The Naughty Vixen

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Archive for the category “C Rating”

Howl by Brittney Dussault

“They say you have the power to see the truth, just by touching someone.  Go on, touch me.”

Howl-CoverTitle:  Howl

Author:  Brittney Dussault

Rate: C

After an archeology expedition gone wrong, Lis Santiago is assigned a desk job at The Library, an underground archive dedicated to the history and study of supernatural creatures. Run by humans, the joke about The Library is that it’s operated by people who know everything about magic… except how to use it. Lis is no exception, and after three years, she’s finally accepted her new, albeit lackluster, career. 
Then a request is made: Supernatural creatures in the area have gone missing, and the Alpha from the local werewolf pack wants a Librarian to aid in the investigation. But he doesn’t want just any Librarian, he wants Lis. Accepting means time away from her desk, but it also means having to be paired up with old partner Jonas Highet, who left her waiting for him in Italy five years ago. This isn’t the reunion she had in mind, but when the Alpha calls, it’s hard to say no.
Lis quickly wishes she had.
The Alpha already has a suspect, he just needs Lis to convict him… even if there’s no proof he’s guilty. But the Alpha’s sister thinks her brother’s scapegoat- a wolf named Mickey Kaiser- is innocent, and she wants Lis to prove it.
Caught between a pair of siblings known for their cunning ways, Lis is going to have to find out what’s so special about Mickey Kaiser, while simultaneously keeping Jonas from killing the man. And just when Lis starts dreaming about her desk job, the first body is found.
It’s unlike anything Lis has seen before.

Thoughts:  The premise behind this book is a good one –  I loved the sheer idea behind it.  Yet I found this book a continual source of frustration as it constantly left this feeling that you were missing something – I felt like I had jumped a few books into a series with a bunch of background history missing, allusions to character relationships and intimacies that I’d lost out on, and yet that was not the case since this is the first book in the series.  But that feeling lingered all throughout the book, and really tainted the whole experience for me.

Things like The Library – that I thought would play such a huge role – really didn’t feature as much as I thought they would in the scope the story, some things are brought up within the story and are just not mentioned again and you are left to wonder why they were even mentioned at all – and still other details  you left wondering why they aren’t explained in so much more depth as they were so pertinent to the story.  Just a lot of inconsistencies.   I also never really felt connected to the characters…you read the story, but never got fully enveloped within it.

I like – and still like – the idea of it more than the actual execution of it.

Excerpt:  “H-hi,” Lis said, because when in the presence of such delectable, smug attractiveness, she found it difficult to communicate like a normal, grown-ass woman. She figured everyone had their vices.

 Tall, dark, and handsome with an emphasis on the tall, dark, and handsome, the leather clad babe standing before her was good looking enough she could almost forget he was a werewolf detective. But while the wolves might call themselves detectives, she knew they only did one thing- hunt. She, like always, was not on the menu.

“I’m guessing you’re my partner?” she said when her brain started working again.  The man ran his eyes over her body in a way that made her both shiver and roll her eyes.

He scrunched his nose in distaste and she scoffed.

“The day I ask you for sartorial advice, Highet,” she snapped as she marched over to her bedroom, “is the day hell freezes over.”

“Better dress warm, then.”

Jonas Highet looked like sin, had a voice that was a temptation all on its own, and to top it all off, he knew it. In Lis’ experience, there was nothing more dangerous than an attractive man who knew he was attractive. Even more so, one who knew how to use his beauty to his advantage. It seemed to be a talent all werewolves possessed.

“I swear,” Lis muttered under her breath as she changed out of her pantsuit and into something a little more suitable to a night spent running after a werewolf who couldn’t deduce worth shit.

“Tick tock,” said Jonas. “The Alpha is expecting us.”

Lis sneered before grabbing her jacket from him, not having bothered to close the screen to her bedroom because Jonas had seen her naked enough times over the years and had only shown a level of interest that could be classified as clinical. Actually, no. Lis was pretty sure she’d seen doctors more attentive than the werewolf now following her out of her apartment.

“For the record,” Jonas said as he trailed after her, “I didn’t request to be your partner.”

Lis stopped halfway down a step and looked up at him.

“Good thing we got that out of the way.”

If she hadn’t known it already, his statement had confirmed it: It was going to be a long night.

