind and giving and had joy in her heart and soul. Her loyalty to Kasia was a foundation of the story. I love how strong she was and how content to just roam around the land and be grounded and use her magic to help the villagers in the valley. She had no interest in being a fancy, rich wizard.

I could go on and on with how much I was unexpectedly swept up by this. I think it will become a favorite for me for years to come and I can imagine re-reading it several times. I am not classifying this as Young Adult because it doesn’t seem like it to me. It just has a 17 year old as the main character. But I highly recommend!

Original post:

OMG you guys. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE.

RTC.

Buddy read with Buddies Books and Baubles starting January 8, 2016.

Okay, I have to see what all the fuss is about with this book. Everyone in the world seems to have read it but me. Some people adored it, others only liked the first half? I’m curious what I will think. I hope I like it!

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“The Sisters Brothers” by Patrick deWitt

The Sisters BrothersThe Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The setting for this book is during the time of the Gold Rush in California. Most people are dirt poor and lots of them headed west to try and make their fortune, but ended up starving to death, getting murdered, or died by some other sickness or disease. Everyone smelled and brushing your teeth was only on the fringe of becoming trendy. You had one outfit you wore until it fell apart. Horse meat and pork fat was pretty much the main staples of your diet. Doctors gave out bottles of morphine for “brandy sickness.” You get the picture.

Charlie and Eli Sisters are famous outlaws, known for killing. People fear them. They work for some bad-ass named the Commodore. When he got mad at someone, he sent the Sisters Brothers to “get rid of them.” In this one, the Commodore wants Charlie and Eli to kill someone named Hermann Warm because he created a liquid substance that, when poured into water, illuminated the gold in rivers, and the Commodore wanted it for himself.

The thing about Charlie and Eli is that you wondered how they made it so far and for so long. This was what Charlie (the older brother) was usually doing:

He didn’t seem very smart, but he was still deadly and every once in awhile, he’d surprise you. Eli, the younger brother, was the more sensitive and poignant one. Yet he was usually very apathetic and just went along with what Charlie did.

There are a lot of funny lines and situations in this story. Some crazy over-the-top stuff happens. But it’s also kind of a meandering story. It’s a western comedy road trip by horse adventure. But there are serious moments as well. I kind of expected an ending with more action. But it was still satisfying.

I loved Eli’s horse, Tub. Man, that horse went through a lot.

Charlie and Eli have a complicated relationship. They’re bound together by family and also just because they don’t really know anything else. Sometimes they hurt each other, but they are also loyal. It’s dysfunctional, but it changes as the story progresses.

Overall, I really liked this. It was an easy read and not something I’d normally pick. It was a good “palate cleanser” or good in-between book. I definitely recommend it!

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“Wrath and Bones” (Marnie Baranuik #4) by A.J. Aalto

Wrath and Bones (The Marnie Baranuik Files Book 4)Wrath and Bones by A.J. Aalto
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review also found at: https://theparanormalpaladin.wordpres…

This was my first completed book of 2016. Yay me! And it was a really good one!
I think Wrath and Bones is my favorite since Touched. To be honest, the love triangle and Marnie’s obnoxiousness kind of ruined Death Rejoices for me, but maybe I wasn’t in the mood. I liked Last Impressions better, but this really seemed like inspired story-telling.

From the first page, I was drawn in the story, and there seemed to be very little setup before you were thrust into the action. A LOT of things happen in this book. One reason I may have liked it more is just that I love me some vampires/revenants and the whole premise surrounded them. The Houses are summoned to replace the King, who has gone mad and can’t do his job anymore.

Asmodeus, who was a total jerk, had Marnie go off with Declan (the Irishman returns and I was glad to see him) and Batten on a quest to retrieve three objects. Marnie also has to prevent Trollpocalypse. She gets to meet other Daysitters, most of whom seem like shitty people.

The world-building here is top-notch, in my view. I was fascinated by the orcs, trolls, spriggans, werefox, and mellified mummy man? Awesome stuff. The scene towards the end where they battle the trolls with the help of a massive Baltic sea wyrm was fantastic!

Also, this one had some of the best “nonsense” words that Marnie makes up and uses as swear words. So funny. Snatchgoblin, “donked in the wabbles,” twatdribble… lots of funny in this one.

No sexy Harry times, but I guess I can forgive that. TEAM HARRY forever! LOL

All in all, I think this is the best story since book one. I thought the author was really on her game with this one. Fantastic.

