Jasmyn's Reviews

This includes all my reading reviews starting in 2014 - from both sites that I write for. Hot Off the Shelves and Bitten by Romance. Hot Off the Shelves is a catch-all (minus the super spicy stuff) of young adult, new adult, and adult books from a variety of genres. Bitten by Romance is an adult review blog for, well, anything romance.

Fang in the Sass by Milly Taiden

A Fang in the Sass (Sassy Ever After) (Volume 6) - Milly Taiden

This is actually the first in the Sassy Mates series that I've read. I would recommend starting from the beginning, there were a few things I had to catch up on that I assume happened in previous books (I bet they're fantastic). That being said, this was still an amazing romance story that was exciting and hard to put down.

Aria and Trevan have met in a previous story, but they are both experiencing some denial when it comes to their attraction to each other. Partly because they are different species and neither one of them seem to really like the other. But fate has other ideas, because their worlds are about to collide in a spectacular way. And even their past seems to be drawing the together in a strange twisted way.

Aria is wrapped in defending herself to the vampire council for killing a human blood slave trader. But treachery from within her clan has the council believing it to be murder. As she tries to put together the proof to show her actions justified, the whole things keeps getting bigger and bigger. The trade is larger than she ever knew.

There's a few epic fight scenes - which are hard to find in a romance - and they are done just right. Aria is a strong woman, but also realizes that it's OK to rely on friends and allies to help her out, that she can't do it all by herself. This was a very beautiful love story with forgiveness, trust, and respect becoming the backbone of their future.

Source: http://www.bittenbyromance.com/2016/09/a-fang-in-sass-by-milly-taiden.html

A Witchingly Sassy Seduction by Mychal Daniels

Sassy Ever After: A Witchingly Sassy Seduction (Kindle Worlds Novella) - Mychal Daniels

Celia is on the run from trouble at home - curses and hexes from a pissed off witch are nothing to stick around for. She finds herself wandering through the woods during a scenting ceremony (I love this idea) where she meets Owain, a long wolf shifter.

Celia is determined not to stick around, but when a threat from Owain's past targets here, she isn't given much of a choice. I really enjoyed this excitement and danger added to the story, It kept me guessing and was played out very well.

In fact, there wasn't much I'd really want to change here. Owain and Celia were great together, the world is exciting, but... Some things happen for Celia and the trouble she's running from that I just didn't think worked. It wrapped up in a way that I think needed to be very different. Especially Celia's reaction - far too calm and exciting for what occurred. It was a bit of a let down.

Source: http://www.bittenbyromance.com/2016/09/a-witchingly-sassy-seduction-by-mychal.html

Darkside Sun by Jocelyn Adams

Darkside Sun - Jocelyn Adams
The world of Mortal Machine is amazing. I loved the concept of the rifts, the secret society, their abilities, and the strange creatures that hung Addison. She started seeing rifts when she was young, but never imagined just what they really were and why they seemed to follow her. She's a great character, full of emotion and reality. So when that reality cracks (literally) she goes into a strange spiral, and only her stubborn streak seems to keep her sane and moving forward.
 
Asher is a dick. Even when he's being nice he's a dick. He seems to have his reasons and we get a glimpse of these near the end. I've seen this labeled a romance, and perhaps it turns into one, but right now it definitely isn't. Lots of romantic elements floating around, but definitely not what I would call a HEA or HFN ending.
 
The members of Mortal Machine are all quite unique in their own ways. From the outfitter to the soldiers, each personality adds a little something to the world and Addison's perception of what is going on. One of them is up to no good though - some serious no good. And when Addison tries to find out who it is, she finds out all sorts of crazy stuff about herself. 
 
I love how Jocelyn Adams revealed new aspects of the characters. It had such a natural flow and while much of it was a surprise, it all made sense and really clicked together as soon as it happened. Her trail of breadcrumbs was impeccable. I need to find out what happens next now!
 
*This book was received in exchange for an honest review*
Source: http://www.hotofftheshelves.com/2016/09/darkside-sun-by-jocelyn-adams.html

Wise Sass Mates by Tasha Black

Sassy Ever After: Wise Sass Mates (Kindle Worlds Novella) - Tasha Black

This was a twist on the student/teacher romance that I could enjoy. It's been years since Bianca fell in love with teacher Ian Anderson. I normally find student/teacher romance a little icky, but since years have passed, it's closer to a traditional paranormal romance instead.

Bianca's initial resistance to Ian's interest was actually refreshing. Her reasons were a little iffy, but they fit her character well. Ian was very determined though, especially when it becomes obvious that Bianca has become the target of an attacker several times.

This attacker was a brilliantly done character, He had the right motives and super creepy crazy personality to make really work. One of the best villains I've seen in a long time.