 

 

 

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Dirty Deeds by Lorelei James

“Nah.  Let’s walk around.  See what screams ‘ride me’.”  Nathan clamped his teeth together against the urge to shout, Pick me! Pick me!

cover54425-mediumTitle:  Dirty Deeds

Author:  Lorelei James

Rate: C

When good, clean fun just isn’t an option.  Just once, good girl Tate Cross wants to experience a red-hot, no-strings-attached affair. She’s temporarily left her graphic artist position in Denver to settle her aunt’s estate in Spearfish, South Dakota, but the city won’t let her sell the property until the landscaping is up to snuff. The Native American landscape contractor her friend highly recommends looks like he can meet all her needs, in the flowerbed and out. Nathan LeBeau believes few women look at the Native American man beneath the filthy work clothes and hard hat. When Tate offers to trade art lessons for dirt work, the tempting subtext is as plain as the lettering on the side of Nathan’s truck. But in truth, he’s tired of relationships based solely on sex. His goal of proving he’s not completely hopeless in matters of the heart is second only to his dream of expanding his business.  It figures. Tate wants no-holds-barred sex right about the time the one-time Casanova wants a good old-fashioned romance. Bring on the battle of wills!  This book has been previously published.  Warning: A reformed bad boy who wants a taste of real love, and a good girl who wants just one taste of the wild side—and she’s willing to drive a hard bargain to get what she wants.

Thoughts:  With Lorelei James being the author – and a title like Dirty Deeds! – I really wanted to like this book, but it just didn’t come together for me in this instance.  It was just a bit unbelievable overall for me.  My major disconnect with the book though was the constant emphasis on the Nathan’s heritage and the fact that he is Native American – it just did not seem important to the story for me.  It almost seemed like the author couldn’t decide if she wanted to make discrimination into an integral part of the story or not, so instead it sort of just…wavered.  I found it disturbing to the storyline, and I know Lorelei James and her talent – she is capable of so much more with her writing!  These characters were just difficult to connect with, period.  Not one of Lorelei’s best works.

Ritual Magic by Eileen Wilks

Feelings are not always a guide to truth, and guilt is an indulgence you cannot afford. It clouds the mind.”

81VANeQxSxL._SL1500_Title:  Ritual Magic (World of the Lupi Book #10)

Author:  Eileen Wilks

Rate:  C

In Eileen Wilks’s new Novel of the Lupi, FBI agent Lily Yu is about to confront a power even darker than magic…On her 57th birthday, Lily’s mother suddenly loses all memory beyond the age of twelve. Lily knows her mother was attacked by something more than magic. More . . . and darker.
When Lily and Rule discover that others suffered the same, mysterious loss—at the same time on the same night—their investigation into the darkness begins. Joining them is someone Lily never thought she’d see again: Al Drummond, who once tried to destroy her. He also happens to be dead. But the mysterious attacks were caused by a power strong enough to affect matters beyond the world of the living.
With some victims losing years of memory and others their lives, Lily must discover what on earth—or beyond—connects them. 

Thoughts:  To be honest, I dragged my heels when it came to getting this book….and then dragged them some more when it came to actually reading it.  I absolutely loved this series in the beginning, but it has become one of those series that has started to lose its spark for me.  Part of me feverently hoped that this would be the book that sets it back on track….and yet another dreaded it because I feared it would be the final straw for me with the series.  Unfortunately, it seems to be the latter for me.

With most other series, it usually comes down to just the whole plotline/story just not living up to the spectacular standards set by the previous books.  What makes this series a bit odd for me is instead it seems to be a loss of the integral part of the characters – now, in the tenth book, I honestly have forgotten why I loved these characters so much.  It doesn’t even seem like I am even reading about the same people anymore.  And that is truly a sad state of affairs since the characters used to be so vibrant.  The story is still a good one – but I miss the connection that used to exist for these characters – for example, Lily and Rule could almost be strangers they seem so different from who they used to be.  Not to mention their real, true interactions are few and far between.  It’s almost like now that they are together romantically, the author doesn’t know how to write them anymore.

I doubt I can handle reading another book in this series – it just reminds me of what is missing from those amazing books in the beginning.

