Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Review: Claiming His Fire by Ellis Leigh

Title: Claiming His Fire
Series: Feral Breed Motorcycle Club
Author: Ellis Leigh
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: June 16, 2015
Publisher: Kinship Press

A shifter with a secret that could destroy his world...
A witch without a coven to keep her grounded...
A fated destiny they'll have to fight to begin.

Shadow of the Feral Breed earned his road name by being a sneaky combatant—quite fitting considering he's been hiding the truth about his heritage for decades. With his life wrapped in secrets and lies to protect himself from the judgment of other shifters, he's become a master at keeping people at a distance. He's got a job to do, one that could potentially save the lives of the missing Omega females, and he refuses to let a little thing like honesty get in his way.

Fire witch Scarlett left her coven voluntarily after her sister's banishment, but she can't get over the pain of being shunned by the people she saw as her extended family. She keeps her relationships casual, avoiding any real commitment on the chance others may let her down again. But with her powers out of control and her element burning her from the inside out, she's on a path that can only end in ash.

After a chance meeting leads to a fiery clash, Shadow and Scarlett work hard to break themselves apart as the thread of destiny pulls them closer together. But secrets and lies aren't a stable foundation for a relationship, and the walls between them are easier to build higher than to tear down. When the truth comes out and the smoke clears, will their fragile connection be burnt through or tempered by the heat? And can their fated bond survive the war brewing in their world?

My rating:

What the hell just happened???!!!

Scarlett, having lived through betrayal, and by family to boot, has no intention of leaving anything to Fate. She's capable of making her own decisions. She's capable of choosing a man for herself, she doesn't need any red threads. And she has no intention of succumbing to a possible red thread crossing her path. No!

That's what Shadow of the Feral Breed hears when he meets his mate. No! But, being quite used to rejection and keeping his feelings hidden, he doesn't show how much her rejection hurts. If the woman doesn't want him, he's not about to force her. He's more than willing to leave town, and leave her be...But what if she doesn't want to let him be? What if Fate is stronger than anything else?

This series is getting better and better. And the stories are getting better and better as well. Stories, characters, conflict, reactions, interactions...And now we have suspense joining the fray. For reals. Yay!

I loved Shadow, yes, I know, I love (most) wolfies in this series, I can't help it. Where can I get one? He was such a gentleman, so kind, polite, and with impeccable manners, that completely belayed the beasts (yes, plural!) that moved underneath his skin. I like it when protective wolves come out to play, but that last shift...Ooh, boy, tingles all the way.
But as much as I loved Shadow, despite his top-secret crap (he can keep secrets) and his martyr complex (he's been dealt one bad hand too many in his life), I really disliked Scarlett at the beginning. The way she acted toward him, toward anybody that might want to come close, actually, the way she pushed people away...I felt she went to far in her bitchiness. She wasn't distrusting and jittery, she was downright mean at times, and it quickly started to jar with the story. Whenever she was in a scene, the natural flow of the story stopped. But once she snapped out of her funk, it was all smooth sailing.

In the character, their interactions and romance department that is. Everything else wasn't as smooth. And I loved the hell out of it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about story elements, flow, voice, or pacing. That was great all around. I'm talking about the bumps the story brought along, the bigger picture slowly, but surely forming, yet still eluding. The suspense came out to play and it brought the big guns. That solitary scene from Claiming His Beauty came out to haunt Beast (and this reader), providing a short reprieve, but that lucky retrieval was just the calm before a storm.
The entire story, the whole series before this one, was one hell of calm before a storm. Until chapter twenty rolled along (aptly subtitled and so it begins...) when all hell broke loose, along with a fiery tornado...And then abruptly ended, prompting the exclamation that is written at the beginning of this review.

I was all goose-bumpy and ready to fight when it all ended. Thank the Goddess I have the next book on my Kindle and I don't have to wait to read it. Binge-reading is sometimes a blessing.

As I was saying...Now we're talking. Great characters, lovely romance, engaging story, wonderful pacing, a whole lot of foreshadowing, intriguing suspense and mystery, and one hell of a fightus-interruptus at the end. I can't wait to see what happens next. God, I'm goose-bumpy all over again.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Review: Claiming His Beauty by Ellis Leigh

Title: Claiming His Beauty
Series: Feral Breed Motorcycle Club
Author: Ellis Leigh
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: February 23, 2015
Publisher: Kinship Press

A shifter living a life hindered by regret...
A woman praying for a chance at a future...
A moment of fate that refuses to be denied.

