About Hannah

I'm a 20-something Gemini living in central Ontario, Canada. I love love and being involved in my community, reading, playing the piano and flute, and watching too many movies/tv shows to admit

Luca Vitiello (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles #0.5)

Luca

I was born a monster. Cruelty ran in my veins like poison. It ran in the veins of every Vitiello man, passed on from father to son, an endless spiral of monstrosity. A born monster shaped into an even worse monster by my father’s blade and fists and harsh words. I was raised to become Capo, to rule without mercy, to dish out brutality without a second thought.

Raised to break others.

When Aria was given to me in marriage, everyone waited with baited breath to see how fast I’d break her like my father broke his women. How I’d crush her innocence and kindness with the force of my cruelty. Breaking her would have taken little effort. It came naturally to me. I was gladly the monster everyone feared. Until her.

—                         —                         —

Luca Vitiello is the retelling of Bound by Honor from Luca’s perspective. It is a full length novel from author Cora Reilly, but it does retell stories mostly already known by fans. I found that reading this one made me a little more sympathetic to Luca during his stupid moments.

There are a few new scenes from Luca’s POV, especially several from his childhood and induction into NY mafia.

I got the sense that if Luca and Dante were not from separate (warring) mafia families, they might have made good friends.

If you are looking for a brand new story by Cora Reilly, this would be a book to skip, but it is a fun addition to the series if you are Team Luca.

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xx

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Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

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Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

—                         —                         —

Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a YA book that I have been hearing a lot about the past few years. Last year there was a movie released based off of this bestseller, re-titled Love, Simon. I didn’t realize when I checked out the audiobook that I was reading a book about an LGBTQ character during PRIDE month, but that makes it an extremely timely review to post.

During the course of the book, I became extremely invested in the lives of these characters, including both Simon and his friends. I was constantly guessing as to who “Blue” was. There were a few times I rolled my eyes at some of the more teenager behaviour and drama, but the pace of the book is quick enough that the plot doesn’t become embroiled in high school.

The relationship between Simon and Blue unfolds over the course of half a year. It was sweet to watch friendship and then romance develop, based completely on personality and not looks, cliques, or popularity.

The audiobook is slightly less than 7 hours, awesome for getting through quickly. I was able to listen to the book in two days. The narrator’s voice is smooth and easy to listen to.

I plan to pick up the sequel, Leah on the Offbeat soon, and listening to it as well.

* * * * *

xx

A Tribe Called Bliss (Lori Harder)

tribe

Lori Harder is a self-love expert with over one million listeners on her Earn Your Happy podcast. In A Tribe Called Bliss she shares the exact structure she used to build her own tribe and grow from the anxiety ridden, unhealthy, introverted underachiever she was to the confident woman who takes risks and leaps out of her comfort zone, with a foreword from #1 New York Times bestselling author Gabrielle Bernstein.

The benefits of a having a tribe are undeniable. Women who have strong social circles are living longer, happier, healthier lives in comparison to those who lack connections and are mentally and physically exhausting themselves trying to quench external desires in isolation.

Today, we live in an uber-connected era, where anyone is able to make thousands of friends and participate in their lives with the swipe of a finger. Why then, in such a connected time in history, do so many women feel disconnected, confined, misunderstood, defeated, or think that success is a solo project?

In A Tribe Called Bliss Lori Harder bridges the gap between inspiration and action, providing a lasting resource for positive change and a guidebook for establishing a support tribe. This practical book is for the growing audience of woman seeking the sisterhood and connection they crave so much. It encourages readers to examine life on a micro level, and Lori provides lessons and contextual self-work exercises on how to develop the kind of awareness of the present moment that is the key to a lifetime of blissful happiness.

—                         —                         —

I listed to this book on my phone, but I think it is definitely better suited for reading a physical copy instead. If I ever reread it, I will definitely go that route.

Much of the book is written as an easy-to-understand guide to forming your own girl tribe with 2 or 3 other women. As such, when listening to the book, it can come across as an instructional manual. Also, the author gives you assignments throughout the book that would be impossible to do without sitting down and thinking about them a bit … not ideal when you are listening to a book at work, or while driving.

