Category Archives: Review

After Today – Jacqueline Hayley

After Today
Jacqueline Hayley

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Realistic, immersive, and hot apocalyptic romance that kept me up way too late!

Blurb:

Can love survive an apocalypse?

After a deadly virus ravages Chicago and destroys Mackenzie Lyons’ carefully curated world, Mac escapes the devastation and horror to her childhood hometown with the help of her best-friend’s little brother, Jake. But the small-minded community of Sanford isn’t exactly welcoming, and the virus isn’t the only battle brewing.

Jake Brent has secretly loved Mac forever, and while this isn’t the way he’d dreamed of their relationship beginning, with the uncertainty of the outbreak he’ll take every opportunity with Mac he can and hope—pray—for a better future.

But when Sanford’s misogynistic council torment the survivors with horrifying demands and a lawless motorcycle gang threatens their fragile sanctuary, somehow Jake and Mackenzie must form new alliances and face down dangerous enemies in a struggle far worse than the outbreak.

Surviving the virus was one thing, surviving humanity after is another.

Mackenzie was totally unprepared for the end of the world.

She wasn’t a heroine in some Hollywood blockbuster. She was a twenty-six-year-old environmental lawyer, living in Lincoln Park and trying to forget Sanford, the hometown she knew had forgotten her the moment she’d skipped out.

The story starts with a pandemic brewing out of Syria, having moved into Europe, and it may be within the US now. The President is denying it. People are saying it is a hoax to control us, much the same as people are now saying about COVID in real life.

“This whole Syrian Virus is a hoax—it’s a conspiracy to control us.”

“It’s a plan-demic! Big pharma is behind it!”

Jake risks everything to go get Mackenzie from Chicago when things start to disintegrate.

“I’ve been in love with you since that day you sprained your ankle at the lake. Remember? I carried you to the car so you could go get it x-rayed.”

“That’s seven years ago, Jake.”

I found the beginning very realistic, especially with what we’ve seen actually happen. The insanity of a panicked city population with the looting, wanton destruction, and guns was very realistically described as Mackenzie and Jake tried to gather supplies before leaving Chicago.

Mackenzie cries, whimpers, and complains quite a bit. But it is a realistic reaction. She watched soldiers gun down civilians, ran home barefoot and got lots of blisters, got through the looting, and is now walking on her blistered feet and witnessing death all around her. She is an environmental lawyer, a city dweller, book smart instead of street smart, and tends to live in her own head, blocking out much of reality. So she isn’t prepared for this. All in all, I think she holds up well in the beginning. I expected she would grow stronger, turn into a survivor as time passed.

It was hard not to succumb to “damsel in distress” when every step rubbed her raw feet, her shoulders ached with the heavy pack, and she was tired. So tired.

Jake quickly became Mackenzie’s rock. He’s a mechanic, just the sort of man I would want with me in the apocalypse.

He welcomed—hell, he relished—the responsibility he felt for Mackenzie. Even when he dated other women, she was always somewhere in the back of his mind. Now, the instinct to care for her, to protect her, had strengthened to a tangible level. He could feel his dedication to her in the thrumming beat of his heart.

Jake’s declaration of love and Mackenzie’s budding attraction to him made her uncomfortable at first. Jake was her best friend’s little brother, just three years younger, so nothing weird. So it took some time for Mackenzie to change her view of him.

Jake was energized with purpose and Mackenzie took a moment to admire his assertiveness, the straightforward manner in which he’d taken control, allowing her a comforting warmth in his steadfast protection. Who knew making someone feel safe could be sexy?

I loved this novel. I found the situation and the characters to be very realistic, so it was immersive to read. I know I keep repeating this “realistic” bit, but it truly is remarkable in this genre. I didn’t have to suspend disbelief – I believed!

I truly liked the main characters. Neither is perfect, so that makes them relatable. They are both strong when they need to be and vulnerable with each other. There is a nice build to the relationship. Jake lays his heart bare, but he doesn’t push Mackenzie. He’s not an alpha male, you’re mine, type. This was refreshing and sweet.

It was a very fast read with excellent pacing. There was quite a bit of action, which was very well written – clear but concisely described, so things moved along very quickly. There are some scorching hot sex scenes, but this is definitely much more story than erotica. I felt it added the right level of spice to the meat of the overall story.

I don’t want to give too much away, but Mackenzie does grow throughout this novel, eventually becoming a bit of a badass. I absolutely loved that she didn’t need a man to save her! Girl power! Woot! Woot! 😊

Amongst the chaos are little moments of very welcome comedy.

“Don’t get weird on me. It’s just an erection. Happens most mornings.” He grinned.

“No. Nope, not going there.”

“It’s a normal bodily function.”

“Jake, stop! We are not talking about your dick.”

“You just did.”

It relieves the tension here and there and stops this from being too depressing. As Jake says:

Why was everything so damn hard? Nothing was easy anymore. He prided himself on being resilient and practical, but was it too much to ask for a simple home ransacking to go to plan?