Beast of the Feral Breed has spent years avoiding interacting with people. Other than the two shifters he considers family, his life has revolved around the engines he loves to work on, the ink he decorates his body with, and the scars of a past he wishes he could forget. When a witch shows him a vision of his future—one with a family he knows he can never have—his solitary life implodes, and he embarks on a trip that drops him exactly where he doesn’t think he should be.

Calla wants to escape the hell she’s living, but between her low-paying job and the danger lurking in the woods, running alone isn’t an option. Desperate, she spends her time praying for someone to help free her from a life she fears will be cut short. The human woman never realized the dangers of dating a wolf shifter…until he showed his claws.

When Beast falls into Calla’s life, he’s more than a little surprised to meet his mate—a woman he knows he should walk away from. But danger hovers around every corner, and Beast refuses to leave her vulnerable. Protecting one human woman wouldn’t be a challenge, but Beast has to battle his past mistakes, stay under the radar of the local pack, and rescue two people he never expected to love. One of whom has yet to take her first breath.

My rating:

When Amber, the air witch, shows him a glimpse of a woman, Beast of the Feral Breed knows she's his mate. Even only a vision of her calls to him, beckons him. But he knows he can't have her. He's too late, she's lost to him, because the woman in the vision is pregnant.

His wolf close to the surface, suffering as much as the man is, Beast takes off, running away from the vision, and his desire...But Fate would not be deterred, for he runs straight to his mate...And there is no way he'd run away again, for Amber and her vision was right, his mate needs him...

Most of the time waiting is a pain, but sometimes it pays off handsomely and with interest. This is what happened with this series. Waiting for a good story, searching for plot amid "mating scenes" paid off with this book. With Beast's story.

I had a feeling he'd make the perfect hero when he first appeared in this series, and my gut wasn't wrong. Boy, was it right. Beast was everything I want from a romance hero. Tall, dark, handsome, scarred both way, but with an inner beauty, strength, and honor that make you stagger. He was protective, and hulking, without getting overbearing or forceful, the wolf and man completely in tune, working together to keep their mate safe, to gain and keep their mate's trust. If only there was such a man in real life. Gentle, caring, protective, a complete marshmallow on the inside (reading the epilogue almost made me melt), utterly belaying his somewhat scary "cover" of scars, tattoos, and piercings.
The contrast between a man's looks and his true nature was beautifully presented in this story, with a perfect counterpoint to our darling Beast.

I adored him, and I adored his mate for bringing out the best in her man, while also making him see he was worthy of anything he might want or desire. Calla truly was a perfect match for Beast, protective, resilient, and quite self-sufficient despite all life piled on her. She deserved a second chance, they both did, and they found each other to gain that second chance.

I can't tell you how happy I was for Calla to be pregnant, because that "obstacle" truly made the story come through, and the characters shine. I like the so-called mating scenes as much as the next gal, but damn, I was glad those took the back seat to the incredible love story between Beast and Calla.
For once we didn't have to go through the "we're mates, of course we love each other without never before meeting, let's fuck like bunnies for the rest of the story" spiel, but really got to know both characters, what made them tick, and see what drew one to the other, why they were worthy of having each other as mates, why they were compatible beside the peg-fits-in-the-hole thing.

There wasn't much suspense in this one, except for a brief glimpse into wider arc about the disappearing Omegas, and the whole local shifter pack doing bad things in the woods. I would've liked a more solid ending to the whole daddy issue, not knowing where the bastards is leaves a loose thread that's too ominous for my liking, but it's more a peeve than a complaint.

The story worked, from the first page to the last, the characters were great, their circumstances believable, the interactions wonderful, and the pacing was absolutely perfect. Not a step off, if you ask me. I would like for the next books in the series (I'm glad Savage Surrender wasn't a fluke) to follow the same path. I want more story. I need more story.

Because I absolutely loved this one.

Review: Heart of a Lawman by Patricia Rosemoor

Title: Heart of a Lawman
Series: Sons of Silver Springs
Author: Patricia Rosemoor
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: August 30, 2016
Publisher: Smashwords

Tragedy sent Bart Quarrels home to his dying father's side, but there was something wrong at the family ranch. Something wrong with the new horse wrangler he hired. Josie couldn't remember her past. But someone did. He was trying to kill her. Would Bart be able to protect her from the past that threatened their future together?

