Sleuthing with the Enemy

BOOK 1: To Trust a Wolf  by  Danielle Hardgrave

Sleuthing with the Enemy  description:

Somebody just stole a valuable artifact from the Helsen archives, and Annemette Helsen—a very pissed off werewolf—is going to make sure they pay for it.
There’s just one problem: Anna’s only suspect is the arrogant vampire prince, Jonas Weiss. He’s cocky, frustrating, and a little bit sexy. Okay, a lot sexy.
He also claims to be innocent, so the fact that she just broke into his home and attacked him is problematic.
And his price for keeping silent about the whole debacle? Downright devious.

BOOK 2: Sleuthing with the Enemy   4 STARS

This was far more developed than the first book, and you really get a good look into the set up of the supernatural world. We get a lot more of their lore, and how their governing systems work within their hidden community. While Helen and Rune do show up a bit in here, it’s really all about Annemette and Jonas, and I like how this is moving forward from the last book, and showing the significance of the bracelet from the first. Anna and Jonas have some clear chemistry from the beginning, but Hardgrave does a great job of really developing the characters and not just having them jump in together. Anna, especially, goes through a lot of growth in this story, and it really helps you feel for them. That being said, this book has its wonderful moments of hilarity. I found myself giggling and blushing on behalf of Anna with all the awkward situations she gets herself into. Altogether a great balance of action and humor. You should definitely be as happy as I was for Benji to show up again, and that mystery that continues to follow him has me dying to know more. However, there’s 2 big questions I have to ask. First, how is it that there aren’t any cops coming after Rune after that whole thing of Helen reporting him for theft and assault? Second, what the heck is a permie? I mean I get that’s their slang for regular human, but where did that term come from, because it sounds like something you’d call someone with a bad perm job. Would love some explanations. Hopefully it’ll come in the next book, which I will be snatching up as soon as possible.

The Tomb of the Sea Witch

BOOK 1: The Beast of Talesend  by  Kyle Robert Shultz

The Tomb of the Sea Witch   description:

Private detective Nick Beasley used to be a debunker of magic–and a human being. Then he found out magic is real. The hard way. Now he’s on the run from a powerful council of enchanters who want him dead, along with his little brother Crispin and the renegade enchantress Lady Cordelia Beaumont.

So when Cordelia suggests going undercover at a stronghold of the Council’s power–the Warrengate Academy of Advanced Magic–Nick isn’t exactly thrilled with the idea. Cordelia insists that the school may hold the key to Nick regaining his humanity: an ancient spell created by the Sea Witch from the tale of the Little Mermaid.

But the mission proves to be more complicated than Beaumont and Beasley had expected. An ancient threat is rising from the deep, bringing an army of the dead along with it. Shocking revelations send Nick, Cordelia, and Crispin on a harrowing journey under the sea.

The Sea Witch is not quite as dead as everyone believes…and her secrets will change everything.

BOOK 2: The Tomb of the Sea Witch   5 STARS

At this point I just need Shultz to go back and write a book for every fairy tale, and the truth of how it all actually went down, because his versions seem far better than the way we’ve been told them. Now if you liked the first book even just a little bit, you definitely have to read this one. We’re really delving into the world of magic, and all the beings that have been in hiding in the Afterlands. I rather liked that they ended up at a school of magic (not for villains but anti-heroes), because it was an instant view into everything that’s been hidden from the rest of the world, and a look at their history and how they interact with others. More so, Nick, Crispin, and Cordelia felt more balanced in this book. They’re more of a team, and the humor flows really well in contrast to all the insanity that’s going on around them. Plus it’s just adorable how every animal Crispin comes across loves him, which is understandable considering how much he cares for every new thing he finds. Yet, it’s not just them that you love, it’s all the new characters being added and really filling out the story and giving us an exciting plot on their journey to uncurse Nick. I particularly liked the class of Mythfits, and even the show of their own fear of having to survive without magic, and why they’re so terrified of mermaids. There’s endless reasons to enjoy this story, and the world that’s being created here, you can’t help but dive right in. I only hope the next book comes out quickly, especially with those interesting tidbits Shultz left at the end.

 

Barbarian’s Rescue

Due to the number of books in this series I’m just going to add the link to the list of books I’ve reviewed by Ruby Dixon.

Barbarian’s Rescue  by  Ruby Dixon  description:

Bad day? Try mine on for size.
Rogue slavers have landed on the ice planet and captured the tribe. The only ones not snatched? Me, a walking human motormouth with no skill except that of incoherent babbling, and Warrek, who’s as silent as he is attractive. Two more unlikely people have never been paired together.
And now we’re supposed to form a rescue team.