And Mackenzie is a dog lover! My love of her grew exponentially the moment I found that out! 😊

This had my rolling with laughter:

“That’s…. psychopathic, right? Who plays fantasy apocalypse?” Mackenzie’s question was met with silence…

Writers of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic novels do. Hey! That’s us! So a little fun was poked at the author herself. Loved it!

If you’re with us, fantasizing about the end of the world, picturing yourself driving down a completely empty interstate instead of being in your traffic jam reality, this is a must read!

This is the first book in a series but can be read as a standalone. Future books will be centered on other main characters, but we will see Mackenzie and Jake as secondary characters. This has a great ending. We know the story continues, and it definitely makes me want to read the next book. But we aren’t left with a nasty cliffhanger. Like the characters, I can wait, and plan, and survive.

Contains graphic sex scenes. Very hot ones. But only really three.

Occasional foul language. I loved Mackenzie’s mantra.

3rd person past tense from Mackenzie and Jake.

Errors: 8 (misspelled words, wrong word, missing word, a name spelled differently in two places, inconsistent punctuation, a missing quotation mark) Not bad at all! I sent these errors to the author, so I hope she’ll fix them soon.

UPDATE: Errors have been fixed!

258 Pages

$5.99 at Amazon.

I received a copy of this for my honest review.

Book 2 is available for preorder but won’t be out until April 2022.

Pleasure of a Dark Prince (Immortals After Dark Book 9) – Kresley Cole

2016

Pleasure of a Dark Prince
Immortals After Dark Book 9
Kresley Cole

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Runaway Valkyrie mate and her
Lykae stalker on an adventure
on the Amazon river

Blurb:

A dangerous beauty…

Lucia the Huntress: as mysterious as she is exquisite, she harbors secrets that threaten to destroy her—and those she loves. ​

An uncontrollable need…​

Garreth MacRieve, Prince of the Lykae: the brutal Highland warrior who burns to finally claim this maddeningly sensual creature as his own. ​

That lead to a pleasure so wicked…​

From the shadows, Garreth has long watched over Lucia. Now, the only way to keep the proud huntress safe from harm is to convince her to accept him as her guardian. To do this, Garreth will ruthlessly exploit Lucia’s greatest weakness—her wanton desire for him.

Back in 2012, I stumbled upon this book. It was the first Kresley Cole novel I read. But I stopped in the middle because I loved the Lore so much, I wanted to start from the beginning. So this is the one that made me fall in love, even before I read the entire novel.

It’s still one of my favorites. It has everything – action, adventure, an alpha male who is also super sweet, a kickass female, hot sex scenes, and great writing. The connection between Lucia and Garreth is one of the strongest in the series, perhaps because they can’t have sex immediately.

Lucia almost died when she was just 16 and traded healing and unparalleled skill at archery for a vow of chastity and loyalty to a goddess. So she can’t give Garreth what he wants – her, as his mate.

Understand me, MacRieve, I’m a Valkyrie. I’m not bound by your . . . animalistic needs.”

His voice a low rasp, he said, “After one night with me, Lousha, you will be.”

I’d put in a lot more quotes, but there is so much I don’t want to give away!

Contains graphic sex scenes. Some touching could be seen as non-consent.

Occasional foul language.

3rd person past tense from Lucia and Garreth. We also get a chapter section from Lachlain.

I found 4 errors, wrong punctuation and wrong words.

425 pages. The Kindle version ends at 78% with the rest an excerpt from The Master.

$5.99 at Amazon.

Deep Kiss of Winter “Untouchable” (Immortals After Dark Book 8) – Kresley Cole

Deep Kiss of Winter
“Untouchable”
(Immortals After Dark Book 8)
Kresley Cole

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Part Valkyrie, part Icere (Ice Fey) who can’t be touches without pain and the vampire she bloods

This contains two novels. One by Kresley Cole called “Untouchable” and one by Gena Showalter called “Tempt Me Eternally”. This is only a review for “Untouchable”.

Blurb for “Untouchable”:

KRESLEY COLE delivers a breathtaking tale of a brutal vampire soldier about to know love for the first time…and a Valkyrie aching to be touched.

Murdoch Wroth will stop at nothing to claim Daniela the Ice Maiden — the delicate Valkyrie who makes his heart beat for the first time in three hundred years. Yet the exquisite Danii is part ice fey, and her freezing skin can’t be touched by anyone but her own kind without inflicting pain beyond measure. Soon desperate for closeness, in an agony of frustration, Murdoch and Danii will do anything to have each other. Together, can they find the key that will finally allow them to slake the overwhelming desire burning between them?

Murdoch Wroth was the manwhore among the Wroth brothers before they were turned into vampires.

Though he’d once been a rake, bedding a new woman each night, Murdoch hoped it never happened to him. To be mystically tied to a single woman sounded hellish, especially to a woman he didn’t choose, and one who could spurn him, as Myst had Nikolai.

“In my time, taking a virgin meant one risked a sword-point wedding.” Beget no bastards, deflower no maids. As long as he’d followed those two simple rules, he’d always gotten to do as he pleased.