My rating:

***ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Bart comes back home to his father's ranch, weary of his father's motives, but that's not what keeps his thoughts occupied. That "privilege" us usurped by the beautiful, and very mysterious woman he meets while she tries to rescue a cat from an abandoned building.

Josie is a woman with no past. Well, a woman who cannot remember her past. Her life is a blank slate, but for the feeling of being in danger, of being hunted, and the short flashes of what she thinks are her memories. Nothing specific, but the fear of a man beating her. No wonder she's jittery.

Looking for a job in a ghost town throws her and Bart together, but their fragile relationship might not have a happy ending.

This used to be a Harlequin release back in the day and it shows. I didn't mind the slightly dated feel of the story, I minded everything else. The pacing was atrocious, the characters all over the place, the glimpses of the villain's point of view jarring, the suspense stilted...I didn't like anything about it, really. Just kept turning the pages, hoping the end was near.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Review: Claiming Their Forever (anthology) by Ellis Leigh

Title: Claiming Their Forever
Series: Feral Breed Motorcycle Club
Author: Ellis Leigh
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Kinship Press

Lost moments and deleted scenes from the bestselling Feral Breed series.

From the quiet after the storm in Claiming His Witch to a private moment as two mates start their future, these stories let you revisit your favorite Feral Breed couples. Together, they will claim their forevers.

My rating:

Claiming Their Forever was what I wanted from Rebel and Charlotte in the first place. They actually talked to each other...Or Rebel talked to her, and actually listened when she talked to him. They talked, they listened, they understood, they compromised, and the mated (the whole bity thing). And the inevitable sex scene "felt" better because of it. They weren't just going at it (as usual), there was something behind it—emotion, connection, understanding...

Progress, people!

Death of a Witch was absolutely perfect with friendship, family and budding new bonds on the forefront. Sarah, the old witch who raised Amber, Azurine and Scarlett, made sure her girls were taken care of before she left for the Summerlands. Sweet and a little sad with a promise of a fair future.

The Car Revealed was very PWP-ish, but who cares. They did it in a Camaro. All is forgiven if it happens in a Camaro. ;)

Christmas with Rebel...Well, I know this is a collection of deleted scenes, but this was utterly unnecessary if you ask me. It was funny once the true gift was revealed, but that was it. Whatever...

Bitches Don't Ride...Sweet. I loved Kaija going all badass on a wolf, and I loved Gates going all crazy (in a good way) on Kaija. I love these two together. Hot, sweet, and sexy.

Awwww, Domestication was the perfect ending to Phoenix-formerly-known-as-Pup and Azurine's story. They were almost unbearably cute in this story, and Phoenix's gift for her, and her gift for him (which I suspected from the start) were just perfect. Sweet, cute, and "sunny".

Review: The Gathering: Homecoming by Ellis Leigh

Title: The Gathering: Homecoming
Series: The Gathering Tales
Author: Ellis Leigh
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Kinship Press

You are cordially invited to the event of the season...

Please be our guest as the National Association of the Lycan Brotherhood hosts the seventy-eighth annual Gathering. The biggest event of the social season, the Gathering has become the favorite method of networking among packs and bringing together fated mates. At the Gathering, shifters from across the country show up to show off and to see who’s the true leader of the pack.

And finally, follow as our triad heads back to Merriweather Fields, the opulent home of the president of the National Association of the Lycan Brotherhood. Blasius and Dante must make their mate Moira feel welcome, but their mountain girl has trouble finding her footing on marble floors.

Come and enjoy tales from the biggest shifter event of the year as wolves from around the country fall in lust, in love, and in fate at the Gathering.

My rating:

And this is what happens when you base a relationship on sex. There's no communication.

Slightly more plot-filled than the first book about this "sacred triad" of mates, but still very PWP-ish. With a heroine beyond annoying to boot. I liked Moira in the first three stories, well, the first two, when she was the sound of reason, but here...She was just a whiny bitch that had no idea what the hell she really wanted.


Review: The Gathering: Blasius, Dante and Moira by Ellis Leigh

Title: The Gathering: Blasius, Dante and Moira
Series: The Gathering Tales
Author: Ellis Leigh
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: January 5, 2015
Publisher: Kinship Press

You are cordially invited to the event of the season...

