Saturday, June 23, 2018

A Mate for Matrix by S.E. Smith [Review]

 A Mate for Matrix by S.E. Smith
A Mate for Matrix (Zion Warriors #0.5) by S.E. Smith
Format: ebook
Source: purchased as part of the Pets in Space anthology
Date read: February 13, 2017

Zion Warriors
0.5. A Mate for Matrix - Kindle
1. Gracie's Touch
2. Krak's Firebrand
3. Roarrk's Revenge

S.E. Smith
| Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon |

Synopsis (Goodreads):
Matrix Roma is a member of the elite Zion military Cyborg Protection Unit. Matrix gets more than he bargains for when his cyborg partner, a hybrid Wolfhound named K-Nine, goes missing and ends up finding a mate for Matrix in the middle of a deadly mission on an unknown planet called Earth.
Thoughts on A Mate for Matrix: Okay. I liked this story, but the execution was a little sloppy. Like, things happened and I had to backtrack to see why or how it had. Which...I guess it didn't bother me all that much, but I noticed it. (If I'm remembering correctly, I think I had the same issue with another book by this author. Again, it wasn't enough to make me stop reading, but it was distracting.)

So. Matrix and K-Nine are sent to Earth to track down a creeping crawling bug-thing determined to make the planet its breeding ground. An accident puts K-Nine in Jana's gentle hands while Matrix searches for him. CUE SPARKS AND LINGERING LOOKS.

And kittens. Kittens play a pivotal role.

I did enjoy the story and I'm curious if the things hinted at by Matrix's mother are resolved in later books. Honestly, I think I liked K-Nine and his patience with the kittens the most.

Cabin Fever by Alisha Rai [Review]

 Cabin Fever by Alisha Rai
Cabin Fever by Alisha Rai
Format: ebook
Source: purchased
Date read: August 3, 2017

Alisha Rai
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon | Kindle |

Synopsis (Goodreads):
Love isn’t something she thinks she needs…until it lands right on her doorstep.

Genevieve Boden is a witch and doesn’t care who knows. The townspeople’s fear of her keeps away those who have hurt her before—like the local men of authority. Besides, a life of exile deep in the woods of West Virginia is due punishment, she figures, for the part she played in her mother’s death. If she’s alone, no one need know that the trauma took away her powers.

Then she finds a bloody, fatally wounded man slumped on her porch. In an instant, her healing ability reawakens—and that’s not all. He stirs a hunger beyond her wildest dreams. But a relationship with the new chief of police? Not a chance.

Alex Rivera isn’t sure how he survived, but he’s certain his beautiful savior did more than just bandage his wounds. Captivated by this wary angel and stunned by the depth of emotion he feels for her, he vows to discover her secrets. After all, thanks to the raging snowstorm, they have nothing to do but share body heat.
Their sizzling attraction goes straight to their hearts. So could a killer’s bullet…once whoever shot Alex finds them.

Warning: Contains a convenient snowstorm that throws together two wounded characters who happen to be wildly attracted to each other, a drool-worthy hero, a shotgun-toting heroine, mattress sex, shower sex, couch sex, armchair sex, some light bondage, and a really good cup of hot cocoa.
Thoughts on Cabin Fever: I'm a big BIG fan of the "stranded in a cabin in the woods during a snowstorm and, darn it, we might just have to cuddle up together to share body heat" scenario. I know that might sound like a REALLY SPECIFIC scenario to drool over, but I also have a thing for amnesiac vampires and that's even MORE specific, so just roll with this one, okay?

Cabin in the woods (not in a creepy way). Snow. Injured man. A witch. I WAS INTRIGUED. Genevieve is doing the penance thing as she struggles to come to grips with her mother's death and Alex is...kinda in the wrong place at the wrong time, but also not really. There are layers here. THINGS to be uncovered. THINGS.