In his mortal life, he’d been considerate in bed. He’d made sure he brought great pleasure to every woman he’d been with. This wasn’t out of selflessness. Quite the opposite. At an early age, he’d learned that the more word got around that he was a skilled lover, the more women dallied with him.

Daniella the Ice Maiden is part Valkyrie and part Icere (Ice Fey). Her body is naturally cold. She thrives in ice and snow, bare-skinned. Overheating is dangerous for her. She can’t touch or be touched by others without extreme pain. But somehow she bloods Murdoch Wroth.

“Vampire, I think you’re afraid to settle down—with anyone. You were single for years and celibate for three hundred more. And now you have bachelor’s panic.”

“I don’t even know what you’re talking about.”

“BP? It’s when a man irrationally fears a woman he especially likes. He gets ascared of said woman’s toothbrush breaching the perimeter of his man cave, et cetera.”

“Panic? I don’t panic,” he sneered the word. “Daniela, you can’t be touched.”

The frigid one. Enough of this. “No, you can’t! Your heart’s colder than mine. You are the untouchable one.”

There is a time lapse of many months, fall to winter to summer to winter again, with Murdoch and Danii living together but unable to have intercourse or touch.

We get bits of other stories from previous books in the series. This starts before Book 1 but ends after all Book 7. We get the endings too, so this should be read in order.

This is one of my favorite couples. Perhaps it’s because they have to wait for actual sex, and they choose to be together even when they can’t touch. I definitely don’t feel like it’s only the Bride connection between them. But I also love the Iceren – ice elves, how I’ve never seen them before, and the answer to how Danii and Murdoch can be together. Cole has an amazing imagination!

Contains graphic sex scenes. No triggers. No non-consent here.

Occasional foul language.

3rd person past tense from Danii and Murdoch.

I found 3 errors, mostly with formatting.

“Untouchable” is 256 pages. The entire book is 444 pages.

$5.99 at Amazon.

The second half is Gena Showalter’s “Tempt Me Eternally”, book 7 of the Alien Huntress Series. I didn’t read it, planning to read it 7th in that series later on. I have read some of Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series. I don’t remember if I stopped or had read them all. I wasn’t as big a fan of them as I was of Kresley Cole, but I do remember enjoying them. Showalter is an extremely prolific writer, having written almost 100 books so far!

Blurb for “Tempt Me Eternally”:

GENA SHOWALTER puts a daring spin on a tale of huntress and hunted…and concocts a sensual chemistry that is positively explosive.

Aleaha Love can be anyone — literally. With only skin-to-skin contact, she can change her appearance, assume any identity. Her newest identity switch has made her an AIR (alien investigation and removal) agent and sends her on a mission to capture a group of otherworldly warriors. Only she becomes the captured. Breean, a golden-skinned commander known for his iron will who is at once dangerous and soul-shatteringly seductive, threatens her new life. Because for the first time, Aleaha only wants to be herself…. “

Kiss of a Demon King (Immortals After Dark Book 7) – Kresley Cole

2015

Kiss of a Demon King
(Immortals After Dark Book 7)
Kresley Cole

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A rage demon good guy
and a Sorceri bad girl

Blurb:

His obsession…

Sabine, Sorceress of Illusions: the evil beauty who surrenders her body, but not her heart.

Her downfall…

Rydstrom Woede: the ruthless warrior who vows to keep her at all costs.

They were never supposed to want each other this much…

With each smoldering encounter, their shared hunger only increases. If they can defeat the sinister enemy that stands between them, will Sabine make the ultimate sacrifice for her demon? Or will the proud king lay down his crown and arms to save his sorceress?

Rydstrom is a rage demon, like his brother Cadeon, whom we met in the last novel in the series. Rydstrom was their king before Omort the Deathless stole the crown from him. If you are reading the series in order, you know all about this. You also know that Rydstrom was captured by Sabine.

“I plan,” she began matter-of-factly, “to become pregnant with your heir.”

“With me in control of your heir, the last of the rage demon rebellions will be quelled.”

Rydstrom shook his head hard, even as his mouth went dry. In fifteen hundred years, he’d never felt so attracted to another female. What if she were his? To find his queen after waiting so long? To find her as Omort’s sister? “No, fate isn’t that cruel.”

She quirked a brow at that. “Fate is indifferent.”

“Even if you are fated to be mine, Sabine, I’ll never have you.”

“Oh, you’ll have me.” Her lips curled in a knowing, sexual grin that made his heart pound. “Again and again until this deed is done.”

Again and again. Taking her soft body, learning that perfect pale flesh . . . No! Resist her.

He clenched his jaw, unable to deny what was so obvious. “Of course you’d kill me after our babe is born?”

“Well, I wouldn’t be a very good evil sorceress if I allowed you to live.”

If this female weren’t so evil, she’d be glorious.

In that instant, he decided, I’ll claim her as my war prize when I escape.

And he would use her to get free.

Sabine is Sorceri. And she is Rydstrom’s fated mate.