 

 

Dissension by K.A.Salidas

91yn2LGniLL._SL1500_Title:  Dissension       

Series:  Book #1 in the Chronicles of the Uprising Series

Author:  K.A. Salidas

Rating:  B-

The great cataclysm wiped almost all life from the face of planet Earth, but tiny pockets of survivors crawled from the ashes, with only one thought: survival, at any cost.
But not all survivors were human.  In the dark, militant society that has risen in the aftermath, vampires, once thought to be mythical, have been assimilated and enslaved. Used for blood sport their lives are allowed to continue only for the entertainment of the masses. Reviled as savages, they are destined to serve out their immortal lives in the arena, as gladiators.
And there is no greater gladiator than Mira: undefeated, uncompromising…and seemingly unbreakable. When an escape attempt leads Mira into the path of Lucian Stavros, the city’s Regent, her destiny is changed forever.  Lucian, raised in a culture which both reviles and celebrates the savagery and inhumanity of vampires, finds Mira as intriguing as she is brash. An impulsive decision – to become Mira’s patron – changes more than just Lucian’s perception about vampire kind. The course of his life is altered in ways he could never have predicted – a life that is suddenly as expendable as hers.  Can Mira prove to Lucian that all is not as it seems? Can Lucian escape centuries of lies, bloodshed, and propaganda to see the truth? Or will the supreme power of the human overlords destroy them both? 

Review:  This novel was definitely an interesting take on vampires and the paranormal genre.  Basically, it’s a dark, dystopian tale about a world in which humans have subjugated vampires, forcing them to life in prisons and engage in life or death battles in a gladiator arena for their own perverted amusements.  Mira is tough chick – spending day in and day out fighting against her circumstances and those of her people.  Lucien, on the other hand, I felt as if we barely got to know before the ending of the book.  Which brings me to my main point of contention with this book – the ending.  There’s a cliffhanger, and then there is just those dump-you-right-in-the-middle-of-a-scene endings that totally rub me the wrong way – leaving you unfulfilled and just thoroughly ticked off.  This one is the latter.  Sure, I’m confident the next book picks right up where this one leaves up, but there is nothing I hate more than an unfulfilled ending to a book.  And the end of this one was enough to almost ruin the whole book for me.  To be honest, I would have rated it higher if not for the ending – so just be forewarned about that before starting it!

 

Moonlight by Katie Salidas

818G6f7fJGL._SL1500_Title:  Moonlight (novella)

Series:  Immortalis Vampire Series Book #5

Author:  Katie Salidas

Rating:  C

Good girls don’t wear fur or fight over men, and they certainly don’t run around naked, howling at the moon.  But then, no-one ever called Fallon a good girl.  As a human unofficially mated to an Alpha werewolf, Fallon is being pressured to “become”… or be gone.  Her mate Aiden, the interim leader of the Olde Town Pack, is in a position that demands he either choose a wolf mate or leave the pack forever. No matter how hot the sex with Fallon is, he can’t ignore centuries of tradition.  Become a wolf or not: If only the choice were that simple! Fallon’s options are further clouded by the overt presence of other females desperate to be the Alpha’s mate. And when these bitches get serious, it’s not just claws that come out. If Fallon wants to keep her man and take the title, she’ll have to exert a little dominance of her own.

Review:  I am new to this series, and I had not realized that this was book 5 in a series before I started.  Given that, it was understandable that I found it a bit confusing at times.  I was also a bit confused and perturbed by the vibes I received while reading it as well – for the most part – at least to me – the story, dialogue, etc. read a bit like a new adult book, containing a certain level of immaturity.  However, it does contain adult content, and the odd mix of vibes from the book kindof left me not quite knowing what to think of it.  All in all, I will definitely have to go back and try reading from book one and see if that changes my perceptions somewhat.

 

Her Wolf Menage by Louisa Bacio

61voYMxHgUL._SL1000_Title:  Her Wolf Ménage

Series:  The Vampire, the Witch, and the Werewolf Series Book #7

Author:  Louisa Bacio

Rating: C+/B-

She seeks adventure.  What’s the use of living in a wolf pack when one isn’t a shifter? Jana strikes out from Louisiana’s national forest to New Orleans to find herself, only to discover more questions.  They want the same woman.  The moment Jana steps into the French Quarter, Andre pursues the naïve beauty. An artist, he senses the hidden wolf beneath the surface, and her nature calls to him. It’s not until she leaves that long-time friend Dominick realizes what he wants. The two alpha weres must battle it out or learn to share to reach their happy ending. 