Again, the shifter romance is a bit face once it starts, but that is what happens when you know your mate by first sight/smell. Their romance is quite sweet, but still hot. A great, quick read in the Sassy Ever After world.

Source: http://www.bittenbyromance.com/2016/09/wise-sass-mates-by-tasha-black.html

Calm Before the Storm by Larissa Ione

Calm Before the Storm, Episode 5 (Rising Storm) (Volume 5) - Larissa Ione, Dee Davis, Julie Kenner
I really like Marcus, and so far he's remained out of the crazy drama that is Storm, TX. But he remained out of it because he left. Now that he's back in town, sparks are flying between him and the Senator's daughter and her family is not happey about it.
 
Marcus grew up on the "wrong side of town" with the "wrong type of people" and the Rushes want something "better" for their daughter. Ya...lots of air quotes in that one. I really dislike this family. They are the bad guys here and they are going to have a hell of a time making me like them again (except for Brittany - she's good).
 
Marus isn't one to let a little family dislike stand between him and the girl he wants to be with. But he has his own family issues as well. Lots of things happening in Storm. This was another one on the sweeter side and I liked it, but I need my drama now please!
Source: http://www.hotofftheshelves.com/2016/09/calm-before-storm-by-larissa-ione.html

Bite My Sass by V. Vaughn

Sassy Ever After: Bite My Sass (Kindle Worlds Novella) - V. Vaughn

Bite My Sass is a fun and quick shifter romance that I breezed through and really enjoyed. I loved the play on Romeo and Juliet, there were just enough elements of the play to make it memorable, but it didn't follow the actual storyline of the original at all. Just a few hints and really great fortune teller.

Juliet's camping trip starts off great, but it takes a surprising turn when she finds out there's a Scenting Ceremony nearby and one of her friends runs into a wolf on the prowl. But Juliet isn't interested in what the wolf might be offering, and when the pack starts to draw her friends into their midst, she quickly goes on the defensive.

While this was a quick and easy romance, it was a lot of fun. A great afternoon, one-sitting read, that didn't feel rushed at all.

Source: http://www.bittenbyromance.com/2016/09/bite-by-sass-by-v-vaughn.html

Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

Missing, Presumed - Susie Steiner
If you love guessing up until the very end, then this is the book for you. Clues and misdirections abound, mixed perfectly to lead you down countless potential trails of exploration. Manon is a unique character and the first book in this series shows us how intricately woven her personal and professional lives. Both sides of her life have such an impact on each other and I really enjoyed being fully immersed into her life (and it's an interesting one).
 
My one and only dislike about Manon is she is a bit too depressed most of the book. She's a little too lost at times, and one period of being lost is followed up by another one - while she may be on the ball professionally, her personal life is a mess - but I needed a little bright side to it before the end of the book.
 
But, we're really reading this for the crime. Edith is missing, foul play is almost certain, and the police are rapidly running out of time. This part of the story was beyond perfect. I really enjoyed seeing the glimpses into Edith's parents' lives and the lives of her friends that are involved in the investigation. Things don't go smoothly, and things go horribly wrong at one point. In fact, I think it's safe to say it all starts to fall apart. 
 
But there is a solution to the case. It isn't what I expected (which is good), but looking back through the bits and pieces of clues I can see it (which is good). It's a little out there, but completely believable. If  Manon could just find a little light in her life, then I think this book would be just about perfect.
Source: http://www.hotofftheshelves.com/2016/09/missing-presumed-by-susie-steiner.html

Lover Eternal By J.R. Ward

Lover Eternal - J.R. Ward

I really like Rhage. He stood out from the rest of the Brotherhood in book one, and I was excited to see his story come so soon in the series. He's a cursed vampire - cursed with an uncontrollable beast that is triggered by extreme emotions (paid, anger, lust). And once the beast is released, he only goes away after destroying (and eating - ew) everything around it.

As a human, Mary is a bit shocked when she is dragged into the vampire world through a young man that she meets when he calls the Suicide Hotline she volunteers at. This boy is something special, and I have some strong suspicions he's a result of something from the first book, but I didn't find out and I think I may be waiting awhile for his story. But he plays a fairly prominent role in Lover Eternal and makes a great character. Anyway, Mary, she's an interesting study in opposites. She's a strong woman, but her illness makes her weak. She's incredibly intelligent, but she finds herself immersed in a world where she has everything to learn.

Her and Rhage have an interesting start to their relationship as he is ordered to erase himself from her mind. But there is something about the way she speaks that Rhage needs to have. I love that something so simple as the sound of her voice is what initially draws him to her, not her looks, or having to rescue her, it was a great way to make their start different than what I usually see out there.

We get to see a lot of the Brotherhood and a few of the characters from book one still pop up and I love being able to see the whole group in both books. The Lessers are still on the hunt and looking for a fight and we are introduced to a new civilian, Bella, that a friend of Mary's that seems to have more of her story to tell.