As for me, I got my snowy cabin in the woods and some shared body heat. *slow thumbs up*

Loaded by Teagan Kade [Review]

 Loaded by Teagan Kade
Loaded by Teagan Kade
Format: ebook
Source: purchased
Date read: December 29, 2016

Teagan Kade
| WebsiteFacebook | Amazon | Kindle |

Synopsis (Goodreads):
He’s got the biggest bat on campus… and he knows how to use it.

Asher Slade, AKA ‘Slugger’.

Hellcats captain, shameless womanizer, and grade A as*hole.

I can’t stand his kind, so imagine my joy when I’m tasked with babysitting Sir C*ck-A-Lot during his college-imposed community service.

He thinks I’m easy, that I’m going to fall to my knees the same way his opponents do.
But he’s wrong.

I have dreams. I’m going places. The last thing I need is a walking hard-on getting in my way.

Problem is, I’m already picturing him… between my sheets, my legs, his dirty mouth doing dirty things.

I should be running a mile, so why can’t I stop thinking about those coral eyes and cut body?

I’m not going to fall for him.

Promise.

So why does it feel like my bases are already loaded?
Thoughts on Loaded: In the interest of complete disclosure, I totally bought this book because of the cover. Totally. While the cover's hot, the relationship between Asher and Willow took a long time for me to get into. Mostly because Asher was a jerk when he was in his full-on bad-boy persona. A JERK. His casual disregard for women and the way he treats Willow when he first meets her left me cold.

To be fair, Willow wasn't much better. She ran hot and cold and was so obsessed with how well-endowed Asher was it was off putting.

Then you find out that both of them have *layers* they're keeping hidden from everyone around them and ...ehh. Wild child becomes a nerd and nerd becomes so sexy-hot he can't figure out how to get back to being him. Fun in theory, but it left me wondering when the other shoe was going to drop.

While it wasn't a terrible story by any means, the characterization felt uneven and Asher's way of dealing with his ex wasn't my cup of tea. Course, the ex was kinda crazy, so she did need the equivalent of a bat to the head to understand he didn't want to be with her anymore, BUT STILL.

Uneven characters, but the cover's still hot.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Guarded Desire by Christi Snow [Review]

 Guarded Desire by Christi Snow
Guarded Desire (NM Protectors #1) by Christi Snow
Format: ebook
Source: provided by the author for review
Date read: June 3, 2018

NM Protector
1. Guarded Desire - Paperback | Kindle
2. Photo Op Serendipity

Christi Snow
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon |

Synopsis (Goodreads):
Kidnapped and terrorized, I refuse to let anyone break me. I can stand on my own, no matter what it costs...even if that cost is my life.

Elle...
I was living the life of an ordinary college coed, but that existence was blown wide open when I was kidnapped while visiting my very famous mother, rock-star, ViviAnna.

Now I’m back at college, pretending life is normal while dodging paparazzi and dealing with my face showing up regularly on the nightly news. Trying to find a new balance isn’t happening and the effort to not jump at every shadow or bump in the night is messing with my head more than I ever expected.

Jonah...
I’m a highly trained bodyguard, but that doesn’t mean I want to deal with some spoiled pop princess’s daughter, especially if she’s anything like her handsy mother.

But when I met Elle, she shocked the hell out of me. She’s nice and thoughtful with an incredible inner strength. Even more surprising...she doesn’t want me anywhere near her. But every once in a while I see a flash of fear and vulnerability that make all my protective instincts flare.

I have to protect her.

Because they never caught her kidnapper...
Thoughts on Guarded Desire: A new series by an author I admire the blazes out out. YAY! Straddling the line between the worlds of glitz and glamour and a regular college existence, Elle is trying to find her feet again after her kidnapping. Jonah is an unwelcome interloper she thinks the worst of when he first arrives and it takes time for Elle to lower her shields and see him for who he really is.

Which is to say, a competent man who isn't caught up in her mother's world and who will protect her with everything inside him if it comes down to it.

And that's before they steam up the sheets. Which means Jonah is even more invested in keeping Elle safe after. Also, those sheets are steeeeeamy. Lots of heat and sparks and all sorts of other fun things.