Please be our guest as the National Association of the Lycan Brotherhood hosts the seventy-eighth annual Gathering. The biggest event of the social season, the Gathering has become the favorite method of networking among packs and bringing together fated mates. At the Gathering, shifters from across the country show up to show off and to see who’s the true leader of the pack.

The final party of the weekend is a time to relax and enjoy the company of your fellow shifters. As the Gathering draws to a close, NALB President Blasius and his longtime mate Dante finally find the woman destined to complete their triad. Moira O’Shea is thrilled that her brother and friends have found their mates, but jealousy has a way of undermining even the happiest of times. When the three fated lovers finally meet, Blasius and Dante have to convince an uncertain Moira of their desire to include her in every aspect of their relationship.

Come and enjoy tales from the biggest shifter event of the year as wolves from around the country fall in lust, in love, and in fate at the Gathering.

My rating:

Hmmm...I have no idea how to review this one. I sort of liked it, I liked the characters as individuals, but once they all got together, I couldn't help but feel the story was a check off a list item...Ménage, check. I mean, we had it all so far, except a threesome. How convenient that the heroine had some experience in the "field." (◔_◔)

I don't like ménage stories on a principle. I don't understand them. I'm not a sharing type of gal. If the guy's mine, I ain't sharing, so I don't get the whole sharing thing. I also don't get why does it always (at least in those stories I've read) have to be two guys on one girl. What about girl power? Why can't two shewolves share a wolf? How convenient (again) that in this universe there are so few shewolves that they have to be mated off to a single (or two) guy(s). (◔_◔)

In short, this story wasn't bad, but it wasn't all that good either. The check-off-a-list-item thing really bothered me. And since I didn't truly believe the connection between Blasius, Dante, and Moira (the bond between the two guys was believable and had emotion behind it), their scenes lacked the "hotness" the author meant to present.

But there was Bez! I can't want to re-read his story, because...BEZ!

Review: The Gathering: Gideon and Kalie by Ellis Leigh

Title: The Gathering: Gideon and Kalie
Series: The Gathering Tales
Author: Ellis Leigh
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: December 22, 2014
Publisher: Kinship Press

You are cordially invited to the event of the season...

Please be our guest as the National Association of the Lycan Brotherhood hosts the seventy-eighth annual Gathering. The biggest event of the social season, the Gathering has become the favorite method of networking among packs and bringing together fated mates. At the Gathering, shifters from across the country show up to show off and to see who’s the true leader of the pack.

Day two of the Gathering is set aside for interpack business. Shewolf Kalie and her new mate find this truth out the hard way, as her Alpha demands she spend time with another male shifter in the hope of an alliance. Gideon Kelly assumed finding his mate would be the hardest part of the Gathering, but watching Kalie be charmed by another man while he’s forced to stay on the outside tests the shifter’s control. When an innocent gesture is taken out of context, Gideon goes from respecting an Alpha’s rules to breaking them, while Kalie fights for her right to claim and be claimed.

Come and enjoy tales from the biggest shifter event of the year as wolves from around the country fall in lust, in love, and in fate at the Gathering.

My rating:

While its predecessor was cute, sexy, and funny, this one was its opposite. Not cute, not sexy, and not funny. It just was. He was in his wolf form in the woods, she was on her balcony, their eyes met, they got to "know" each other in her closet, she went to a luncheon with another wolf, he went a little crazy, they fucked in the hallway, decided she'd move into his pack, since she's an Omega, and went for another bout in the closet. The end.

Formulaic, template-y, and bland.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Review: The Gathering: Killian and Lyra by Ellis Leigh

Title: The Gathering: Killian and Lyra
Series: The Gathering Tales
Author: Ellis Leigh
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: December 7, 2014
Publisher: Kinship Press

You are cordially invited to the event of the season...

Please be our guest as the National Association of the Lycan Brotherhood hosts the seventy-eighth annual Gathering. The biggest event of the social season, the Gathering has become the favorite method of networking among packs and bringing together fated mates. At the Gathering, shifters from across the country show up to show off and to see who’s the true leader of the pack.