He tried to remember what he knew about the Sorceri in general. He recalled that they were greedy for wealth, merry hedonists who lived their lives in pursuit of pleasure—and gold. But they were also secretive and paranoid, suspicious of strangers who arrived at their doorstep. Most tended to live in the farthest reaches of the earth.

Yet they weren’t an inherently evil race. You’re just thinking this way because you want her. Maybe, but the fact remained that it was a possibility. Right now, it was the only one that seemed viable.

This is one of my favorite series of all time and this still gets 5 stars, but having said all that, this may be my least favorite in the series. There isn’t as much adventure, and I don’t feel the connection between the characters as much as I usually do. But I’m spoiled here! So this is still great and shouldn’t be skipped.

Contains graphic sex scenes. There are bondage scenes – real bondage, as in chained up to keep from escaping, not pretend stuff with safe words. Some sexual scenes can be seen as non-consent.

Occasional foul language.

3rd person past tense from Rydstrom and Sabine.

I found 5 errors, missing punctuation and misspelled words

413 pages. Stops 77% of the way through. Excerpt from The Master at the end.

$6.99 at Amazon.

Dark Desires After Dusk (Immortals After Dark Book 6) – Kresley Cole

2015

Dark Desires After Dusk
(Immortals After Dark Book 6)
Kresley Cole

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A demon that reminds me of Indiana Jones and a Valkyrie figuring herself out

Blurb:

A seductive beauty he can never have, yet can’t resist…

Cadeon Woede will stop at nothing to atone for the one wrong that will haunt him forever. But once he secures the key to his redemption, the halfling Holly Ashwin, Cade finds that the woman he thought he could use for his own ends and then forget haunts him as much as his past.

A tormented warrior she should fear, but can’t deny…

Raised as a human, Holly never knew that some frightening legends are real until she encounters a brutal demon who inexplicably guards her like a treasure. Thrust into a sensual new world of myth and power, with him as her protector, she begins to crave the demon’s wicked touch.

Surrender to dark desires…

Yet just when he earns Holly’s trust, will Cade be forced to betray the only woman who can sate his wildest needs — and claim his heart?

Holly was a PhD student at Tulane University, teaching remedial math to athletes.

She wondered what she’d be erasing tonight. Some of the past offerings included “Got it bad, sooo bad, I’m hot for teacher,” “I’ve been a naughty boy, Ms. Ashwin,” and “Professor + Ginger = Holly Ashwin.” They’d crossed the l’s to make them t’s.

Holly wanted a normal life, but she had some quirks. OCD. Nearly killing men when getting into sexual situations. Nothing she couldn’t handle with extreme discipline.

Cadeon knew Holly was his, but he couldn’t claim her because she was human.

Humans were forbidden to demons. Because they never survived the initial claiming.

But Cade hadn’t been able to stop himself from watching her from afar, studying her, growing more and more fascinated with the young mortal. Becoming more convinced that she was his.

Then one night, Holly was kidnapped by a bunch of evil demons bent on raping and impregnating her. She was the Vessel. The immortal reaching sexual maturity at the start of the Accession, which happens every 500 years. The Vessel is fated to give birth to a warrior for ultimate evil or ultimate good, depending on the father. Yes, immortal – It turns out Holly is half Valkyrie, half Furie.

Cade was taxed with finding The Vessel and delivering it to an evil sorcerer in exchange for a sword that could kill the evil sorcerer’s evil brother, who had stolen Cade’s brother’s crown, which was Cade’s fault.

“You know all those creatures you thought were myths?” When she shakily nodded, he said, “Well, they’re not. And you’re changing from a human to an immortal.”

Which meant it had become possible for Cade to claim her for his own.

And you’ve just become my target—the Vessel. The means to pay for a sword to kill our enemy.

She equaled the crown he’d worked for nine hundred years to reclaim—the unyielding pursuit that had given him a reason to go on living.

Never had it been so close….

All he had to do was use and betray the woman he’d waited just as long to possess.

What’s a demon to do?

“Kidnap women? I can hardly keep the chits off the jock as it is, pet.”

Eyes wide, she said, “Chits? Pet? Are you from the nineteenth century or just trying to be misogynistic?”

Cade and Holly remind me so much of Indiana Jones and Willie Scott (Temple of Doom). He’s brash, cocky, dirty, and practical. She’s a girlie-girl who hates to get dirty and finds him rude, crude, and socially unacceptable… until they end up in bed together.

There is some great humor in this alongside the action and chemistry I’ve come to expect from this series. I loved both of the characters. I especially loved how Holly came into her kickass-self.

Contains graphic sex scenes. No triggers. No non-consent here.

Occasional foul language.

3rd person past tense from Cade and Holly. We also get a chapter from Rydstrom, Cade’s brother and the lead in the next book.

I found 9 errors, mostly misspelled or wrong words.

388 pages.

$8.99 at Amazon.

