Leap of the Lion (The Wild Hunt Legacy #4)

36552578

She shifts for the first time on the day of her escape.

After a decade of captivity, Darcy MacCormac escapes the corrupt, clandestine organization called the Scythe, leaving family and friends behind. She must find a way to rescue them. Discovered by other shifters, the brand-new cougar gets two mentors. Blademage Gawain is an easy-going blacksmith with a steel-hard core. His brother Owen is a deadly warrior. Grumpy. Rude. And he doesn’t like her.

They aren’t the mates she’d dreamed of—they’re more.

Powerful, dominating Owen protects the clan—especially the weak—and the only remnant of an abused childhood is his avoidance of females. Now he has to mentor one? Although Gawain soon falls for the dauntless little cat, Owen knows better than to lose his head. But Darcy has a gift for repairing everything…including damaged hearts.

Love isn’t in her destiny.

In the brothers’ arms, Darcy finds safety. Comfort. And love. But however much she longs for a future with Owen and Gawain, her people need her. Somehow, she must find the courage and skills to save them, even if the attempt demands her life.

—                         —                         —

I have been eagerly awaiting this book all year. The Wild Hunt series is one of the handful of book series that I wish I could bring to life. It has the personality I look for in books, where the whole town comes to life through a supportive cast, strong leading characters and well thought out culture and backstories (since this is a fantasy series). Nothing in the Wild Hunt Legacy feels contrived or forced.

Cherise Sinclair masterfully balances the needs and distinct personalities of three main characters in a way no other author can match. Owen, Gawain and Darcy each had their moment to shine and I felt that the needs of each character were balanced with each other, and with the plot demands.

The romance kindles much slower in Leap of the Lion that readers of Sinclair would expect.  Owen and Gawain develop respect and friendship for Darcy before attraction takes over. There isn’t the same level of insta-romance that I typically expect but once love developed between these three, it was everything that I had hoped for.

Leap of the Lion grows the series in a lot of ways. We learned more about shifter culture, specifically Tinkers, Blade Mages and Healers, and several more shifters were introduced who could lead in stories of their own. While I am excited to get my paws on Tynan and Donal’s story, I think that Fell/Patrin/Heather will come first, which isn’t exactly a hardship.

I definitely recommend this book, this series, this author! But these books should be read in order, starting with Hour of the Lion.

* * * * *

xx

Edge of the Enforcer

This is the sixth book in the Mountain Masters / Doms of Dark Haven series by Cherise Sinclair.edge

One sadist. One submissive.
One extraordinary love.

WELCOME TO DARK HAVEN
AND MAY ALL YOUR DARKEST WISHES COME TRUE

Fleeing false murder charges, Lindsey lands in San Francisco. There she builds a satisfying life until, in the notorious Dark Haven BDSM club, she encounters deVries. Moth, meet flame.

A security specialist and occasional mercenary, deVries needs an adorable submissive like a knife to the gut. Hell, she’s not even a masochist. But here she is, all big brown eyes and sweet body and sassy mouth. Loyal. Tough-minded. Honest.

Or maybe not, considering her ID is forged. If she thinks to lie to him, she’ll learn better. He’s the Enforcer of Dark Haven—his discipline is absolute, his punishments harsh, and his heart untouched…until now.

—                         —                         —

Ok, so Edge of the Enforcer is only the second book I’ve ever read where the hero is a sadist. I was slightly nervous about how I would like this hero who has always set my heart racing in the past (and not always in a good way) but I have read so many Cherise Sinclair books before that I trust her completely at this point. So that was reassuring and I was excited to jump back into the Mountain Masters/ Dark Haven world.

And I loved it!

Lindsey is so sweet and sassy and resilient. She is the perfect blend of heroic gumption and vulnerability and she and deVries are honestly a match made in heaven. I just finished reading this story a few days ago and I already am ready to start it all over again.

deVries (I refuse to call him Zander) is definitely the strong and silent type. He has a lot of hangups about his ex-wife that he lays on Lindsey at times, but he works through those issues over the course of the story. He doesn’t come across as sweet as some of the previous doms Sinclair has written, but I like this extra edge of danger to him. It fits his personality and mannerisms. And I always like to push the envelope of a hero / anti-hero.