A great second book, but I feel the Mary and Rhage's solution was a little contrived. It felt like Ward had written herself into a corner and used the "but then the rules changed" option instead of playing within what she had already written.

Source: http://www.bittenbyromance.com/2016/09/lover-eternal-by-jr-ward.html

Deviate by Tracy Clark

Deviate - Tracy Clark
Lots of crazy stuff going on in this one. The love triangle exists - and it isn't as bad as some of them are - I understand this one at least. We have good guys turning bad, and bad guys turning good, and I'm pissed because people die (no way am I going to tell you who). There was almost too much going on at times. Lots of new characters and I had a small problem keeping them all separate (partly because I was trying to see what happened next and flew through the book).
 
One of the great mysteries will be revealed and it's a bit of a doozy. I didn't quite see it coming, at least not all the way. I think the highlight of the story was all the secrets and mysteries that were revealed. There are a couple big ones that shocked the heck out of me that I didn't see coming at all.
 
*This book was received in exchange for an honest review*
Source: http://www.hotofftheshelves.com/2016/09/deviate-by-tracy-clark.html

Wicked Little Secrets by Susanna Ives

Wicked Little Secrets - Susanna Ives

This one really didn't do it for me. It went too far with an overly independent woman, crazy aunt, roguish hero, and jerky "right choice" man. Everything needed to be reigned in a bit because all three characters were over the top, and together it was just way too much.

Vivienne wants to be an explorer - awesome. I love an adventurous heroine. But she so snubs the way things should be that she would have been ruined and her prim and proper fiance would have jilted her long ago - I'm not sure he would have proposed to begin with. From wandering London along, to being caught coming out of a well-known rake's house unaccompanied - it just would never have been accepted.

Even the scenery was working against the story for me. The secret panels and the things that are found inside them were just way too over the top. I was engaged just enough to want to see how this could possibly end well. There's a good twist at one point that was a great aspect, but overall I was disappointed, especially after having enjoyed the second book in the series so much.

Source: http://www.bittenbyromance.com/2016/09/wicked-little-secrets-by-susanna-ives.html

Her Rogue Alpha by Paige Tyler

Her Rogue Alpha (X-Ops) - Paige Tyler

Totally loving this series!!! Jayson is finally getting his story after hovering in the background for a little while. He's a wounded hero searching for some sort of purpose in life. Not being able to return to active duty had destroyed him inside. But Layla sees something else in Jayson, and she's determined to prove to him that he's worth far more than he think.s

I had a bit of a problem with Jayson at first. He had popped up in previous books and I quickly labeled him as whiny (then felt guilty, because he had his reasons). So I had a hard time going into this one liking him from the very beginning. Layla saw something I didn't, and I'm glad she did. While he makes some pretty stupid decisions, his need to be a "whole man" again is driving him, and I can understand that. It also gave him a drive to stop being the grumpy, woe-is-me type and get moving.

Once Jayson got moving, even though he was still not back to his old self, his determination and drive made me fall in love with him. I wish he could have had this from the very beginning. His mission is a dangerous one, and possibly a set up, but he will get the job done or die trying. But Layla isn't going to sit back and let him risk his life on his own, she rushes off to help and I loved every minute of it.

A great addition to the X-Ops series, I'm only sorry that now I have to wait for the next one!

*This book was received in exchange for an honest review*

Source: http://www.bittenbyromance.com/2016/09/her-rogue-alpha-by-paige-tyler.html

Scintillate by Tracy Clark

Scintillate - Tracy Clark
This book certainly started off with a bang. We dive right in to Cora's life as she fights to survive some mysterious illness. She starts seeing things and no one can really figure out what is wrong with her. This is a major changing point in her life, and it was a great way to start the book with a hook.
 
Cora is a really well-rounded character. She has her friends, that are amazing, but she isn't the most popular girl in school, she isn't the most unpopular either. Her life is incredibly ordinary up until this point - an overprotective father, a step-mother that loves her, and suddenly she sounds like any other teenager. But her illness changes her and suddenly everyone is spouting colors all around them.
 
Enter the meat of the story, and one of the points in a potential love triangle (I'm hoping not - I'm not a fan). Finn is one of the popular kids, but he seems to really like Cora - almost too much. He's a little bit of a stereotype at first, but once Cora heads to Ireland to find him, he becomes a whole other person. It was a great spin in the story and has tons of potential going forward for the best kind of drama - the kind that you have with yourself.
 
Lots of lore, especially Irish, but other cultures mixed in as well, all done very well. I loved how they all played off each other. Plenty of excitement and adrenaline with a dash of romance (maybe) for good measure. I really want to see what Cora's in for next, and where the lore is heading, this is not a book you can just walk away from without having the next.
 