Dark Needs at Night’s Edge (Immortals After Dark Book 5) – Kresley Cole

2015

Dark Needs at Night’s Edge
(Immortals After Dark Book 5)
Kresley Cole

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A crazed vampire and a ghost sizzle even when they can’t touch

Blurb:

A RAVEN-HAIRED TEMPTRESS OF THE DARK…

Néomi Laress, a famous ballerina from a past century, became a phantom the night she was murdered. Imbued with otherworldly powers but invisible to the living, she haunts her beloved home, scaring away trespassers — until she encounters a ruthless immortal even more terrifying than Néomi herself.

A VAMPIRE WARRIOR CONSUMED BY MADNESS…

To prevent him from harming others, Conrad Wroth’s brothers imprison him in an abandoned manor. But there, a female only he can see seems determined to drive him further into madness. The exquisite creature torments him with desire, leaving his body racked with lust and his soul torn as he finds himself coveting her for his own.

HOW FAR WILL HE GO TO CLAIM HER?

Yet even if Conrad can win Néomi, evil still surrounds her. Once he returns to the brutality of his past to protect her, will he succumb to the dark needs seething inside him?

Néomi was very lonely, unable to leave the grounds of the manor she haunted. She was entertained and intrigued when the Wroth brothers arrived and imprisoned Conrad in her home. Then absolutely thrilled when she realized that Conrad could see her when no one else ever had. Conrad was just glad she wasn’t one of his hallucinations.

Whenever she comes to him, so do flashes of lucidity. He doesn’t understand the connection, just knows he’s beginning to crave the focus of his thoughts.

A mystery. How could a figment of his mind clear his mind? Even as he’s debating her existence, he realizes that something is making him coherent enough—to fucking debate her existence.

There are some very hot scenes between the two even though they can’t touch each other. The more Conrad is around Néomi, the clearer his mind becomes.

Feels . . . feels . . . felt . . . He felt clearer. Conrad felt centered. His very thoughts seemed to arise differently. They were more focused, each one distinct in his mind.

Being close to Néomi causes Conrad’s text to go from present tense to past tense, as it should be to fit with the rest of the novel. This indicates he becomes sane around her.

So Néomi needs a body to actually be with Conrad and possibly blood him. Nïx, the Valkyrie soothsayer, helps orchestrate this with Mariketa from Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night. I love Nïx; she is hilarious.

“Am too,” Nïx said. “Mike Rowe, the star of Dirty Jobs, is soon to realize I’m his beloved.” She sighed dreamily. “He even got his lawyers to contact me on the pretext of a”—she made air quotes—“ ‘restraining order.’

This is another fast-paced read with great chemistry between the characters, hot sex scenes, and thrilling action.

Contains graphic sex scenes. No triggers. No non-consent here.

Occasional foul language.

3rd person past tense from Néomi and Conrad. Conrad’s point of view is in present tense partway through the book, indicating his insanity. It changes to past tense the moment he becomes sane again. I really loved how that was done. We also get a chapter from Cade, the male lead in the next book.

I found only 3 errors. Great editing!

401 pages. Ends at 3907 or 72%. Kindle version doesn’t have page numbers.

$6.99 at Amazon.


Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night (Immortals After Dark Book 4) – Kresley Cole

Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night
(Immortals After Dark Book 4)
Kresley Cole

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Hot adventure romance with a witch and a Lykae

Blurb:

Bowen MacRieve of the Lykae clan was nearly destroyed when he lost the one woman meant for him. The ruthless warrior grew even colder, never taking another to his bed—until a smoldering encounter with his enemy, Mariketa the Awaited, reawakens his darkest desires. When sinister forces unite against her, the Highlander finds himself using all his strength and skill to keep her alive.

Temporarily stripped of her powers, Mari is forced to take refuge with her sworn adversary. It’s rumored that no one can tempt Bowen’s hardened heart, but soon passion burns between them. Though a future together is impossible, she fears he has no intention of letting her go.

If they defeat the evil that surrounds them, can Mari deny Bowen when he demands her body and soul—or will she risk everything for her fierce protector?

If you’ve been reading along, you’ve already met Bowen. He’s a shell of a man, or Lykae, as he lost his mate 180 years ago. Nix, the Valkyrie soothsayer, told him the Talisman’s Hie would lead him to his mate. When the final prize turned out to be a key that would allow you to go back in time, Bowen thought he could go back and prevent his mate from dying. He became ruthless in his attempt to win, along the way trapping six competitors in a Mayan tomb, including Mariketa.

Before her birth, she’d been predicted to be the Awaited One, the most powerful born to the House of Witches in centuries—but four years ago, it was also foretold that a male from the Lore would recognize her as his own and claim her. He would seek to lock her away, guarding her with a ferocity that no magicks could defeat, thus robbing the House of her powers.

Mariketa was disguised when Bowen met her and trapped her in the tomb. She wasn’t disguised enough for him not to be attracted to her. But that only made him angry and guilt-ridden, thinking he had betrayed his dead mate.

Witches had no purpose but to spread discord and hatred. To plant destructive seeds in a once-proud family.