Again, though, it takes time to get there. Because Elle is REALLY locked down. Besides the kidnapping, she also has a lifetime of drama from her mother to work through. Her shields are thick and she's stubborn. Until she isn't.

Fun and sexy with a touch of danger to keep Elle and Jonah on their toes. And us. I was on my toes. Or I'm sure I would have been if I'd been reading standing up. Which is not the point. Elle and Jonah are. Elle and Jonah and the new protection agency Jonah is sort of forced into. Because rock-star divas always get what they want, right?

I'm looking forward to the next adventure of this fledgling agency.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Deadly Games by Lindsay Buroker [Review]

 Deadly Games by Lindsay Buroker
Deadly Games (The Emperor's Edge #3) by Lindsay Buroker
Format: ebook
Source: purchased
Date read: August 17, 2017

The Emperor's Edge
0.5. Shadows Over Innocence
1. The Emperor's Edge
1.5. Ice Cracker II
2. Dark Currents
2.5. The Assassin's Curse
3. Deadly GamesPaperback | Kindle
4. Conspiracy
5. Blood and Betrayal
5.5. Beneath the Surface
6. Forged in Blood I
7. Forged in Blood II
7.5. Solstice Day Gifts
8. Republic
9. Diplomats and Figutives

Lindsay Buroker
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon |

Synopsis (Goodreads):
When you’ve been accused of kidnapping an emperor, and every enforcer in the city wants your head, it’s hard to prove yourself an honorable person and even harder to earn an imperial pardon.

That doesn’t keep Amaranthe Lokdon and her team of outlaws from trying. When athletes start disappearing from the Imperial Games, they may finally have an opportunity to show the emperor that they’re on his side. If she and her comrades can get to the bottom of such a public mystery, they’re sure to get the credit.

But plans go awry when Amaranthe’s own men start plotting against each other, the new ally she’d hoped to acquire tries to turn her in, and her best fighter—and closest friend—disappears.

Maybe getting involved wasn’t such a good idea after all…
Thoughts on Deadly Games: Hoo-boy. Things are heating up for Amaranthe and her crew in more ways than one. There's the usual dodging of the soldiers and enforcers, plus...actually, most of the danger they end up in is because Amaranthe is unable to let injustices lie. If she sees something, she does something. Usually to the detriment of her herself.

Seriously, the woman is fantastically good at finding dangerous situations and throwing herself straight into the fire as she attempts to fight wrongs. You have to think that *eventually* the emperor will hear of some of their good deeds. Eventually.

Until that happens, though, they have to keep doing what they're doing. This time, Amaranthe takes a job trying to figure out who's abducting athletes from the Games. To keep things interesting, Maldynado tries to set her up with one of her old buddies to help her relax. Sicarius gets tense. I think. He's sort of stoic and unreadable. But he does telegraph that he's not thrilled about Amaranthe's dates. (Weirdly, the fact they mostly end badly has nothing to do with him for once.)

The threats against the Empire are still hanging around. The various members of the crew are working through a few issues. Amaranthe and Sicarius are getting closer.

Yessssss.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Assassin's Curse by Lindsay Buroker [Review]

 The Assassin's Curse by Lindsay Buroker
The Assassin's Curse (The Emperor's Edge #2.5) by Lindsay Buroker
Format: ebook
Source: purchased
Date read: August 17, 2017

The Emperor's Edge
0.5. Shadows Over Innocence
1. The Emperor's Edge
1.5. Ice Cracker II
2. Dark Currents
2.5. The Assassin's Curse Kindle
3. Deadly Games
4. Conspiracy
5. Blood and Betrayal
5.5. Beneath the Surface
6. Forged in Blood I
7. Forged in Blood II
7.5. Solstice Day Gifts
8. Republic
9. Diplomats and Figutives

Lindsay Buroker
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon |

Synopsis (Goodreads):
When outlaws Amaranthe and Sicarius chance upon spies stealing military prototypes, they immediately give chase. Well, immediately after Amaranthe talks Sicarius, former assassin and all-around non-altruistic type, into the mission. She wants an imperial pardon, and what better way to attract the emperor’s favor than by looking after the empire’s interests?