A Tribe Called Bliss is written from a religious point of view. The author does reference God and prayer multiple times. If you are not a Christian, this may turn you off, but she does also mention that when she refers to God, you can think of any deity/angel/higher power that is appropriate for you.  The “religious-speak” is not overwhelming and I would encourage you to still give the book a go.

One of the lessons that I will take away with me is the idea to not keep yourself small. Harder recommends keeping a small list of people whose opinions matter to you on your person or in your purse, and when criticism is coming your way, reflect back on it. I reflected on who would be on my list, and it isn’t very long. More to the point, there was a lot of baggage that I have been carrying around from people who are definitely not on the list. Deep breaths … and let it go.

* * * *

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Dark Wolf (Dark #22)

dark wold

In Dark Lycan, Christine Feehan journeyed into the heart of the Carpathians, and into the souls of two lifemates stirred by the flush of passion and the threat of annihilation. In Dark Wolf, the breathtaking story continues as the bonds of family are imperiled, and the fate of two lovers lies hidden in the seductive shadows between life and death.

Skyler Daratrazanoff always recognized the miracle that was Dimitri Tirunul, a man beyond any dream that had ever engaged her nights. But she was human. Vulnerable. He was Carpathian. Nearly immortal. She was nineteen. He was an ancient. Yet she held half his soul, the light to his darkness. Without her, he would not survive. Caught between the two warring species, Dimitri has spent centuries hunting the undead to keep his people free, and humans safe. He had survived honorably when others had chosen to give up their souls. But now, marked for extermination by the Lycans, Dimitri found himself alone, and fearing for his life. But salvation was coming…

No Lycan would ever suspect someone like Skyler to dare mount a secret rescue operation. A teenage girl. A human of untested abilities. But she had something no one else had. She was predestined for Dimitri—as he was for her. And there was nothing stronger for Skyler than her desire to see her life-dream come true. Whatever the risk.

—                         —                         —

I have been reading the Dark / Carpathian series since I was in the seventh grade. Well over a decade at this point. And I still read it, although its place as number one in my heart has been usurped. Normally I try not to review series out of order on this website. It doesn’t really matter but my OCD disagrees.

Nonetheless, I am way too far into this series to start at the beginning right now, so we are going with #22 instead.

Dark Wolf was a looooong awaited book. It tells the story of Skyler Daratrazanoff, who was introduced as a young teenager much earlier in the series.

I was rooting for Skyler from day one. She is tenacious, brave, resilient and someone you can’t help but cheer on as a fan. Her lifemate, Dimitri is absolutely worthy of her and they are fierce in their defence of each other.

This book takes place in the Carpathian Mountains, at a time when their people – normally isolated and far-spread – have come together. As someone who has read every book in this series, it was a welcome chance to revisit some previous couples that haven’t been seen in awhile.

I love how imaginative this author is. She can create a detailed and multifaceted world in a few short paragraphs. Lycans had already been introduced in the series, but in a very limited capacity. Ms. Feehan made the world so much more vibrant, exploring the world of Lycan politics, military tactics and history, without ever taking away from Skyler and Dimitri’s story.

I definitely recommend Dark Wolf, which is one of those books that stands out for me in a fantastic series. If you are willing to start this series from the beginning with Dark Prince, you will get more out of it, but it isn’t completely necessary.

* * * *

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Shadow Warrior (Shadow #4)

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Vittorio Ferraro is a man whose family loyalty knows no bounds. He would die for his siblings and the people they love, but what he really wants is to start a family of his own. Deep down, Vittorio has always known finding a woman who could ride shadows would be nearly impossible—let alone one who could accept his particular needs—and he never expected to find her in the middle of a kidnapping.
Grace Murphy has always been drawn to Vittorio Ferraro—or at least to the billionaire’s public bad-boy persona. Now that she’s under his protection and the sole focus of his intense caring, she can’t help wanting to get as close to him as possible. But Grace knows her presence is putting the entire Ferraro family in danger. Her monster of a brother will never let her go, but Vittorio has no intention of losing the woman whose shadow matches his own.

