Dark Wolf (Dark #22)

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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.

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Exquisite Sin (Iron Horse MC #6)

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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.

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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.

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Forever Mine (Tormentor Mine #4)

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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.

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Twisted Pride (The Camorra Chronicles #3)

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Remo Falcone is beyond redemption. As Capo of the Camorra he rules with a brutal hand over his territory – a territory the Chicago Outfit breached. 

Now Remo is out for retribution.

A wedding is sacred, stealing a bride sacrilegious.

Serafina is the niece of the Boss of the Outfit, and her hand has been promised in marriage for years, but kidnapped in her wedding dress on her way to church by Remo, Serafina quickly realizes that she can’t hope for saving. Yet, even in the hands of the cruelest man she knows, she is determined to cling to her pride, and Remo soon understands that the woman at his mercy might not be as easy to break as he thought.

A ruthless man on a quest to destroy the Outfit by breaking someone they are supposed to protect. A woman intent on bringing a monster to his knees. Two families that will never be the same.

—                         —                         —

This. Book.

I had such a difficult time waiting for it to be released. I ended up reading nonfiction for awhile because every romance left me unsatisfied, and I realized it was because I only wanted to read Twisted Pride.

Thankfully, the book mostly lived up to my expectations : )

It certainly wasn’t how I played out Remo and Fina’s relationship in my head. Fina is dang feisty and I liked how important her relationships were to her. She is brave and proud and extremely loyal.

It was lovely to more intimately know Remo. He has been a secondary character in several books, but he is a difficult character to get a read on. Learning more about him made me admire him more. He may be crazy and capable of great evil, but he is also a family man and amazing with babies. He is an incredibly loyal fucker so long as you never cross him.

Even though I fell in love with both of these characters, I had a difficult time relating to them. Maybe I will feel differently on my second read – this has been known to happen with highly anticipated books – but I felt like some of the heart was missing from Twisted Pride.

It is possible the timeline is why I had trouble relating. The tale takes place over 18 months and nearly all of that time the couple are confrontational, even while falling in love.

The previous book, Twisted Emotions, is going to remain my favourite for a long time I think, but I would still recommend Twisted Pride. It will make far more sense when the series is read in order.

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Toxic Game (Ghostwalkers #15)

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On a rescue mission in the heart of the Indonesian jungle, Dr. Draden Freeman and his GhostWalker team need to extract the wounded as quickly as possible—or risk spreading a deadly virus unleashed by a terrorist cell. When Draden gets infected, he forces his team to leave him behind. He won’t risk exposing anyone else. He intends to find the ones responsible and go out in a blaze of glory….

Shylah Cosmos’s mission is to track the virus and remain unseen. Her enhanced senses tell her that the gorgeous man eradicating the terrorists one by one is a GhostWalker—and his lethal precision takes her breath away. When he’s hit by a lucky shot, she can’t stop herself from stepping in, not knowing that by saving his life she’s exposed herself to the virus.

There’s no telling how much time Draden and Shylah have left. Racing to find a cure, they quickly realize that they’ve found their perfect partner just in time to lose everything. But even as the virus threatens to consume their bodies, they’ve never felt more alive.

—                         —                         —

Shylah and Draden are part of the fourth Ghostwalker team that has been dominating the series the last few years. Thankfully, this book takes place in Indonesia, instead of the Louisiana swamp, a welcome change of pace from many of Ms. Feehan’s recent books.

The Ghostwalker series is a mixture of science fiction and romance. It is heavily researched before hand and I always feel like I learn new things when reading it. This time, the author devoted a significant amount of time making sure that the science behind hemorrhagic viral infections was accurate and informative.

Although there is still a significant amount of romance / love interest story-line incorporated into these books, I personally feel they have edged further into the science fiction classification. The first few were much more romance-centered than the more recent instalments.

I did enjoy this book and read it very quickly. However, I have to admit I skimmed over several sections. I am really tired of this Ghostwalker team, and miss the original characters I fell in love with, some of whom have not been mentioned or seen in the books in more than a decade. Although I am glad I read this book, I am also very thankful I was able to borrow it from my library rather than purchase it.

** Spoiler Alert **

 

 

loved the wedding scenes between Draden and Shylah. Most romance stories do not include a wedding or will just gloss over it. It was sweet that they each put so much effort into personalizing their gifts to each other, particularly given the circumstances. It made me a little teary that all the other teams dressed up to honour the couple and watch the wedding take place over video screens. This was definitely my favourite aspect of the entire book.

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Hidden (Deep Ops #1)

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Hide. That’s all Pippa can do to escape the terror chasing her. But now that she’s off the grid in a safe house, she finds plenty of interesting things to watch through the window. Like her new neighbor, with his startling green eyes, killer smile, and sexy bad-boy tattoo . . .