Bowen believed all witches to be evil. When he returns and frees Mariketa, his instinct tells him she is his mate. But he thinks this is an enchantment. If it’s not, then the way to fix her is to force her to never practice her magick again. But Mari is having none of that!

Bowen and Mariketa both grow tremendously on the journey they take in this novel. Bowen was almost a zombie, lost in his grief and guilt. He had to let go of those. He was a relic, stuck in his preconceptions. He had to break free and accept that things are not black and white. There are good witches, bad witches, and badass good witches. Mari is the third kind. She couldn’t control her powers at the start but grew in confidence. They take a journey through rainforests to other dimensions and cross as much space in their minds to meet each other.

There are several very hot sex scenes. No triggers. No non-consent here.

Contains graphic sex scenes.

Occasional foul language.

3rd person past tense from Mari and Bowen.

There was one missing period. So that’s great editing.

401 pages. The book ends at location 4258 or 72%. The Kindle version doesn’t have page numbers. The rest is excerpts from other books.

$5.99 at Amazon.

No Rest for the Wicked (Immortals After Dark Book 3) – Kresley Cole

2015

Rating: 5 out of 5.

No Rest for the Wicked
(Immortals After Dark Book 3)
Kresley Cole

Fast-paced adventure peppered with wit and steam and not dark

Blurb:

Centuries ago, Sebastian Wroth was turned into a vampire against his will. Burdened with hatred and alone for ages, he sees little reason to live. Until an exquisite, fey creature comes to kill him, inadvertently saving him instead.

When Kaderin the Cold Hearted lost her two beloved sisters to a vampire attack long ago, a benevolent force deadened her sorrow—accidentally extinguishing all of her emotions. Yet whenever Kaderin encounters Sebastian, her feelings—particularly lust—emerge multiplied. For the first time, she’s unable to complete a kill.

And when the prize of a legendary month-long contest is powerful enough to change history, Kaderin will do anything to win it for her sisters. Wanting only to win her, forever, Sebastian competes as well, taking every opportunity—as they travel to ancient tombs and through catacombs, seeking relics around the world—to use her new feelings to seduce her. But when Kaderin is forced to choose between the vampire she’s falling for and reuniting her family, how can she live without either?

Woosh! This is a fast-paced adventure peppered with wit and steam. It isn’t dark like many of the others in this series. There are no triggers, no non-consent, no captivity. Sebastian is shy and inexperienced with women. He grows in confidence as he is able to arouse Kaderin’s passion again and again. He is hot, strong, and a skilled warrior. But he doesn’t have the alpha male attitude of our previous heroes, Nikolai and Lachlain. Sebastian quickly realizes that Kaderin is not like the women he knew in the 1700’s, and he likes it.

Kaderin had been in Scotland with other Valkyrie when they’d received the call about a “vampire haunting a castle and terrorizing a village in Russia.” She had gladly volunteered to destroy the leech. She was her Valkyrie coven’s most prolific killer, her life given over to ridding the earth of vampires.

Kaderin finds Sebastian in a crumbling castle in Russia, and she can’t kill him. This baffles her.

As if this were a matter of conscience! It wasn’t. It couldn’t be. She had no conscience. No real feelings, no raw emotions. She was coldhearted. After the tragedy, she’d prayed for oblivion, prayed for the sorrow and guilt to be numbed.

Some mysterious entity had answered her and made her heart like ash. Kaderin didn’t suffer from sorrow, from lust, from anger, or from joy. Nothing got in the way of her killing.

She was a perfect killer. She had been for one thousand years, half of her interminable life.

Emotions strike Kaderin in rapid succession as she remembers incidents from her past. Pain, sorrow, joy, humor, and lust hit like bombshells. The lust consumes her, and she has an indiscretion with Sebastian. Afterwards, she comes to her senses.

“Not a Bride to one of your kind. Never—”

“But you’ve made my heart beat.”

She hissed back, “You’ve made me feel.”

Kaderin is in danger of losing her hard-won reputation among the Lore.

When Myst had been in a Horde prison, the Forbearer rebels took the castle, and one of their generals had freed her to make love to her. Before the Valkyrie could rescue her, things had gotten out of hand in a dank cell. Myst’s status among the Lore—which she’d built over lifetimes—was ruined. She was shunned, an outcast. Even the nymphs ridiculed her. There was no ignominy worse than that—

Kaderin runs away from Sebastian and starts the Talisman’s Hie, a contest held every 250 years. Competitors travel the world searching for mystical objects, gaining points towards a final race to the last object. So there is some tomb raider action, which is written very well.

I love these characters. They both deal with issues from their past that have stunted their emotional growth. They feed off each other, evolving together as they get to know each other and themselves. They are always equal in this process. And the sex scenes are scorching hot.


Contains graphic sex scenes, several more than in the first book.

Occasional foul language.

3rd person past tense from Sebastian and Kaderin.

I found no errors in this. Fabulous!

384 pages.

$7.99 at Amazon.