—                         —                         —

Shadow Warrior is the fourth book in the Shadow Rider series from Christine Feehan. I am a fan of Ms. Feehan so most of her books are auto-buys for me.

Grace and Vittorio have a longer amount of time to build a relationship with each other than any other couple in this world. Grace’s severe injuries and the threatened violence from their enemies lead to most of the romance taking place in an insulated world, behind gated walls. This also means that the physical aspect of their relationship is a bit delayed, and there is no sex until about halfway through the book.

I liked Shadow Warrior but it is my least favourite in the series so far. One of the aspects I like about these books is the sense of community and family that are instilled in them. I found these aspects lacking in Warrior and got pretty bored. IMHO, the pace of the story was much slower. There is also a lot of dialogue between Grace and Vittorio.

Throughout the last book and this one, it is made clear that Vittorio and Grace would be engaged in a Dominant/submissive lifestyle. I was concerned that the author would gloss over this. She doesn’t in their discussions, but their bedroom time is pretty vanilla. I figure Ms. Feehan did this because she writes for a traditional publisher and has many longtime fans who would be disappointed if her books transitioned from romance to erotica. But that in turn disappoints fans like me who want to see characters live up to their reputations.

I would recommend Shadow Warrior for anyone who is interested in supernatural romance or romantic suspense, but I was a little disappointed in this instalment. Hopefully the last two books will be more my style.

* * *

xx

Exquisite Sin (Iron Horse MC #6)

Sin

Lyric
I thought once I finally fled the strict confines of my old church I’d be free. Safe from the demons masquerading as holy men. Unfortunately, there is just as much evil in the real world as my former home, and the demons that want to destroy me are still on the hunt. My hero comes from the most unlikely of places, a knight in black leather who is ready to lay down his life for my own. My church may have called him a sinner who was leading me into damnation, but to me he is my salvation.

Hustler
I’ve spent my life alone, my heart and soul claimed long ago by the Iron Horse MC. My loyalty to them was unquestionable before a certain freckled angel entered my life. Now my devotion to my club is torn between doing what my President wants, and what my woman needs. It kills me that I’m forced to leave her side when she needs me the most, but if I stay with her much longer I’m going to get her killed. Except my absence doesn’t make her any safer. By the time I figure out the true threat comes from within, it’s too late to do anything but pray to a God who turned his back on me long ago for a miracle I don’t deserve.

—                         —                         —

Exquisite Sin is the sixth book in the Iron Horse MC series, and the second of a two part arc featuring Hustler and Lyric.

There was a looong wait for this book! The previous one was released nearly two years ago and fans have been waiting since then for the conclusion to Hustler and Lyric’s love story.

Although the wait was painful (and to my mind unnecessary), Exquisite Sin was well worth it, IMHO.

To begin with, this is a series that should absolutely be read in order.

I loved Exquisite Sin; it is quite possibly my favourite book in this series. There is a good balance of action, love, sex, and world building – although Swan annoyed the heck out of me.

The biggest drawback was the ending of this book. It is very sudden and the book ends with the climactic action scenes. There is almost no let down after this drama. It also means that as a reader, you don’t get to ever see Hustler and Lyric together outside of a crisis situation.

(I strongly believe that the 15 years later epilogue at the end doesn’t count).

One of my favourite quotes came from a new background character, who is lending a shoulder to a heroine in need:

The thought of discussing my relationship concerns with this big, intimidating man had me nervously looking away. “I’m okay.”

“I’m okay, you’re okay, we’re all fuckin’ okay, until we’re not okay. Am I right?”

I slumped back against the couch then threw my hands in the air. “I’m fine!”

“Little girl, I got three grown daughters and a wife I’ve been lucky enough to be married to for over twenty-five years. I know when a woman says she’s fine like you just did, it means she’s anything but.”

Mayburn, Ann. Exquisite Sin (Iron Horse MC Book 6) . Honey Mountain Publishing. Kindle Edition.