Saving the others is either going to bring us closer together – or drive us completely apart. I’m pretty sure the feelings I’m having for my alien companion are as unrequited as they are inappropriate, but since we aren’t going to make it out alive, what harm is one teeny, tiny kiss?
Who knew that one kiss could change everything?

BOOK 15: Barbarian’s Rescue   5 STARS

There are so many reasons to love this book. I love Summer, and her inability to shut up and her need to fill the silence makes her a rather amusing character, but she isn’t just some silly girl. With the need to rescue her new tribe, it’s her ability to strategize and think of every angle that ends up saving the day. Yes, she needs Warrec and he’s definitely no slouch in the saving-the-day department, but I love that she’s not just some helpless female. She plays the biggest role in all of it, and the twist near the end in their relationship (you’ll know what I’m talking about) was hilariously perfect. Got to love a woman that knows what she wants and goes for it. Lets not forget how sweet and good Warrec is, and bless his heart for being so quiet he struggles to know what’s the right thing to say or how to express himself. He’s a good balance for Summer, and I do like that it’s delving more into the worry and possibility of resonating with someone other than the one you actually love. While in some ways I fear that ever happening, it is a possibility in this world, and I like that it’s not something the characters are just ignoring or willing to just say the khui will decide like the Sa-Khui tend to be willing to do. Though in past books it shows not all of them were so willing to go along with such either.

Spoiler Alert: While it’s not a real complaint, since it wasn’t enough to knock it from 5 stars, it does kind of bother me that in those crates while all the men were aliens all the women were human. I understand obviously for the readers a human woman may be easier to relate too, but I enjoyed the books about Farli and Asha as much as I did about any of the humans, and so it would’ve been nice to throw in perhaps an alien woman too just considering that this is a huge galaxy and if they’re trading in alien men why wouldn’t they trade in alien women. Or perhaps even have thrown in a human man. Something to kind of mix things up a bit more. Once again it wasn’t that big of a deal, and I’m sure I’ll love all the books to come dealing with these new comers, but it’s just a thought.

To Trust a Wolf

To Trust a Wolf   by  Danielle Hardgrave   description:

A list of things Helen Jurist never expected to see in her museum:

1. Viking relics
2. A dangerously seductive Dane with a suspicious interest in Viking relics
3. Werewolves

With the discovery of the Cutler Hoard, Helen may be forced to strike the word “never” from her vocabulary.

BOOK 1: To Trust a Wolf    4 STARS

I have to admit that within the same old story of werewolves and vampires the part that shines brightest is Helen. Here is finally a heroine that I can relate too whole heartedly. A no nonsense woman, who doesn’t get hysterical at the sight of mythical creatures, but instead takes it in realizes what’s happening and moves forward from there. While she can’t help but notice how handsome Rune is, and is at times swayed by his charm, she doesn’t let him stop her from trying to do what’s right and find the truth. But mostly a woman whose more about research and organization than some magical quest. I just feel like this here is a real woman, or maybe it’s just because that would so be me. And while Rune is a character I did quite enjoy, I believe Benji was far more intriguing. A being whose hypnotic powers felt more like that of the old tales of vampires, and I’m very curious to see what he’s all about. Altogether it was a good book, with some twists and romance to keep you coming back for more, though it does feel like it was over rather quickly. Regardless, I’ll definitely be picking up the next book as soon as I can.

The Festival

The Festival by H.P. Lovecraft  description:

“The Festival” is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft written in October 1923 and published in the January 1925 issue of Weird Tales. It is considered to be one of the first of his Cthulhu Mythos stories.

The Festival   4 STARS

This was a short story that leaves you wanting more, but afraid of getting it. I love the use of ambiguity in this sort of horror. The sort of telling that leaves your own fears to fill in the blanks. Yet with all the questions it makes you wonder how did any of it happen? Why was this person really brought there? It seems like he’s always known of this sort of pagan celebration that predates Christmas, and yet everything was very much unknown to him. More so, I like that Lovecraft brings in things from previous stories, like his fictitious author, Abdul Alhazred, whose book keeps being mentioned and seems to be tied to so many different terrifying events. It helps to build a world in such a short time, and I quite enjoyed the thrill.

The Nameless City

The Nameless City  by  H.P. Lovecraft

“The Nameless City” is a horror story written by H. P. Lovecraft in January 1921 and first published in the November 1921 issue of the amateur press journal The Wolverine. It is often considered the first Cthulhu Mythos story.

The Nameless City of the story’s title is an ancient ruin located somewhere in the deserts of the Arabian Peninsula and is older than any human civilization.