A Hunger Like No Other (Immortals After Dark Book 2) – Kresley Cole

2017

A Hunger Like No Other
(Immortals After Dark Book 2)
Kresley Cole

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Lykae imprisoned and tortured for over a century by vampires discovers his mate is a vampire – or is she?

Blurb:

A mythic warrior who’ll stop at nothing to possess her . . .

After enduring years of torture from the vampire horde, Lachlain MacRieve, leader of the Lykae Clan, is enraged to find the predestined mate he’s waited millennia for is a vampire. Or partly one. This Emmaline is a small, ethereal half Valkyrie/half vampire, who somehow begins to soothe the fury burning within him.

A vampire captured by her wildest fantasy . . .

Sheltered Emmaline Troy finally sets out to uncover the truth about her deceased parents — until a powerful Lykae claims her as his mate and forces her back to his ancestral Scottish castle. There, her fear of the Lykae — and their notorious dark desires — ebbs as he begins a slow, wicked seduction to sate her own dark cravings.

An all-consuming desire . . .

Yet when an ancient evil from her past resurfaces, will their desire deepen into a love that can bring a proud warrior to his knees and turn a gentle beauty into the fighter she was born to be?

The Valkyrie:

Millennia ago, Wóden and Freya were awakened from a decade of sleep by a maiden warrior’s scream as she died in valiant battle. Freya had marveled at the maiden’s courage and wanted to preserve it, so she and Wóden struck the human with their lightning. The maiden woke in their great hall, healed but untouched—still mortal—and pregnant with an immortal Valkyrie daughter.

In the years that followed, their lightning would strike dying women warriors from all species of the Lore—Valkyries like Furie were truly part Fury. Freya and Wóden gave the daughters Freya’s fey beauty and his cunning, combining these traits with the mother’s valor and individual ancestry. Though the daughters were half sisters, they were all unique. But according to the Lore, one could recognize a Valkyrie if her eyes fired silver with strong emotion.

Lykae, or werewolves, in the “Lore” do not shapeshift into wolves. They get a little more muscular, their face changes to slightly more lupine, and they get a shadowy spirit-like halo of the werewolf-type monster we might expect. They each have a fated mate.

Lachlain, the king of the Lykae, had been imprisoned and tortured by Horde vampires for over a century when Emma’s scent from the Paris streets above gave him the will to free himself through excruciating pain. Emma is his Mate. But then he discovers Emma is a vampire and hates her. This is a dark romance with non-consensual sexual situations.

He took her by the wrist and forced her hand to his naked shaft. “You feel me hard. Know that the only reason I’m no’ inside you right now is because I’m weak. No’ because of any concern for you.”

Face flushed with embarrassment, she tugged at her hand until he let it go. “You would hurt me that way?”

“Without a second thought.” His lips curled. His gaze seemed intent on her face, but his eyes were still vacant. “And that’s just the beginning of the things I’ll do to you, vampire.”

She simply wasn’t the type of person who could give it up without some kind of bond or commitment. She didn’t think of herself as old-fashioned about sex—there was a reason for her familiarity with Skinemax—and she had a very healthy attitude about the whole subject, for all that she’d never had an orgasm. But she knew deep down that she would need something lasting—and that it could never be with him.

She narrowed her eyes, realizing what this was. Stockholm syndrome. Identifying with your bullying captor? Check. Forming an attachment to him? Check.

But in all fairness to herself, how many captors—actively acquiring—were six-and-a-half-foot-tall gods with delicious, sun-darkened skin, the coolest accent, and the warmest, hardest body she’d ever dreamed of? All this and he liked to wrap that body around her? All this and he thought she was beautiful.

But Emma grows strong facing this situation. She used to be known as Emma The Meek, but she is a Valkyrie and starts acting like one.

In the past, she would’ve meekly accepted this as yet another time her wishes and feelings were ignored. Now she refused. Lachlain needed to learn a lesson. He needed to learn that in the last seven days, she’d become a creature with which one did not fuck.

Lachlain learns that Emma is a unique creature in the Lore, half-Valkyrie and half-vampire. And eventually things are good.

“Lachlain! I’m not walking around willy-nilly naked. Okay?”

His lips curled as if he found her modesty endearing. “Then go put on the silk I’ll soon be ripping from you. You’ve no respect for your clothing.”

But Emma has another thing to face – the question of who her vampire father is.

The fantastic lore is matched with fantastic writing. The pacing makes me fly through and keeps me up way too late at night. The sex scenes are scorching hot. The action scenes are riveting. I just can’t gush enough about these books, which I don’t often do.

The Warlord Wants Forever is the first in the series. This novel has some spoilers for TWWF, but we all know that these have happily-ever-after endings anyway. So I really recommend reading A Hunger Like No Other first. AHLNO is the first full-length novel. TWWF is a novella. You get hints about the lore, but you get so much more detail in AHLNO. I think it’s a better primer. Other reviews recommend reading TWWF after the third full-length novel, Wicked Deeds On A Winter’s Night. There have been 19 books so far, counting the forthcoming Munro, so there is lots of delectable lore to eat up.