The black-tie welcoming dinner will be the perfect chance to meet Killian O'Shea, Alpha of the Appalachia pack. Killian's rough, tough, and built for fighting, which is a good thing as he's got a road-blocking Alpha standing between him and his destiny. Lyra, Killian's newfound mate, likes the way he disregards the rules keeping them apart. She's ready to risk it all for the bigger-than-life Alpha who makes her heart race.

Come and enjoy tales from the biggest shifter event of the year as wolves from around the country fall in lust, in love, and in fate at the Gathering.

My rating:

***eBook available for free on Amazon***

He came, he saw, he conquered.

Killian O'Shea never expected to find his mate the minute he walked into The Gathering, but there she was. Unfortunately, her Alpha had other plans for Lyra, but the idiot soon learned there is no stepping between Killian and his mate.

This was such a cute little story, it brought a smile to my face. It was short, yet sweet, sexy and hot. I loved Killian to bits, the guy was a hoot, especially when he showed the mating mark Lyra put on him (I still grin at the memory), and Lyra, although she didn't make quite the impression her mate did (although we looked to half of the story through her eyes), was obviously perfect for him.

Loved it.

Review: Claiming His Witch by Ellis Leigh

Title: Claiming His Witch
Series: Feral Breed Motorcycle Club
Author: Ellis Leigh
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: October 29, 2014
Publisher: Kinship Press

A shifter fighting for his place in the Feral Breed
A witch searching for a place in her coven
A love that breaks every boundary

Only ten years into his new life as a wolf shifter, Feral Breed MC prospect Pup is struggling to find his place. A throwaway kid in his human past, the only time he's ever felt at home is when he's riding with his Breed brothers. But a mistake that nearly ended the life of his leader's mate haunts him, and he'll stop at nothing to prove his worth.

Orphaned at birth, Azurine and her sisters have been raised on string magick, grimoires, and the strength of the elements around them. Growing up surrounded by the witches in their coven, there's never been a lack of a maternal element to support her. But she's always been the "middle Weaver," forced to accept the coven's refusal to see the girls as anything other than the Weaver triplets.

When a witch hunter invades the coven's home, the witches lash out at the nearest suspect... and one of their own. Betrayed by her coven, Azurine must choose between the only family she's ever known and the man fate tied to her soul. And as Pup tries to earn the respect of his club, he makes a decision that could cost him more than his place in the Feral Breed. It could cost him Azurine. Or his own life.

My rating:

Pup's been feeling weird ever since he sat on his bike to go visit Beast (and maybe Rebel, who's still jackass—at least at the start of the story) up north. And even when they meet up as their camp, something keeps calling him northnorthnorthnorth...So he heeds the call, his wolf doesn't give him the opportunity to refuse, but before he could go truly northnorthnorthnorth, two girls crash into their camp.

Azurine, the middle triplet of the family, the water witch, has been preparing for winter with the coven, but something's been calling her southsouthsouthsouth all day. So when the oldest of the coven, Sarah, the woman who practically raised her and her sisters, tells her to heed the call, Azurine goes southsouthsouthsouth, with her sister Scarlett (a fire witch) to light the way.

She immediately knows she's found what she was looking for when she crashes into a camp and comes eye to eye with a green-eyed wolf...Who turns into a man...Who turns out to have her red thread curled around him. In layman's terms—he's her soul mate.

The only problem is, she's a witch and he's a shape-shifter. And those supposedly kill witches. So her coven will not look fondly on their union...She has no idea.

And now we have witches thrown into the mix. Which is good, since there was more plot to focus on beside the goddamned mating haze, but still not good enough to get the rating up. It was boring, demanding a faster reading pace as its predecessor, because the pacing toward the end was so damn slow.

I liked the heroine. She wasn't a shifter, but she wasn't human either, so the notion of (soul) mates wasn't foreign to her, and the girl had some serious powers. Good for her. I loved the scene at the camp when she defended her sister with that tidal wave. Cool.
I liked her hero as well. I've had a soft spot for Pup since the first book, and although I didn't particularly like his stubborn refusal to finish the job (mate or no mate) and determination never to make mistakes—mistakes are part of life, kid, deal with it, I liked the Pup I got to see with Azurine. Sure, he was a sex-crazed as the other shifters when he found his mate, but the fact he was a young shifter (barely ten years old) helped in their interactions. He didn't demand, he took to heart lessons learned from Rebel's botched claiming, and he followed her lead, which was nice.
Okay, the fact he was too stubborn to see reason about the mated-wolves-don't-ride thing has to be excused a little, because it led to my favorite scene in the book (it's there, at the end of the blurb), the gripping, intense, heart-wrenching scene that made me realize Ms Leigh can write something other than fuck-scenes. So why doesn't she?