The Nameless City   2 STARS

This is an extremely short story. It is also the first story I’ve read by Lovecraft. Perhaps because I’ve read so much about him and know his stories are about the strange unknown horrible things that lurk in the night I wasn’t surprised by how this went about. The main character seems to have held onto denial a bit too much, but I do understand that sense of adventure and need to know that can drive a person into places they know they shouldn’t go. It’s that foolhardy idiocy of sensing something in the dark, being afraid it’s probably there to kill you, but having to know exactly what it is before you die. That wanting to know the truth of the abyss is the driving force of this story, which it does well, but it fails in any real sense of horror since it is so obvious from the get go. And I honestly don’t get why this is considered the first of the Cthulhu stories, It really doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Cthulhu as much as some other creepy crawlies.

Love in the Afternoon

BOOK 1: Mine Till Midnight  by  Lisa Kleypas

BOOK 2: Seduce Me at Sunrise

BOOK 3: Tempt Me at Twilight

BOOK 4: Married by Morning

Love in the Afternoon   description:

As a lover of animals and nature, Beatrix Hathaway has always been more comfortable outdoors than in the ballroom. Even though she participated in the London season in the past, the classic beauty and free-spirited Beatrix has never been swept away or seriously courted… and she has resigned herself to the fate of never finding love. Has the time come for the most unconventional of the Hathaway sisters to settle for an ordinary man—just to avoid spinsterhood?

Captain Christopher Phelan is a handsome, daring soldier who plans to marry Beatrix’s friend, the vivacious flirt Prudence Mercer, when he returns from fighting abroad. But, as he explains in his letters to Pru, life on the battlefield has darkened his soul—and it’s becoming clear that Christopher won’t come back as the same man. When Beatrix learns of Pru’s disappointment, she decides to help by concocting Pru’s letters to Christopher for her. Soon the correspondence between Beatrix and Christopher develops into something fulfilling and deep… and when Christopher comes home, he’s determined to claim the woman he loves. What began as Beatrix’s innocent deception has resulted in the agony of unfulfilled love—and a passion that can’t be denied.

BOOK 5: Love in the Afternoon   5 STARS

I have to say, my only complaint about the book is that it could’ve been named something like Amour/Amore in the Afternoon, or something to keep the double letter going like the other books. Other than that, this book is just as wonderful as the rest of the series and then some. Beatrix has always been my favorite. Her patience with people and their quirks, her understanding of relationships and seeing things in people no one else does, and of course her love of all animals that she wants to take in, make her such a fun character. It was wonderful to have a book all about her. While of course the rest of the Hathaways and their spouses do make appearances here or there, none of them are that big of a part of the book, other than being outsiders speculating on what is going on with their innocent Beatrix and that troubled Captain Phelan. Now Christopher was surprising choice for a suitor, and yet now it’s so obviously perfect. I’m also glad Kleypas didn’t brush over the struggles returning soldiers can have integrating back into society. As terrible as it is to have PTSD now, it’s worse to imagine it during a time when no one understood such, and it was taboo to even discuss the struggles one was going through. But I truly liked how the relationship began between the two, there’s something so romantic about writing letters, I wish people still did so. Yet, it was even more curious to see how Christopher viewed her when he got back not knowing that this was the actual woman whose letters he’d fallen in love with. Altogether it was a wonderful book, and I’m sad to see this series end.

Married by Morning

BOOK 1: Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas

BOOK 2: Seduce Me at Sunrise

BOOK 3: Tempt Me at Twilight

Married by Morning  description:

For two years, Catherine Marks has been a paid companion to the Hathaway sisters—a pleasant position, with one caveat. Her charges’ older brother, Leo Hathaway, is thoroughly exasperating. Cat can hardly believe that their constant arguing could mask a mutual attraction. But when one quarrel ends in a sudden kiss, Cat is shocked at her powerful response—and even more so when Leo proposes a dangerous liaison.

Leo must marry and produce an heir within a year to save his family home. Catherine’s respectable demeanor hides a secret that would utterly destroy her. But to Leo, Cat is intriguing and infernally tempting, even to a man resolved never to love again. The danger Cat tried to outrun is about to separate them forever—unless two wary lovers can find a way to banish the shadows and give in to their desires…

BOOK 4: Married by Morning  5 STARS

I love how it’s been building to this since book 2. Leo’s constant need to find Marks, as he calls her, to nettle her, and his drive to find out everything about her has really given this relationship an interesting foundation. It was definitely no love at first sight, as they seemed to drive each other crazy, and so how they went from thinking they hated each other to realizing they loved each other was a sweet and rather humorous journey. However, as funny as this book is, Kleypas does give this story a dark side when it comes to finding out the truth about Cat. It’s a serious subject that the author does not make light of, and it gives the plot a lot of depth and emotion. Just like the rest of the books in this series, it’s fast paced and you’ll be done before you know it. As usual we have all the Hathaway family back, being their usual selves, full of love and understanding and hope that make them so great to read about. Yet, it’s really Dodger who is the best little helper in driving people together. I can’t tell if he’s a guardian angel or a mischievous little devil, but I hope ferrets really are as adorable as he is.