With the release of this novel, author Ann Mayburn announced that it would conclude the Iron Horse MC series. Talk about disappointing, considering she has introduced us to awesome background characters that deserve their own HEAs! Luckily, she has also teased that we will revisit her MC world with different chapters of the Iron Horse MC, so hopefully those characters we love like Sledge and Hulk will just migrate over there.

I guess this means if you prefer your romance to be fully completed, it is an awesome time to start reading this series though! If it is new to you, pick up Exquisite Trouble first.

* * * *

xx

 

Stolen (Alpha’s Control #1)

1

He stole her off the streets in broad daylight—the first Omega discovered in Bernard Dome in generations. He took her with violence while none intervened. He broke her, swearing he’d put her back together.

Brenya Perin was ordered to submit.

Bernard Dome is the jewel of Europe, a bastion of art and culture, pleasure and decadence. But life in the city depends on the occupation chosen for you at birth. There is no subversion, no question of who rules. There is no freedom.

Peace has a price, a price the Commodore of Bernard Dome is willing to pay… so long as the Omega remains his.

—                         —                         —

This has proven to be a difficult book to review. There are some aspects that I loved but others that I hated. I had no idea at first how many stars to give!

Let’s start off with what I liked.

Stolen is a dark romance, which is definitely what I was looking for when I read it. It contains scenes of dubious consent, and is set in a firmly hierarchical society. It may not be something that I would want to live IRL, but I love dipping my toes in through books.

I didn’t like that there were certain scenes from POV of characters from the (previous) sister-series, Alpha’s Claim. I wouldn’t have minded if they just popped up as secondary characters, but it was super weird to me that their story was incomplete, and did not like having so many POV characters in this book.

Secondly, Stolen ends on quite the cliff-hanger, and unfortunately, it has been a looong wait for the sequel. Book 2 in this series is tentatively titled Corrupted and is slated to be released sometime in 2019, but I haven’t seen any further updates.

* * * *

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Alpha’s Claim series – Addison Cain

Alpha’s Claim is a three book series set in a futuristic dystopia. These books are dark, and contain dubious consent, and power exchanges.

I initially thought that the characters were werewolves, because the author uses terminology such as Alpha, Beta and Omega to describe different classes of people, who have different physiology, personalities, and political and socio-economic statuses. However I was wrong. Whatever events led to Earth becoming a series of isolated domes, the human species evolved between now and then.

I thoroughly enjoyed the start and middle of this series. There were twists and turns and all sorts of dark romance that I was thoroughly in the mood for at the time.

Unfortunately, I was not a fan of book 3 at all. It is a cliffhanger ending to the series, and you have to read the sister series Alpha’s Control, in order to catch glimpses of Claire and Shepherd, and thus finish their story. Book 3 absolutely convinced me that Shepherd is a mad-man. I don’t think that he is worthy of Claire, and is an irredeemable anti-hero in my eyes. Ms. Cain will have a difficult time convincing me to love him again in Alpha’s Control.

I have posted the blurbs and my ratings for the individual books below:

1Claire is desperate. Her once thriving city lies in ruins. The strongest of the three human dynamics, Alphas, have grown feral. Common Betas circle like vultures. The lowest in the hierarchy, Omegas like Claire, are being destroyed. They are starving.

All due to one escaped convict’s violent rise to power.

Shepherd is every bit as ruthless as his reputation suggests. Despite taking every possible precaution, Claire is captured and her worst nightmare realized. Shepherd, discovering a rare Omega in his midst, claims her like a prize, forcing a pair-bond that ties her to him. Forever.

* * * *

2Claire has a score to settle.

Unwilling mate to the brute who viciously conquered her city, she has once again escaped from her Alpha. Hardened by betrayal, cold as the ice outside the Dome, Claire becomes the mission. The Omegas must be freed, no matter the cost.

The price on her head will not deter her; after all, mated and subjugated her life no longer retains value. She can’t eat, she can’t sleep, and she’s running out of time before the inevitable end.

For once, Shepherd finds himself facing an adversary he cannot simply crush, the situation far out of his depth. Desperate to draw his mate back, racked and restless, he is forced to acknowledge that his pregnant Omega is willing to sacrifice her life for her false notion of a greater good. * * * *
2There is a greater threat than the virus.