Anyway, moving on.

Again, there was a pinch of suspense thrown into the mix, which was never expanded or explored beside the fight that led to the aforementioned wonderful scene. Again, a big pity, because there could've been something there. Expand the other elements of the story, keep most of the mating behind closed doors (we don't have to know everything, for crying out loud, let's leave the idiots be), and you have balance in the story.

Despite the better, expanded plot thanks to the witches, their coven, their inner politics, and sibling rivalries and betrayals, the balance still wasn't there in this one. But it's getting better. Hopefully in the next story (Beast!), we'll get there.
I love Beast, by the way. I only met him recently, so I don't know much about him, but the fact the guy had the best lines in the book (I loved his nicknames for Scarlett) says a lot.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Review: Claiming His Need by Ellis Leigh

Title: Claiming His Need
Series: Feral Breed Motorcycle Club
Author: Ellis Leigh
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: September 8, 2014
Publisher: Kindship Press

He waited four hundred years for her...
She only ever wanted to find her mate...
Their time has come.

Gates is a legend among his fellow wolf shifters. For more than four centuries, he's lived without a mate, something nearly unheard of in his breed. He's spent that time mastering the art of the kill, becoming a lethal weapon for the Feral Breed Motorcycle Club, and earning a reputation as the Gatekeeper.

Kaija Wariksen grew up as the Valkoisus pack princess. The Alpha's only daughter and a powerful Omega shewolf, Kaija's beauty and place within the pack hierarchy makes her the focus of desire for many of the unmated males, especially one she's desperate to stay away from. She'd rather wait for her fated mate than be just another bed warmer for a man with more attitude than brains.

But when a territory dispute turns into a kidnapping, Gates and his Feral Breed brothers are called to assist the Valkoisus pack in a rescue operation. Gates soon discovers there's more in store for him than a fight. He finds his mate in the Alpha's daughter, a woman targeted by a mystery sect kidnapping Omega shifters. To keep the Valkoisus pack safe, the Feral Breed must put Kaija in danger, risking the only thing Gates has ever needed, and igniting a rage that could destroy the entire wolf shifter population.

My rating:

This was better than it's predecessor but still firmly in the "meh" territory despite Gates, the guy whose story I wanted to read since he appeared in this (so-far two-book) series, as its hero.

I just didn't connect with the story or the characters. Once more, the suspense element, although barely existent, was the best part of this story. I believe it's (it will be) the best part of the entire series and it seriously pisses me off how undeveloped it is. I know this new world needs to be built and presented to the reader, but still. If Ms Leigh would cut back on the whole mating shtick, although very hot, and much better developped and portrayed in this book (at least there was a connection beyond the physical—partial celibacy helped in allowing the two characters to get to know each other and develop a bond), and focus more on the suspense and the imminent danger to the Omegas, maybe tease a little with possible reasons behind the kidnappings, dangle the bait as to who "the boss" might be, the story as a whole would work much better and be more rounded. Instead, the focus on the mating, the attraction, the craving for sex, makes it all seem a little off. Unbalanced.

Also, developing a couple beyond the bedroom, make the reader feel the connection, show the mental, loving bond developing between them, wouldn't hurt. This whole "fate brought them together so they must now fuck without regard, without actually getting to know each other, they'll spend the rest of their lives together, so they'll have time to get to know each other" is getting old. Fast.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Review: Claiming His Fate by Ellis Leigh

Title: Claiming His Fate
Series: Feral Breed Motorcycle Club
Author: Ellis Leigh
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: August 2, 2014
Publisher: Kinship Press

Rebel Lynch has spent two hundred years searching for balance between his human side and his inner wolf. As a den President of The Feral Breed Motorcycle Club, a lack of control over the beast within isn't just a pain in the ass, it's a death sentence. One served by his club brothers: the judges, jury, and executioners of the wolf-shifting community.