*This book was received in exchange for an honest review*
Source: http://www.hotofftheshelves.com/2016/09/scintillate-by-tracy-clark.html

Miss Matched by Milly Taiden

Miss Matched - Milly Taiden

Raging Falls is still a really fun place to visit. Bastien, a bear shifter, is an amazing character. I loved his artistic streak with carpentry. The "cabin" and furniture he created is described in such an amazing way that you can see the craftsmanship and beauty behind it. He's also pretty amazing at courting. I'd love to go out on any of the dates he plans, they are beyond perfect. He's everything you expect in a bear shifter - fierce and strong, but with a teddy bear aspect with those he loves that makes him quite a gentle soul.

Carly I liked, but she was taken way too far. Her father tries to control every aspect of her life and it goes horribly wrong - about as wrong as it could possibly go. Her attitude is a healthy one, leave me alone, I'm a big girl and I love myself just the way I am. But she said it over and over and over again. There has to be a way to show this strength without screaming it from every page. She did have an amazing sense of humor, and I loved all her nicknames for Bastien. They were perfect.

We meet a couple new characters that seem like they are going to be stars in our next trip to Raging Falls, but we don't see too much or our first couple. I missed them a little bit.

The other downfall for this book. It's really only about half of the pages you get and quite short. The rest of the story was first chapters from other books. I don't a little promo at the end, but almost half the book made it feel like I got a little ripped off.

Source: http://www.bittenbyromance.com/2016/08/miss-matched-by-milly-taiden.html

Dance in the Moon by Jennifer Probst

Dance in the Wind: Episode 4 (Rising Storm) - Jennifer Probst, Dee Davis, Julie Kenner
The fourth season of Storm Rising was a bit on the sweeter side, which was actually surprisingly nice! With all the drama, backstabbing, and lies (which I loved) of the previous books, it was nice to take a bit of a breather and watch a couple good things happen in Storm, TX.
 
Logan has returned and we have a bit of a love story unfolding between him and Ginny. Now, I'm just waiting for this to explode later down the line because of Ginny's potential lie (we really don't know for sure if it's true or not yet). But watching these two people damaged and grieving connect was very beautiful.
 
Now, there's still some scandal floating around in this one. Our senator is still cheating with the troubled young woman and we see a little bit more into the dynamics on this, but not too much. Just enough to keep it alive in our minds.
 
I'm eagerly anticipating episode 5, I wonder how long this romance can last before things blow up. Will the senator get caught? What about Lacey and her need for attention? So many questions to be answered!
Source: http://www.hotofftheshelves.com/2016/08/dance-in-wind-by-jennifer-probst.html

Lost in Paradise by Bridget Blackwood

Lost in Paradise (World in Shadows Book 4) - Simply Styled, Indie-Spired Design, Bridget Blackwood

What happens when you mix a half-merman with a reformed siren - all sorts of salty goodness! Ok so that might have been a little over the top, but this was a really great story. Both Zander and Ianthe were incredibly unique, but with just enough of the traditional lore mixed in to merge the two in a very believable manner.

This next edition of The World in Shadows series get very interesting. Winter is on the hunt for an artifact, sending Zander off on the chase. But he'll need a siren (his arch-enemy) to get the job done. He never expects to find Ianthe - probably the only siren on earth that won't kill him on sight - and now he just needs to convince her to join him in the treasure hunt.

Ianthe is so much, I'm not even sure where to begin. I love her personality so much - soft spoken, but quick to laugh, protective but not afraid to fight back or pull a prank or two (quite hilarious). She plays incredibly well off Zander and I just loved them together.

A couple times the story didn't quite live up to what it promised. A scene fizzled out or didn't quite build up the the excitement I felt like it should have. But others....well others went above and beyond and really pulled me away from reality into an amazing world.

Source: http://www.bittenbyromance.com/2016/08/lost-in-paradise-by-bridget-blackwood.html

Killer Takeout by Lucy Burdette

Killer Takeout (Key West Food Critic) - Lucy Burdette

Cozy mysteries are always a lot of fun - and for some reason when you throw food into the mix they're even better. I loved the mystery in this one. It was full of twists and turns, false leads, and sudden epiphanies. The setting was incredibly fun and dynamic, with Fantasy Fest (think Mardi Gras) flooding the area with revelers and muddying the waters of the investigation, there was just so much going on.

The Queen of Fantasy Fest may have killed the runner-up, but things are crazier than normal this year. Hayley isn't on the case, but she can't help but ask around when her friend Danielle becomes the prime suspect in the murder. But in true cozy fashion, she manages to think outside the box and head down an unexpected trail.

Once or twice it took a turn that was just a tad too far out there for me. It pushed my ability to suspend belief, but this was full of great characters and a great mystery.

Source: http://www.hotofftheshelves.com/2016/08/killer-takeout-by-lucy-burdette.html

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