Edge of the Enforcer introduces a few new kinks to me, particularly edge play (or knife play). While deVries is a sadist, Lindsey is NOT a masochist and it takes her a little bit to trust that he will stop at her limits, even though his go much further. It ups the intensity level in their play, but deVries always puts her needs and aftercare first.

I will say to any reader that is worried about the level of pain or “squickyness” in the book, you shouldn’t need to worry. If you liked other things I have recommended, you should also like this book. Ms. Sinclair always keeps safe, sane and consensual at the forefront of her scenes so everything is consensual, obviously, and you know the book will end happily ever after.

* * * * *

xx

Sweetest Obsession by Ann Mayburn

sweetest

This is a STANDALONE insta-obsession erotic romance set in the Cordova Empire series (no cheating-HEA-no cliffhanger).

Ramon
In my family, there’s an old story going back generations about love at first sight. I used to think it was a fairytale, until I met my sweet Joy. The more I got to know her, the more I wanted her. But the world of the cartels is a dangerous place, so I watched her from afar, wishing things were different and I could claim her for my own. Despite my best efforts to keep her safe, evil found Joy. After she endured a savage beating at the hands of a rival cartel, I vowed to do everything in my power to make her mine and win her heart. I can only pray that when she finds out the truth about me, and the things I’ve done to bind her to me forever, that she’ll be able to love the monster I really am.

Joy
Without a doubt, Ramon Cordova is one of the biggest jerks I’ve ever met. He’s egotistical, bossy, and seems to know how to push all my buttons. Too bad he’s also sinfully handsome, utterly charming when he wants to be, and is the only man I feel safe with. After the attack, I’ve become afraid of the world outside of my home—afraid of crowds, afraid of loud noises, afraid of everything. When I’m in Ramon’s strong arms, those fears melt away. I know there’s a darkness inside of him that he tries to hide, and I’m afraid that when I finally find out the secrets he’s been keeping, he’ll destroy what’s left of my battered heart.

—                         —                         —

Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Sweetest Obsession is the second book in the Cordova Empire series. It is an erotic romantic suspense novel that has some dark moments but is not – in my opinion – a dark romance. You can read my review of the first book here.

Oh man, I wish this book was longer! I know I said that with the first as well, so it seems like these books are just going to be shorter than the other series written by Ms. Mayburn, but I love the characters and am a greedy reader so I will probably still say on book three that I want more!

The Cordova Empire books are character-driven, and feature dark, dangerous, honourable men who balance the evil they encounter at work by worshipping their chosen woman. Roman is a freak in the bedroom and a bit of a stalker for the woman he has fallen in love with. Sweet Joy is torn between the role that she wants to assume in life – that of a mother, wife and homemaker – and one that she has been shaped from childhood to assume, one of a professional in the workplace.

Through Joy’s journey, the author explores the meaning of feminism and how it should really stand for a women living the life she dreams for herself, and not assuming certain roles simply because previous generations of women have won the right for her to fill them.

Joy is an extremely forgiving, kind and caring individual who fits right into the Cordova Family. I hope in the next book, the word count will be expanded and also that we will see that heroine interact even more with her new family than our first two heroines have. Each of the characters, especially Roman’s parents and brothers, add new perspectives and depth and I would love to see these relationships expanded upon.

If you are familiar with the author, you will notice that there is a lot less detail regarding the running of the “family business” in this series than in some of her others. For some this will be great, others may see it as a detriment. I don’t particularly care either way, as I just see these books as unfolding of the characters rather that being driven by complex plot points and political intrigue.

D128, the mind control drug that was so key to the plot in book 1 is barely a factor in Sweetest Obsession, so if that turned you off of the first book, I would recommend you still give this one a chance.

Sweetest Obsession is another five star book that whets the appetite for more to come in the Cordova Empire.

* * * * *

xx

Reaper’s Legacy – Joanna Wylde

Reaper’s Legacy is the second book in the Reapers MC series by Joanna Wylde. If you are rolling your eyes right now, thinking to yourself NOT ANOTHER MC romance series, take heart, because this one is the best around and you’ll be glad you sucked it up and read just one more.