Tempt Me at Twilight

BOOK 1: Mine Till Midnight  by  Lisa Kleypas

BOOK 2: Seduce Me at Sunrise

Tempt Me at Twilight  description:

Poppy Hathaway loves her unconventional family, though she longs for normalcy. Then fate leads to a meeting with Harry Rutledge, an enigmatic hotel owner and inventor with wealth, power, and a dangerous hidden life. When their flirtation compromises her own reputation, Poppy shocks everyone by accepting his proposal—only to find that her new husband offers his passion, but not his trust.

Harry was willing to do anything to win Poppy—except to open his heart. All his life, he has held the world at arm’s length…but the sharp, beguiling Poppy demands to be his wife in every way that matters. Still, as desire grows between them, an enemy lurks in the shadows. Now if Harry wants to keep Poppy by his side, he must forge a true union of body and soul, once and for all…

BOOK 3: Tempt Me at Twilight   4 STARS

Harry, as he himself puts it, is the villain of the story. Honestly, if the point of view was different you might have been rooting for Michael, the good viscount that Poppy is in love with, who’s being kept from his love by his father and his relationship is destroyed by Harry. However, while Harry is definitely no knight in shining armor, and his view of the world is definitely not a forgiving one, there’s something to be said for a man who doesn’t let anything get in his way, especially when going after the woman he desires. And it’s a fine line between villainous and love struck, and Kleypas does a great job of walking it with this character. Of course, by now we have a good basis of the amusing antics of the Hathaway family. Poppy is someone who knows her family will back her no matter what, although they’re all against her marrying Harry out of obligation, and so it sets an interesting tone for this relationship from the get go. Honestly, my favorite person is Beatrix, with her innocent but wise observations of people, and understanding why 2 people might work out perfectly well even when nobody else can understand it. And this book really makes me want a happy ending for Leo, because as much as he still tries to come off as uncaring and tends to do as he pleases, he does everything he can for his sisters, and his view of the world is just too amusing. Really it’s something I like about series like these, where you’re dealing with mostly the same group of folks, and so one book bleeds into the next, and it really helps to create a well rounded cast of characters of both those that we’ve already met as well as new ones that get introduced within this world, and it’s why I can’t help but speed right through to the end to know how it all ends for each of them.

The Beast of Talesend

The Beast of Talesend  by  Kyle Robert Shultz  description:

Private eye Nick Beasley lives in a world where fairy tales ended a long time ago – where zeppelins now soar the skies instead of dragons, and where the first automobiles have taken the place of flying carpets. He’s made a name for himself across the Afterlands by debunking fake magicians and exposing fraudulent monsters. This is the modern age, after all. Magic and monsters are long gone.

At least, that’s what Nick believes. Until he gets magically transformed into a monster, that is.

The only person who may be able to help Nick is Lady Cordelia Beaumont, one of the last enchantresses in the Afterlands. But in order for her to cure him, they’ll have to retrieve a powerful artifact from a ruthless crime lord – who is also Cordelia’s father.

The fate of the Afterlands lies in the hands of a runaway enchantress and a monstrous ex-detective. What could possibly go wrong?

BOOK 1: The Beast of Talesend  4 STARS

This is like a hard boiled detective got tossed into the darkest and bloodest of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, then made it darker and more horrifying, and then someone decided it should be a comedy. Surprisingly it works. Honestly the twists Shultz has taken on the fairy tales was rather surprising and far different than anything I’ve read before, and I’ve read my fair share of retellings. I would love it if he would go back and write books on the stories they talk about in here as their history. Because while this is obviously a Beauty and the Beast retelling, since it’s a land of fairy tales, they’re all mixed in in varying ways, and the truth about Snow White honestly made a lot more sense than a lot of the other reasons for why the step mom would want her heart. Like I said, it’s dark, but the humor brought to it by the characters going through this, and Nick and Cordelia’s banter help really lighten it over all, even while they’re fighting evil and saving the world from darkness and destruction. Though it did start out a bit overly goofy in the beginning, once you really get into it, the tale does find a good balance and you get taken on quite an adventure. I even rather enjoyed Crispin’s involvement, as Nick’s little brother, there’s a lot going on there that I’d love to see developed and to find out more about their past. But it was the last line of this book that sealed the deal on me snatching up the next as soon as I can. I don’t want to spoil it, but I liked how Shultz got there and then left you hanging with that OMG moment. There’s just so many ways this series can go from here, and I look forward to the journey ahead.