Review: Circle of the Moon by Faith Hunter

Reviewed by Jen

Faith Hunter is such a master craftsman of urban fantasy. All of her books in her Jane Yellowrock/Soulwood world are just so dense and layered… in plot, in backstory, and in the characters. The Soulwood books are the spinoffs and if you have not read Dark Queen, the latest Yellowrock book, be prepared for some spoilers because there is some overlap.

Nell, our heroine, has grown so much over the course of this series. She started off as this— I don’t want to say backward, but off-grid woman who has never known I truly modern life. She grew up as part of a polygamist cult and lives in the middle of the woods in a house off the power and water lines. But while she may never truly be free of her upbringing and the impact of its effects, she has now embraced a lot of the modern world in her job as a probationary Psy-Led agent. Not only that, she is bringing her sister, Mud, along with her. Nell is working towards adopting the 12-year-old, but has to make a few more changes to her lifestyle in order for that to happen.

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Review: The Ultimate Pi Day Party by Jackie Lau

Reviewed by Olive

The Ultimate Pi Day Party is the first book in Jackie Lau’s new Baldwin Village series, set in the eponymous foodie artistic neighbourhood of Toronto. The story follows Josh, a tech CEO with massive daddy issues, as he falls for Sarah, the owner of a local pie shop. After testing the delicious sweet and savoury concoctions dreamt up by Sarah, he concocts a scheme to throw the ultimate Pi Day party and win his way back into his father’s notice (Josh’s estranged dad is a retired math teacher). Turns out, Sarah is just as irresistible as her pie and romance ensues.

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Review: Storm the Castle by Jolie Vines

Reviewed by Jen

I’m so incredibly proud and excited for Jolie Vines as her first book goes out into the world. As a romance lover, I’ve read tons of books with a Highland hero, but interestingly, almost all of them were historical or involved time travel. This is my first contemporary Highlander and Callum gave me everything I wanted.

As the story begins, Mathilda is contemplating marriage to her father’s business partner. Not because she loves him—she barely knows the man. But she desperately wants to build a home where she can invite her sister to come live, and her father would only allow it if she were married and could provide a stable environment. Her younger sister has a terrible home-life with her parents and Mathilda feels she is the only one who can save her. The would-be fiancé needs her as much as she needs him, to help him with some personal PR.

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Review: American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera

Reviewed by Olive

American Dreamer is the debut romance from Adrianna Herrera and follows Nesto Vasquez as he tries to transform his dream from one more struggling but up-and-coming NYC food truck into a successful business Upstate. On arrival, he meets Jude Fuller, a sexy librarian with some dreams of his own, and the proverbial spanner is thrown into the works.

I’m gonna get the not-so-good out of the way first so that I can gush unrestrained about this. There are some editing issues, especially around how the timeline is managed, and the dual-first-person POV is a bit jarring initially as though the author is working a little too hard to differentiate them and not just letting their personalities shine though. That’s really it though.

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Review: An Unconditional Freedom by Alyssa Cole

Reviewed by Jen

Wow. What an engrossing and powerful book. This is the third installment in Alyssa Cole’s Loyal League series, but the first for me. And it holds up completely as a standalone.

If you’ve read even a handful of my reviews, you know I am a sucker for a tortured hero, and my gosh, Daniel Cumberland is certainly tortured. He was a black man born free who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. He spent months being subjugated and abused, until the day he was rescued and delivered to the Loyal League. Their mission: to help take down the Confederacy. Daniel joins their cause, but he does it more for vengeance then altruism.

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Review: The Scoundrel in Her Bed by Lorraine Heath

Reviewed by Jen

This latest installment in Lorraine Heath’s Sins for All Seasons series was such a hit for me. It was full of angst and heartbreak and I could not help but root for this couple to reconcile, from the beginning of the book to the end.

This is a second chance at love story, centering on Finn Trewlove and Lady Lavinia Kent. Lavinia was the woman who was supposed to marry the hero of the last book, but ran away before they could tie the knot. She bailed because she saw Finn at his brother’s wedding, and it reminded her of how it felt to have a relationship based on love rather than duty.

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Review: Lost Souls by Chelsea Mueller

Reviewed by Jen

Another great ride in this third installment of the Soul Charmer series. If you are looking for a gritty new Urban Fantasy series, I heartily recommend you give this one a try. (But don’t start here…make sure you pick up Borrowed Souls first.)

This book picks up where the last one left off, with Callie desperately searching for Nate who has kidnapped her mother. The mission is especially pressing since the guy cut off some of her mom’s fingers and sent them as a warning. Callie needs to return the soul she ripped out of him or her mother will pay the price.

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Review: Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long

Reviewed by Jen

I haven’t read a historical romance from Julie Anne Long since the conclusion of her Pennyroyal Green series. And I’d almost forgotten just how much I enjoy her books. Though this story didn’t have the laugh out loud moments I associated with the other series, the romance was just as good and the black moment/reconciliation hit me right in the feels.

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Review: Any Old Diamonds by KJ Charles

Reviewed by Olive

Any Old Diamonds is the newest release from KJ Charles and tells the story of Alec, the estranged – and angsty about it – son of the Duke of Ilvar, and Jerry, one of the jewel thieves he hires to further his revenge plot against his father. Alec dangles the lure of an entrée into the famously remote and challenging Castle Speight (aka Castle Spite), as well as the Duke’s newly commissioned diamond parure, in the hopes of enticing Jerry and his partner to accept the caper. The blurb promises “betrayals, secrets, new loves, and old evils come to light” and it definitely delivers!

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Review: Stray Moon by Kelly Meding

Reviewed by Jen

If you’ve followed my reviews for a while, you know I am a fan of Kelly Meding. In fact, I finally sat down and read the 2013 Carniepunk anthology recently just to read the short story that sparked this series. And overall, I liked this book. But someone needs to sit down and have a chat with the editor.

No one should have given the green light for this much repetition. I mean, yes, it’s very important that Shiloh has forgotten Jaxon. In book one, I remember being so perplexed about who the love interest in this series would be. And then, at the very end, when she agreed to lose her memories of the person she loved most… boom! Jaxon appeared to be the guy. Add to that, I understand that coming to terms with her feelings despite the missing memories was the big emotional arc here. But for the love of Pete, this must have been reiterated at least once per page. If I didn’t already have a history with this author and an investment in the characters, I would have put the book down. I almost did anyway. And that’s a shame because, otherwise, it was a good book.

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