Run. Malcolm West is fleeing the hell he unleashed in his last assignment as an undercover cop. A backwoods bungalow sounds like the perfect place to start over. Until he discovers he’s been set up . . .

Fight. Someone’s gone to a lot of trouble to bring them together. No matter how much he resents that, and his own driving needs, Malcolm will have to dig deep and let loose the banished killer inside himself, or Pippa’s fears could come true faster than the flip of a bolt in a lock .

—                         —                         —

Hidden is a great new romantic suspense novel from Rebecca Zanetti. It is the premiere of the Deep Ops series, and there are two more books coming up in a couple of months. I love it when an author doesn’t keep fans waiting for long periods of time!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it in one sitting. Zanetti introduces quite a few secondary characters and arching plot points that are clearly meant to carry the series through more than just the first book. I like when this happens in a series. To me, “community” within a book is what sets a series apart from standalones!

Most of the characters are a little whacky. You can tell that the world has chewed them up and spit them out and they are more than a little out of sync with society because of it. But it also leads to some interesting situations and wildly amusing anecdotes in the midst of a serious and fast-paced plot.

Even the dog is crazy!

West came up on the other side in case the dog made a move on Nari. What was it with the tie? It was blue with a red crisscross design on it. Pretty boring…

Force handed the tie to Roscoe. Snarling and growling, the dog took it over to the corner, where he started ripping it apart.

Tension permeated the room. Adrenaline flowed freely.

Forced eyed his calming dog. “I thought we were doing better with that. Hmmm. Okay”.

Suffice it to say, no one wore argyle again.

There is a lot of action in the Hidden, from shootouts and knife fights to bombs and abduction. This quote is from the start of one of my favourite scenes.

Strong arms banded around her waist from behind, and a hand clapped over her mouth. Her body seized. It took a second for her brain to catch up with reality.

She tried to scream and the large, male hand muffled the sound. The man lifted her right off her feet and turned, forcing her past the archway in the opposite direction from her car. Panic burst through her, and she started to struggle, fighting against him with all her strength.

I would highly recommend this book to readers of romantic suspense!

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Buying Beth (Disciples #3)

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I thought he bought me to save me… but he’s keeping me for himself.

It was a girl’s night out gone wrong. Like some awful horror movie, my friends and I were grabbed in a dark parking lot and shoved into the back of a van.

Coming from powerful families, we thought we were untouchable.

We thought wrong.

Our captors trapped us, violated us, and put us up for sale on the black market.

Johnathan was sent to buy me so his boss, Lucifer, could have leverage over my father.

He was supposed to save me, protect me, and return me.

Not claim me and keep me for himself.

—                         —                         —

For dark and sinister mobsters, these guys can’t help but fall in love with a damsel and sign up for the instant family!

Jonathan goes undercover for Lucifer’s crime organization as a human trafficker, in place to purchase sex slaves for his boss. In reality, he is helping to shut down a ring that thinks they can operate in Lucifer’s city without his approval. But lets just go with Jonathan is the good guy here.

He buys Beth and a little boy while undercover, but instead of letting them go when the traffickers have been killed, he decides to keep them. Thomas is only six and has no family to be returned to, and Beth instantly becomes the apple of Johnnie’s eye. Add in her politically powerful and highly abusive father, and there is no way that Jonathan is letting either of those two out of his sight.

Jonathan is big and scary and romantic. Beth wasn’t a bimbo which was an improvement over the heroine in the first romance story. If you like dark (ish) romance, mafia heroes and single-mother love stories, this is one for you.

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Stealing Amy (Disciples #2)

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They grabbed the wrong girl.

They thought I was his wife, not the woman he’s obsessed with.

Ivan Romanov is one of the Russian mafia’s biggest financial backers.

And he’s been destroying my life piece by piece just to get me in his bed.

I never wanted to be in this situation.

Stalked.
Cornered.
Desperate.

I was doomed. About to be forced by a powerful man who was willing to take what I didn’t want to give.

Then he came, a demon in the dark. A dark voice that told me to be a good girl if I want to live…

—                          —                          —

Stealing Amy is the second book in the Disciples mafia series. Poor Amy happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, with someone who is very much the wrong guy for her. She gets picked up by Andrew, a made man in Lucifer’s employ, along with their target, her date.

Given that Amy is currently classified as collateral damage, and that Andrew clearly wants to “keep” her, she is under orders to return to Andrew’s house and stay with him. Although, they pick up her five year old daughter along the way.

Stealing Amy has a lot of similarities to Keeping Lily in that sense.

In both cases, the man falls instantly in love and decides to keep the woman he is convinced is for him.

I have a feeling that this will be a repeating trend throughout the story.

The relationship between Andrew and little Abigail is adorable though. He clearly has limited experience with little girls, but will do anything to protect the little Princess and make sure she is on team Andrew in the war to win over her mother’s love and affection.

This is an interesting and enjoyable single mother /  mafia romance that you will be able to read in a couple of hours.

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