Wylde was a professional journalist before she moved into writing novels and her experience shows. She did major research into how MCs operate and the people who choose that lifestyle. It is reflected in the quality of her work, which has an integrity and honesty few other authors have managed to communicate. Wylde has done countless interviews with outlaw bikers and their women.

legacy

From Goodreads:

Reaper’s Legacy is a raw and intensely erotic tale in Joanna Wylde’s Reapers Motorcycle Club series.

Eight years ago, Sophie gave her heart-and her virginity-to Zach Barrett on a night that couldn’t have been less romantic or more embarrassing. Zach’s step-brother, a steely-muscled, tattooed biker named Ruger, caught them in the act, getting a peep show of Sophie he’s never forgotten.

She may have lost her dignity that fateful night, but Sophie also gained something precious-her son Noah. Unfortunately, Zach’s a deadbeat dad, leaving Ruger to be Noah’s only male role model. When he discovers Sophie and his nephew living in near poverty, Ruger takes matters into his own hands-with the help of the Reapers Motorcycle Club-to give them a better life.

Living with outlaw bikers wasn’t Sophie’s plan for her son, but Ruger isn’t giving her a choice. He’ll be there for Noah, whether she wants him or not. But Sophie does want him, has always wanted him. Now she’ll learn that taking a biker to bed can get a girl dirty in every way.

—                             —                             —

Ruger is basically Noah’s Dad, in everything but name. So at its heart, this is almost a baby daddy / estranged parents story, except that Ruger and Sophie have never actually done the deed.

Reaper’s Legacy is the second story in the MC world of the Reapers where the heroine is new to club life. This gives the audience a chance to learn the rules with her. Like the heroine in the previous book, Sophie initially struggles with the sexist rules of the MC and with certain terms like “property” … but she also quickly becomes friends with the bikers’ Old Ladies, and none of those broads are the least bit intimidated, or oppressed by the club members. Sophie can see the differences in the treatment these women receive and how the club sluts are treated. Added to how kind everyone is to her and her son, she can’t quite slam the door on the biker world. Or Ruger.

I love how Wylde seamlessly patches together subplots involving a whole cast of secondary characters without taking away from the hero and heroine. In particular, we get to learn a whole lot more about Em Hayes and also have regular updates on Horse / Marie and their upcoming wedding.

Wylde’s bikers are alpha males, and kinda assholes to be honest, but they’re asses who love their women and would throw down for them anytime anywhere which takes a bit of the wind out of the feminist sails. While Horse, from book 1, is still my ultimate dream guy, I also absolutely love Ruger. We might kill each other in real life, but I love him.

Highly recommended!

* * * * *

xx

 

Fear Us – a review

** I received a free advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Fear Us is the third book in the Broken Love series.  The first two books were about Kieran and Lake, and this book picks up four years after the events of Fear You to tell the story of Keenan and Sheldon.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00037]

KEENAN
It’s been four years since I ran away—from home, my brother, and my maybe father. I created a life free of expectations while pretending I wasn’t being hunted by all of the above. I managed to stay under the radar all this time… or so I thought. When big brother shows up and saves my ass, I’m forced to face everything I left behind, including her.

SHELDON
It’s been four years since I became another statistic. I made a lot of mistakes when it came to Keenan Masters. The first was loving him at all. He took something from me the night he left, and when I told him I still loved him, he told me he’d always hate me. After that, I learned how to be okay… until he came back. Gone was the boy who always knew how to make me laugh, and in his place was a cold, arrogant monster.


I’m sorry to say, but I didn’t love this book. I know. Disappointing.

I loved the first two. They are deliciously dark, the hero on the edge of being unredeemable. Keenan stepped over that line for me though. There really wasn’t anything wrong with this book per se, and you might love it. I don’t want to hate on a new author, especially after the first two books were so much fun, but Fear Us did not work for me.

Here’s why.

The plot of this book makes it take a very different turn form the first two. If you remember, back then all the characters were in the twelfth grade. Four years have passed without anyone having contact with Keenan. They are only 22 or so but each of the characters seems really jaded and bitter about life and still as immature as their high school selves.