What seems like a straightforward mission develops a hitch when the spies flee to Darkcrest Isle, a forbidding chunk of land reputed to be haunted. Amaranthe isn’t quick to believe in tales of malevolent spirits, so she’s startled when the ever-pragmatic and unflappable Sicarius shows reluctance at setting foot on the island. Only when it may be too late to escape does Amaranthe come to understand why.
Thoughts on The Assassin's Curse: Eep. I'm not sure seeing a Sicarius who isn't entirely in control is a good thing. The guy might be a non-emotional, utterly dedicated machine under normal circumstances (something I'm sure drives his comrades crazy when they're not quaking in fear around him), but not-Sicarius is kinda scary. Mostly because he's so insanely deadly.

Amaranthe is a brave woman to trust Sicarius as much as she does. But then, that's part of her charm. She believes in people and they rise up to her expectations. Even a deadly assassin whose first reaction is to kill whoever's in front of him just so they can't report anything they might know about him.

Hey, no one ever said the path to clearing one's name and finding their special someone in the form of a man who kills for a living would be easy, right?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Dark Currents by Lindsay Buroker [Review]

 Dark Currents by Lindsay Buroker
Dark Currents (The Emperor's Edge #2) by Lindsay Buroker
Format: ebook
Source: purchased
Date read: August 16, 2017

The Emperor's Edge
0.5. Shadows Over Innocence
1. The Emperor's Edge
1.5. Ice Cracker II
2. Dark CurrentsPaperback | Kindle
2.5. The Assassin's Curse
3. Deadly Games
4. Conspiracy
5. Blood and Betrayal
5.5. Beneath the Surface
6. Forged in Blood I
7. Forged in Blood II
7.5. Solstice Day Gifts
8. Republic
9. Diplomats and Figutives

Lindsay Buroker
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon |

Synopsis (Goodreads):
It's been three months since former enforcer Amaranthe Lokdon and the notorious assassin Sicarius thwarted kidnappers and saved the emperor's life. The problem? Nobody knows they were responsible for this good deed. Worse, they're being blamed for the entire scheme. With enforcers and bounty hunters stalking them, and the emperor nursing a personal hatred for Sicarius, it's going to be hard to earn exoneration.

When Amaranthe's team discovers mutilated bodies in the city aqueducts and a mysterious illness incapacitates thousands of citizens, she and Sicarius see an opportunity to solve the mystery and prove their loyalty. But they'll have to defeat vengeful shamans, man-eating predators, and deadly mechanical constructs, all while dodging imperial soldiers who would rather kill them than accept their help.

Nobody said exoneration would be easy.
Thoughts on Dark Currents: Amaranthe isn't one to take the easy route and her determination to exonerate herself and the rest of her crew has them unearthing dead bodies with alarming frequency. Plus, they get into the weirdest situations where they end up doing battle against things that most people have never heard of. Also, she puts herself in the line of fire A LOT. I mean, it makes sense when she suggests it, but her plans tend to backfire in the weirdest ways. Except they don't really backfire at all.

As Sicarius said, Amaranthe has a way of making things that shouldn't work play out the way they need them to in the end.

Let's face it, coming from Sicarius, that's pretty high praise.

This time around, Amaranthe and crew have stumbled onto a...plot. Which is pretty much par for the course for them. But this plot is...Well, it's as dangerous and deadly as everything else they've involved themselves in.

How about this? There's danger. And mayhem. And a plan that could fall apart a million different ways, but doesn't quite. Or maybe it's that Amaranthe is quick to adjust her thinking when new developments present themselves. Either way, things go off the rails more than once and the crew has to pull together to engage in some thrilling heroics.

Oh, and there's all this simmering tension between our brilliant leader and a stoic assassin.

Simmering. I expect big things from them. Eventually. Sicarius has some issues he has to work through first, but they'll get there.