Review:  Okay, so the truth is that the blurb and the fact that it’s a shifter book sucked me into this one.  Supposedly, it is a stand alone title, but I’m not sure I agree with that.  It’s really a matter of perception, I suppose.  Can you read it without reading the other books?  Sure – and if you consider it enough to warrant ‘stand alone’ status, I guess you have it.  For me, however, if I find myself with a niggling feeling that I have missed something, or there are characters that I am wondering about and thinking ‘And what’s up with those two?’ – then to me it is not stand alone.  From the beginning, it was apparent that I had missed a lot – and that was not my only issue with the book.

My main pet peeve was just a lack of connection with the characters.  It was apparent when it came to all the characters, but especially the two male leads.  However, Dominick was the worst for me – I had a hard time with his character throughout the book….more so than any of the rest.  It also bounced around which left a distinct lack of focus on the main characters.  The books really focus more and encompass this whole world, not really giving the focus needed to these three characters and their particular story.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a series built on a strong world an encompassing a whole bunch of characters, but there still needs to be a majority focus on the main ones and I didn’t feel this was the case here.  I did enjoy the story…there were just a few things that bothered me that kept it from being really great.

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Demon By My Side by Victoria Davies

cover41137-mediumTitle:  Demon By My Side

Series:  Netherworld Series Book #2

Author:  Victoria Davies

Genre:  Romance, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

BlurbDarcy Snow is a demon hunter and a damn good one at that. She’s never hesitated when faced with monsters preying on humans, but the rules changed when the Lord of the Spirits married a mortal. While spirits used to be able to cross into the human realm only on Halloween, they’re now passing freely through a mysterious portal.  Jaral is a demon with a mission. As the heir apparent in the demon realm, he’s been waiting for a chance to finally prove himself to his father. When he’s ordered to solve the mystery of how their enemies are infiltrating the human world, he expects to run up against mortals. One thing he didn’t plan on, however, is crossing paths with a beautiful demon hunter.  Together, they’ll need to seal the portal and ensure that balance is returned to the realm. But loving an enemy is not an option for Darcy. If she can’t trust Jaral, she can’t be with him. To prove his intentions, Jaral will need to make the ultimate sacrifice…

Thoughts:  I didn’t realize that this book was the second in a series when I first started it (it wasn’t mentioned in the description and I’m not familiar with the author).  It sounded intriguing and I love paranormal so I thought it would be a great read.  Because of that, I found it a bit hard to get into this one….I just felt like I was missing way too much of the backstory.  This was made worse by the fact that it focuses on different characters throughout, rather than sticking with a particular one.  I’m not sure going back and reading the first one would help me get more into the story, or the series in particular – it just didn’t seem up my alley.  It was a good read, but not great – and I  definitely recommend reading the prior book first.

Rate:  C

Dancing by Laurell K. Hamilton

9197uim6Z8L._SL1500_Title:  Dancing

Series:  Anita Blake Book # 22.5

Author:  Laurell K. Hamilton

Rating:  C

Vampire hunter Anita Blake leaps into uncharted territory in the all-new novella from #1 New York Times bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton.
For most people, summer barbecues are nothing to be afraid of. But Anita isn’t exactly plain vanilla—and neither is her love life. So it takes a special kind of courage to attend a barbecue thrown by her friend Sergeant Zerbrowski. Walking into a backyard full of cops and their families with wereleopards Micah and Nathaniel both looking gorgeous on her arm won’t be easy, even with almost-four-year-old Matthew Vespucci to break the ice…Anita is determined to have a good time with her family, just like everyone else. But it doesn’t take long for tensions to rise among the adults and kids. And Anita will learn that gossip and innuendo can be just as dangerous as anything the undead can throw at her…

Review:  Even for me – a avid, loyal, Laurell K. Hamilton fan – this story just wasn’t worth it.  That’s not to say it isn’t good – it was just a little disappointing.  The main thing is the length – this is not even a novella (only 59 pages in length!)  Tack on the $2.99 charge I paid for, and it’s just not worth it.  In my opinion it should have  been a brief short story on the author’s website for free.  Or tacked into a full-length novel as an ‘extra’ or something.

With it being so short, it felt like either the beginnings of book that never got finished, or a few pages that someone ripped out of the middle of one as a teaser for a full length novel.  At the end, my thoughts were, “Really?  That’s it?” as I scroll through the kindle pages making sure I haven’t missed something, or my kindle has some sort of unknown glitch.  But no – that really was it!  And the majority of it was descriptions of the characters and their relationships with each other, that all avid readers of her books are already well acquainted with.  And come on! – If you’re not well acquainted with it – this is hardly the ideal place to start!