Review also found at Goodreads.

“The Multiversity” by Grant Morrison

The MultiversityThe Multiversity by Grant Morrison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a digital copy of this from Netgalley and DC to read and review. However, I didn’t get to it in time and lost access to the file. I wanted to read it bad enough to buy a copy from Amazon, and I’m glad I did. This is something I will read again in the future and the illustrations are fantastic.

Review also found at:
https://theparanormalpaladin.wordpres…

This was a confusing and sometimes baffling read, which I guess is pretty typical for a Morrison story. 🙂 This one has 52 Earths existing side by side with all different kinds of superheroes living in them. A cursed comic has been planted in each one, which (somehow?) has the potential to destroy the worlds unless the heroes can prevent it. It’s another “crisis event” thing with a villain called the Gentry and another villain called Sivana (?) that has multiple versions in each world, also trying to bring destruction and chaos to the worlds.

While epic, it was hard to follow at times, and I don’t think the finale was very satisfying. The illustrations were amazing, so I’m adding a star.

I love Grant Morrison. If you’re a fan, you will probably like this. In my view, it’s not his best. Apparently, there’s another theory that it’s about over-analyzing comics and one character represents the reader and others the bloggers and critics? I could just be too dumb to see that deep into it, but I never suspected anything like that. Maybe that ties into all the warnings to “not read further” and “don’t turn the page, reader” and breaking the 4th wall?

Overall, it was interesting and weird and pretty typical Morrison. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I did love the illustrations though.

Original review:I took a few pics before starting…

On Netgalley: 8 SEPTEMBER 2015!

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Krampus: The Yule Lord by Brom

Krampus: The Yule LordKrampus: The Yule Lord by Brom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


“Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas!”

We’ve all been taught that Santa and Mrs. Claus look a little something like this:

We’ve all been taught wrong. This is Santa:

And his wife:

Santa is really Baldr, an ancient Norse god and son of Odin. He was known for being all peace, love, and light, but was that the real story or was Baldr a great deceiver?

In this story, after Baldr dies in ancient times, he is reborn as Santa Claus. He takes over Yule and changes the holiday. Well, someone is not very happy about THAT.

Meet Krampus. Our villain, I mean hero, or is it anti-hero? Who knows, who cares. He’s awesome.

Krampus has been imprisoned by Santa/Baldr for 500 years and has just gotten his freedom back, only to discover no one celebrates Yule anymore. No candy in shoes? No tributes? And where’s his bag? Oh yeah, SANTA STOLE IT! The battle to bring back Yule is on. You’re toast, Santa!

Here’s Isabel and Jesse.

They are part of Krampus’s Belsnickels. If Krampus bites you, you become a little bit demon. Your skin gets black spots and you grow claws, have heightened senses, live a really long time, the cold doesn’t bother you, you don’t need to eat as much, etc. But you have to obey his commands. So you’re basically a slave, but hey, things could always be worse!

When we meet Jesse, he has lost his wife and daughter and is pretty much a loser. He can’t keep a job, his truck barely works, and everyone hates him. He gets stuck doing jobs for The General, who runs the meth in town. And the police chief named Dillard wants him dead (and is sleeping with his estranged wife). He meets Krampus and ends up turning his life around. This is even a tale about FRIENDSHIP, people!

It’s got a little bit of everything – horror and gore, comedy, mythology, fantasy… I love how the author wove ancient myths and paganism into the story. Flying yule goats instead of flying reindeer…Krampus is Loki’s grandson…Yule was celebrated before Christmas existed and was about celebrating the winter solstice and the rebirth of the sun and was also connected to Odin and The Wild Hunt. It was about drinking, dancing, sex and partying!

It’s really fascinating. The only reason I am not giving this 5 stars is because there was a little bit of issues with pacing at times. But overall, this was loads of fun and a perfect (for me) Christmas story.

The author, Brom, drew the pictures I posted above. He is amazing!!! So talented.

Original review:

Loved it! What a great Christmas, er, I mean, Yuletide book! I’ll post a review tomorrow, but I think I have found a new favorite author and I LOVED how he worked in ancient paganism and Viking/Norse gods and myths. It’s got crazy hill-billy meth gangs, a Santa who looks like Odin, and Loki’s grandson who looks like a demon with horns. Fun fun fun. Good for both horror and fantasy fans. Highly recommended!

Still $1.99 on Amazon Kindle: 17 DEC 2015.

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