*** minor spoilers ahead ***

This plot begins with Sheldon having raised her and Kieran’s 3yo daughter alone (gotta love that breakup sex). He doesn’t know she even exists because they couldn’t find him after he took off.  Right before he comes back to town to make peace with the past, the little girl is kidnapped. Now this is the main crux of my beef with the story.

I didn’t love the whole kidnapped child plot. It just didn’t do it for me. I didn’t feel like it was advancing the story, just the opposite in fact, and in terms of locating her, there’s no news no news no news, oh look we found her! (there’s that minor spoiler). But there isn’t any narrowing down of the suspects or clues leading into that, they pretty much just stumble across her and she is perfectly fine and not scarred at all from her experience.

Um Hello?!?! Not believable at all.

Unfortunately, that was a large part of the tale. At the time I was reading this story, another little girl the same age had been kidnapped in real life and it was all over the news. Unfortunately, she and her family did not have a happy reunion. It was pretty much the worst outcome possible. So as I was reading Fear Us I kept seeing that little girl’s face, and imagining her family. Definitely took the pleasure out of the romance.

Keenan and Sheldon couldn’t draw me in. Their scenes didn’t keep me entertained. So much so that I had to go back and look up their names to write this review, even though it’s been less than a fortnight since I finished reading it. The drama was overdone and unrealistic.

The interactions between the characters didn’t feel sincere or legitimate. I detest the way that the little girl was characterized (see, I have to write “the little girl” because I can’t remember her name and don’t want to go back and look another name up). She isn’t at all scared of this strange man she has never met and instinctively knows that he is her Dad. Even when she witnesses him treating her mother poorly, she is Daddy’s Little Girl. This kid just survived a traumatic kidnapping! I’m pretty sure she would be clinging to her mom for quite a while, not too trusting of strangers (especially big scary male strangers) and wouldn’t cheerfully stay with a series of babysitters.

Sorry, B.B. Reid. I just didn’t like this one. I’m still read Willow and Dash’s story and hope I fall back in love with this series. But Fear Us was Save Us in my opinion.

* *

xx

Songbird by AJ Adams – a review

Songbird is the second novel in the Zetas series that I have reviewed. They are about young women emerging from the hardest of lives imaginable, and men who are the ultimate baddies. Songbird is the sequel  to The Bonus.

Gorgeous model held captive behind bars

Blurb:

When cartel boss Arturo Vazquez discovers his girlfriend Gina is a DEA rat and his deputy Escamilla is staging a take-over, Arturo fixes his problems by killing everyone – except for Solitaire, Escamilla’s unwilling mistress. Solitaire is intelligent, tough, and shares Arturo’s interest in BDSM. Arturo falls head over heels but someone is leaking information – and the evidence point at Solitaire.

Songbird is a complete and self standing novel. Warning: This book contains explicit scenes of dubious consent, graphic violence and sex.

—                    —                   —

I am impressed with how Adams was able to redeem Arturo after his actions in the first book. Talking so cavalierly about the murder of a four year old child to further business, and his ordering of Chloe’s torture at the beginning of The Bonus, made me feel like there was no way Arturo could possibly be a protagonist in his own novel.

I was wrong.

I liked how he took a chance on Solitaire. He could have easily killed her or ordered Kyle to, and not dealt with the hassle and risk of letting her out of that house alive. I think Kyle’s (admittedly limited) morals have rubbed off on good old Arturo a bit!

This book was great because it wasn’t just a repeat of the first novel. Although Solitaire and Chloe both have some serious mental issues to deal with following their pasts, they have very different personalities and coping mechanisms, which keeps the material interesting.

There was a lot more mystery and subterfuge in Songbird, compared to the first book where it felt like the reader just watched events unfold.

One thing that I didn’t like though, is that it was obvious (to me at least) who “Songbird” was from the get-go. The mystery sections of the novel should definitely have been written better.

I also would have preferred to see Solitaire have some problems adapting to her new life in Mexico! She just seemed to soar into this whole new world like it was nothing new, and that is unrealistic. She doesn’t have to struggle pathetically the whole way through, but it just seemed all a little too easy.

* * possible spoiler * *

My favourite scene by far was Kyle’s interrogation of Solitaire in the hotel. Going into that scene, knowing his usual methods of interrogation, I had chills! I wish that the book had of stayed like that all the way through.

* * * *

xx