At Amnesia Gentlemen’s Club, customers and staff check their real-world identities at the door. Charlotte, one of the club's best waitresses, ditched her legit career in corporate IT because she needs the kind of income those pesky IRS folks can’t track. When the smart-mouthed bombshell pulls a gig serving a private party, she expects nothing more than a few extra tips. That is until dirty-talking Rebel Lynch strolls into the room looking like sin incarnate, flashing motorcycle club colors, and blasting Charlotte's expectations about work, life, and love straight to hell.

One glance at Charlotte and Rebel knows she's his fated mate. But a wolf shifter is attacking women at the club, threatening Charlotte’s life, and putting the entire shifter community at risk of exposure. Rebel and his Feral Breed MC brothers must find the crazed shifter before he strikes again. If Rebel can't uncover the new monster in their midst—and learn to rein in the protective instincts of a fully mated Alpha—his future with Charlotte will be dead on arrival.

My rating:

***eBook available for free on Amazon***

The Feral Breed Motorcycle Club Four Corners (I think), is tasked with finding (and apprehending) a man-eater, a shifter that went beyond rogue and is now snacking on humans. And they should start looking at a gentleman’s club.

When he enters the private party they’d thrown as a cover, Rebel, the Club’s Alpha, immediately knows something’s wrong. Or incredibly right. It actually depends on an individual’s opinion. He’s found his mate. And she’s human. And she has no idea there are wolf shifters in her world. Or what being mate to one entails.

All Charlotte knows is, the guy is smoking hot and she wants nothing more than to throw him on the grounds and have her wicked way with him. Only he beats her to it, after first buying her at an auction to save her...

I was truly disappointed when I finished this story. It wasn’t that long, so it didn’t take much time, but the second half really dragged for me. Not because of the pacing, but because of the hero, Rebel, Reb for short. He could also have been called Jackass, Ass for short. It would be a more appropriate name, if you ask me, because he was more of a jackass than he was a rebel, but maybe that’s just me.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? The beginning was great. Up to the big rescue and wolfy reveal, the story was good. Maybe a little too “explicit” as far as the start of the “mating” goes, since the heroine had no idea what mating really was and the hero could maybe have taken it a little “easy”, but hey, that’s also probably just me.
The fact is, their first scene together didn’t gel with the context of the story and the non-knowledge of humans about wolf shifters and their “rituals”. Also, it didn’t gel with all Jackass’ proliferations about not being dictated to by the wolf, of keeping the wolf at bay...Of basically rebelling his nature.

Otherwise, it was good. Especially the suspense or twisted man-eater (whom I’d called the soon as he appeared on the page, so, a little predictable) part, but alas that was short-lived, and the twisted man-eater was quickly apprehended.

And that’s where the problems started.

Well, the main problem of the hero being a jackass. Yes, he was a “rebel”, yes, he was more than two hundred years old, but a smart man (or beast) should’ve been acclimatized to the century he was living in. Well, he truly was a “rebel”, because it seemed everybody else around him, even wolves older than him, knew they were living in the twenty-first century and acted and though accordingly.
He also had a human mate who until recently had no idea shifters even existed, so he should’ve shown a little more consideration...But no, “rebels” don’t do that. “Rebels” demand and expect to be obeyed, they don’t know the word compromise, and women should just shut up and roll over.

What a jackass.

I don’t know how I felt about Charlotte really, since we spent more time in Jackass’ head than hers (I hated the first-person POV jumping from one to the other, couldn’t we just have had an omniscient narrator?), except she had that big TSTL moment still in the good part of the story, that didn’t endear her to me at all.

And since I didn’t particularly like either character, the “romance” thing didn’t really work for me. I couldn’t even categorize it as romance, since there was nothing “romantic” between them at all. They saw, they wanted, they fucked. End of story. They’d supposedly pined for each other in between when she left him and the Jackass pulled his head out of his ass, laid down his club, pulled on some pants, and left his cave, but I didn’t believe it. I didn’t see it. I was told and that was it.
And what do they do when they’re finally reunited? They fucked. Again. Yes, fucked. Crude, but true. There was no feeling behind any of their interactions, naked or non- (before or after, not even in the final scene, Coffee Date, which was published in the author’s newsletter and you can find it as a bonus in the Feral Breed: Volume One set). They’re supposed to be mates, but they didn’t act like it (not even Jackass who was the one more in the know about these things). There was no romance, no love, no tenderness, not even passion, just lust and the going-through-the-motions slaking of it.