I love how the stories from each novel intersect with each other. We won’t know what is going on with a little snippet appearance of a new character until many books later. It goes hand in hand with the complexity of the unique paranormal lore in this series – spectacular!

Contains graphic sex scenes. Their first full sex scene was graphic. Subsequent ones are just mentioned.

Occasional foul language.

Prologue is in 3rd person present tense. The main body is in 3rd person past tense from Emma and Lachlan.

Errors: 8 – mostly formatting issues where there is a space missing between sentences.

This is 357 Kindle pages long. It contains previews of other books at the end.

$7.99 at Amazon.


The Warlord Wants Forever (Immortals After Dark Book 1) – Kresley Cole

2017

The Warlord Wants Forever
(Immortals After Dark Book 1)
Kresley Cole

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Vampire finds his Bride, but she wants nothing to do with him, in this series opening novella

Blurb:

The Warlord
Nikolai Wroth, a ruthless Vampire general, will stop at nothing to find his Bride, the one woman who can “blood” him, making his heart beat and filling him with strength. Coldly interested only in the power his Bride will bring, he can hardly believe when Myst the Coveted awakens him body—and soul.

The Seductress
Famed throughout the world as the most beautiful Valkyrie, Myst has devoted her life to protecting a magical jewel and to fighting the vampires. Wroth provides her with the perfect opportunity to torment her sworn enemy—for with his new heartbeat comes a consuming sexual desire that can only be slaked by her. Denying him, she flees, struggling to forget his searing, possessive kiss.

The Hunt is on…
She eludes him for five years, but he has finally chased her to ground and stolen her enchanted jewel, giving him absolute power over her. Now that she’s his for the taking, he intends to make her experience first-hand the agonizing, unending lust she subjected him to for half a decade. Yet when Nikolai realizes he wants far more than vengeance from Myst and frees her, will she come back to him?

Vampires in Kresley Cole’s world, called the “Lore”, drink blood, are immortal, and can be killed by the sun. But they also have some unique traits.

He was the walking dead. No respiration, no heartbeat, no sexual need—or ability. Not until he found his predestined Bride and she “blooded” him fully. With his blooding, something inside him, some essence—maybe even his soul—would recognize her as his. He would see her as the one he was meant to spend eternity with, the woman he could love without measure, if one believed in that, and his body would wake for her.

Myst is a Valkyrie, the immortal child of Norse gods and a female warrior who showed extreme bravery in battle. That warrior could be human or another creature from the Lore. Each Valkyrie has her own unique traits, but they are all badasses – “creatures with which one does not fuck”.

Before he’d come, Myst had been powerless here. She could handle weapons as well as most in the coven, though a sword and bow were not her strengths. Her preferred weapon was men. She manipulated them, played them, made them believe she lived for them alone in order to have them do her bidding. That was her m.o.

Myst is Nikolai’s Bride. She brings his body to life but wants nothing to do with him. A vampire must at least be touching his Bride to “finish” after he becomes sexually excited for the first time by her. If he can’t do this, he is stuck “excited” until he can. Poor Nikolai doesn’t get to finish and is stuck in this state for years!

For just the merest second he imagined he saw compassion in her eyes, but when she shrugged, his hazy mind finally grasped that she was going to leave him here with nothing but a body knotted with lust for her and a taste of blood that he would go to his knees for. “You’re the most malicious bitch I’ve ever known.”

“I will find you,” he bit out. “I will find you and make you pay for this a thousand times.”

I love how funny the Valkyrie are! So snarky, witty, and just damn cool.

“But Vampire Bride just sounds so B-movie. He just dragged you down to B-moviedom.”

Nikolai is definitely a dominate alpha male. And Myst likes it. If you don’t like that, these books aren’t for you. There is a scene that can definitely be read as rape. Because we are in Myst’s head, we know she wants it. She wants to be overpowered. But he doesn’t know that. After Myst has been “defeated” she becomes a willing participant. If you are bothered by non-consent in your fiction, then steer clear.

I love that Cole’s characters aren’t promiscuous before meeting. Either because of lore, like un-blooded vampires can’t physically have sex, or by choice, this is lovely to read.

I absolutely love the intricate world-building and lore that Kresley Cole has written in the Immortals After Dark series. They have dominant alpha males and sassy strong women to meet them toe to toe. The Valkyrie are equally funny and kickass. There are monsters and darkness. But there is hot sex and humor to combat it. The writing is wonderful, so fast paced that I’m kept up way too late because I can’t put the book down.

The Warlord Wants Forever is a novella. It’s a nice introduction to the Lore and the type of dark romance this series abounds in. These aren’t for people with triggers. It’s fantasy, fiction, and we can enjoy things in our minds that we would never abide in reality. So if you’re with me on that, then delve into the world and see if you aren’t one-clicking the next book a few hours later. Once this vampire turns you, there is no going back 😂

Contains graphic sex scenes.

Occasional foul language.

3rd person past tense from Myst and Nikolai.

Errors: 4

This is only 112 Kindle pages long. It contains previews of other books at the end.

$2.99 at Amazon.