Locked safely away in Shepherd’s nest, Claire is unaware of what stirs above ground. Her time is occupied fighting a war of another kind. Due to her mate’s relentless exploitation of their pair-bond, the nature of their link has grown all-consuming.

Thólos is coming apart at the seams, and Shepherd’s men can do nothing to stop it. Real war is coming, and unless the Alpha tyrant is willing to pay the ultimate price, everything he has sacrificed will have been for nothing.

* *

Overall series rating: * * *

xx

Eli’s Triumph (Reapers MC #6.7)

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Peaches Taylor spent the last seven years slinging drinks and dodging drunks at the Starkwood Saloon. Some might call it a dead end job, but to her it was an investment—another six months, and she’d have enough money to buy the place.

Life would’ve been perfect if Eli hadn’t come home.

Eli King is ready to settle down. He stood by his brothers when they needed him, paying the price for their freedom with his own. Now it’s time to claim his reward—the Starkwood Saloon. He’s got the cash to buy the bar, the skills to run it, and just one person standing between him and his dream: Peaches Taylor.

She’s been driving him crazy since they were kids, and not in the good way. When she was six, she shoved a spider down his pants. When he was ten, he locked her in a closet overnight. Then she hot-wired his car at seventeen, and things got ugly…

They’re adults now, and the Starkwood isn’t a toy to fight over—it’s the hill they’ll die on. No prisoners. No compromises. No mercy.

Peaches Taylor and Eli King are going to war.

—                         —                         —

I read this book in a day. And that was a 14 hour workday for me.

It is amazing!

Unfortunately, it is also short seeing as it is a novella, but the romance feels natural and fulfilled. Peaches and Eli have known each other since childhood and sparks have always flown, their personalities just sort of got in the way.

Eli’s Triumph is a quick and romantic read, and I was surprised by several funny scenes in it. Reading a novella by Joanna Wylde always reminds me how good a writer she really is, since I normally do no like this style.

You do not have to have read the other books in the Reapers MC series to enjoy this story.

I only wish that the author would release a full length novel – it has been years – and get back to the Silver Bastards and Devil’s Jacks MC series as well.

* * * * *

xx

Forever Mine (Tormentor Mine #4)

forever

I fought against fate, and I won. I made a deal with the devil to keep her.

It was supposed to be over. We were meant to be happy.

Too bad my enemies had other plans.

Note: This is the conclusion of Peter & Sara’s story. It is strongly recommended that you read Twist Me and Capture Me trilogies before embarking on this book, as there will be major spoilers for those series.

—                         —                         —

Forever Mine is the fourth book from Peter and Sara’s points of view, and it concludes their story. It begins immediately following the end of book three and it is necessary for you to read those books before this one. It definitely isn’t a series you could pick up and read out of order.

This book picks up the day after Sarah and Peter’s wedding, and sees them settling into married life. It is interesting to see Peter attempting to live a normal civilian life, something he has really never tried before, even as a child.

Of course, nothing can ever be that simple so you know something is going to go wrong.

It does in spectacular fashion.

I was supposed to review this book a couple of weeks ago. I received a free ARC in exchange for an honest review. But as I mentioned previously, I’ve been in a bit of a stress-induced slump lately, and I felt like the beginning of this book was really slow, so it took me a little while to get through it.

Once things go wrong for Sarah and Peter though, there is sex and explosions and gunshots galore to keep you at the edge of your seat.

Overall, I enjoyed this book but the series lost its momentum as it progressed. IMHO, the first book was amazing, the second great, and the third and fourth pretty good, but they paled in comparison to number one. I think three and four could have easily been combined to make one amazing action-packed story, with some of the slower bits cut out. As it was, I felt that the conclusion to this series was slightly anti-climatic.

It did however tease a tantalizing glimpse of a future character pairing who will be set in this universe. Lord knows I am going to read those books too!

My favourite aspect of Forever Mine is that many fan favourite characters reappeared from previous series. It was a bit of a reunion story. I loved catching up with old friends and boyfriends …. uh… I mean, characters.

* * * *

xx