As I said many times, and I repeat here, the characters make the story, and if the characters aren’t interesting, engaging, and their relationship isn’t based on something “solid”, the story suffers. This one certainly did.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Review: Savage Surrender by Ellis Leigh

Title: Savage Surrender
Series: The Devil's Dires
Author: Ellis Leigh
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: May 10, 2016
Publisher: Kinship Press

There’s no escaping a Dire Wolf on the hunt...

Feared by even his own kind, Bez of the Dire Wolf shifters knows exactly how to succeed in any battle. Even if that means racking up collateral damage along the way. A simple mission into the swamplands to save a teenage wolf shifter should have been an easy track and retrieval for a man with his training, but nothing comes easy when the fates get involved.

In one night, Omega Sariel went from a free, single shewolf to a captive with a teenage girl to watch over and a couple of guards intent on making her life miserable…what little is left of it. Then a soldier with ice in his eyes walks in, and the mating call begins. He’s too tough, too harsh, too murderous…but when your life hangs in the balance, a lethal fighter in your corner is better than battling alone. Especially one who isn’t afraid to get a little dirty with her.

Two kidnapped women, one dangerous soldier unknowingly about to come face-to-face with fate, and a monster set on destroying everything in its path. In the world of the Dire Wolves, a retrieval is a simple mission for the unit of soldiers that make up their pack. But this time, a single glance blows simple right out of the swamp and forces Bez to make his stand alone.

One soldier, one chance at forever.

My rating:

***copy provided by publisher through NetGalley (in Bad Boys After Dark set)***

The Omega's, the she-wolf shifters, the last remnants of the Dire Wolves females, are going missing. But the Lycans might finally have an opening. The latest to disappear was a fifteen-year old Omega and the president sent his best tracker, one of the last seven remaining Dire Wolves, long thought extinct, to track her down, save her, and bring her kidnappers in for questioning.

Beelzebub, Bez for short, find the little Omega, but it’s her older companion, also taken captive, that draws his attention. Turns out Sariel is also an Omega...And Bez’s mate. For the first time in his life, Bez is willing, able, and more than capable of forsaking orders. He’s not about to leave his mate in the lurch while he saves the one he’s been sent to save. They’re both coming with him...

Now, this is a paranormal after my own heart. I’ve never been overly fond of wolf-y shape-shifters (I’m more of a vampire kind of gal), but after reading this story, I had a change of heart. I love wolf-y shape-shifters.

I loved Bez, so controlled, so “soldier-y”, so Zen, and then...poof, he meets the girl, and everything he’s lived for in his life (order, orders, discipline, control...) goes out through the chimney, leaving just one prerogative—protect his mate.
And Sariel was the perfect mate for this taciturn, brooding soldier. She was a damsel, she knew that, she knew she couldn’t hold a candle to Bez, and his strength, and abilities, so she let him do his thing without once jumping into the fray and endangering herself. She knew that worrying about her would be his weakness, so she stayed out of his way (of course, the other main character in this story, the other Omega, the teenager, wasn’t so smart, so the two were in danger, but it all ended well). I also liked the fact she didn’t whine or lecture about his ways of conducting his “business” (you know, killing things) or push him away because of his “profession”. She was actually proud of him, and supportive (which puts her firmly on my heroines-I-love-to-bits shelf).
And the two of them together were so adorable. So utterly awkward at the beginning, circling each other not knowing what to do or say. I loved their interaction from beginning to end, the progress of their relationship. I loved Bez’s confession about kissing (aww) and I loved the scorching hot scene they shared before all hell broke loose. It was hot, quick, and sweaty, but so incredibly sensual (all the growling got to me a little ^_^).

Yes, as I said a million times before, the characters make a story for me. You can have a great plot, but if your characters are worth shit, it’s not going to work no matter what cartwheels you have them perform. The characters hold the story, and this two made a great job of it.

That doesn’t mean the plot and its various elements don’t count. They do, and Ms Ellis did wonders in this (short) story. The suspense (although not the main element) worked wonderfully, the romance aspect (as mentioned) was perfectly incorporated, working in the context of the story and its characters, and the action scenes were diverse, and yet each packing a punch. The tension and the danger were palpable, the battle scene in the end vivid and chilling...Everything, every single aspect of the story, worked perfectly together, creating an action-packed, thrilling, sexy read.