That’s not to say that it is totally horrible – I always love Anita!  And I enjoyed seeing their first foray into the social circle of their friends as a ‘threesome’.  Just wanted more from it than what we got…:(

Playing By The Rules by Imelda Evans

cover35519-smallTitle: Playing By The Rules 

Series:  N/A

Author:  Imelda Evans

Rating:  C

Kate Adams expected to return home from Paris with a ring on her finger. Instead, her French boyfriend, Alain, breaks up with her right before she leaves for Australia.

Unwilling to show up at her high school reunion desperate and dateless, Kate asks her best friend’s brother, handsome Josh Marchant, to pretend to be her fiancée.

Josh has always had a soft spot for his sister’s friend and happily takes on the role. And as they spend time together, the lines between fact and fiction blur and they’re soon struggling to remember it’s all just an act. But will the arrival of an unexpected visitor shatter the illusion they’ve created?

Review:  This is an easy read, well written, but not something that really stands out from the crowd.  Kate is a woman that has just discovered that her long term boyfriend is leaving her to be with her best friend, and she has come home to try to regroup from the pain.  Especially since she is expecting him to propose instead!  Unfortunately, she was still with her loser of an ex when she set up her RSVP for her high school reunion, and they already think she is engaged!  To ashamed to show up and confess what happened, she gets set up with her best friend’s brother as a stand-in.  But when they are inundated with questions, the tales that fall of Josh’s tongue are a little believable – could it be true that he has had a crush on her all along?

While the book was okay, there were a few things that irritated me about this book.  First off was Kate herself.  I found her very whiny, and almost childish in her behavior.  There was stomping her foot down like a toddler when she didn’t get her way, to throwing herself across the bed and crying and wailing when she was upset.  I found her very annoying for the most part.  Josh, on the other hand, was very bland.  We are supposed to believe that he has had a crush on her for years and years, and while he does go along with the plans his sister to cooks up for him to pretend to be Kate’s fiancée, that is pretty much all he does – go along with it.  He didn’t really jump at the chance, or try to convince her that they are meant for each other, or anything like that at all.  I just did not feel like there was this huge crush that he had for Kate – either in the past or in the present.  I more or less felt like she was there, convenient, and already got along with his family, so why not her to try and fall in love with?  I also thought the whole fiancée and best friend thing was a little to convenient to the story.

A good read, but a few things that irritated me enough that it was a bit of a struggle to care about what happened to these characters.

Outback Bride by Louise Reynolds

cover35119-mediumTitle:  Outback Bride

Series:  N/A

Author:  Louise Reynolds

Rating:  C

Legal star Lara Burke has worked hard to escape her country past and is finally on the way to being made a partner at her city law firm. At the worst possible time, her former flame Jake Forester arrives, bringing tragic news from home.

Forced to return to her family property, Jindaburra, Lara must confront her past at the home she loved and lost. But big-sky country and bittersweet memories are not all that await her at Jindaburra.

As Lara’s past and present collide, old passions are rekindled and new connections are formed. And as her visit comes to an end, how will Lara choose between the city life she’s grown to love, and the life she left behind?

Review:  This is a sweet Australian romance about two people who were forced to take two different paths in life, but now, years later, can the recapture the past that was lost to them?  Some of my favorite books have followed this storyline, but for me this one was just a bland re-telling.  It didn’t stand out against some of the other titles I have read along the same lines.  Was it good?  Yes.  Am I going to remember it in the next six months?  Probably not.

Again, the plot is one I am usually fond of – but for me, I just didn’t feel this one.  I didn’t feel like Lara and Jake had this age old love that they had been itching to rekindle.  Nor one that – once the met up again – suddenly flashed back to them and they decided they couldn’t live without each other.  It was more of a ‘uh, ok….he’s here, I’m here…maybe we could make it work’ kind of thing.  Just wasn’t feeling it.  I also thought some of these ‘new connections’ were toned down as well….this could have been a more powerful story that what was written here.

I liked the Aussie feel to the story, I liked seeing Lara return to her roots, and I liked seeing her decide to go back to what she loves.  But with all of these strong emotions she should have been feeling….they just didn’t come across in the story for me.

A good book, but I seen so much more potential for it that what was there.

 

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