Category Archives: Paranormal

AN UNEXPECTED AFFAIR

A romance novelist heads to a holiday cottage hoping to break through writer’s block and finds herself drawn to the retreat’s enigmatic owner.

An Unexpected Affair (Scottish Werebear, #1)

An Unexpected Affair

Clarice Adler is under a deadline to turn in her next novel and she’s no where near finished. So her attraction to Derek McMillan is unexpected and unwelcome, especially since she believes he’s married. For his part, Derek is not at all interested in starting anything up with Clarice. He’s a werebear, and everyone knows (according to him) that bears are loners. It doesn’t help that labors under serious baggage stemming from his parents’ fatal car accident. Derek is sure there’s more to the event than officials will admit. Resolving this plot line links all of the subsequent books, though the romances in each novella are self-contained.

The setting in this book is done so well that you can SEE the farm, cottages, and surrounding open spaces. There’s also a nice, slow build to the relationship. This easy pacing is refreshing and it’s also not easy to pull off in such a short book.

As soon as I finished this, I hurried to download the next two. The accident plot takes some interesting turns over the course of the series, but I think this first one is the best by far in terms of character development and emotion.

A DANGEROUS HUNGER by J.S. Scott

When a reclusive academic’s work on demons lands her in danger, she must accept the protection of a sentinel demon with an appetite for food and romance.

A Dangerous Hunger (The Sentinel Demons, #2)

A Dangerous Hunger

This was my least favorite of J.S. Scott’s The Sentinel Demon series. The chemistry between Dr. Talia Maris and Drew Winston never quite gets going. The book starts out with some excitement as Drew plots to capture his elusive charge. It’s kind of cute how he finally manages to lure her into his clutches. But the relationship never really takes off. Drew is the least smoldering of the three heroes in the series. There’s nothing particularly unique about him. Talia is a more fully developed character–and she has a great cat.

The underworld introduced in A DANGEROUS BARGAIN is explored and it’s pretty scary. But the bad demons (the “Evils”) aren’t as big a threat as in the first book, where they caused all sorts of trouble.

The book entertains but it doesn’t sweep you away.

A DANGEROUS BARGAIN by J.S. Scott

A sentinel demon must protect his soul mate from his enemies.

A Dangerous Bargain (The Sentinel Demons, #1)

A Dangerous Bargain

There’s a lot of sexual tension between Zach Winston and Kat Larsen. The premise of Scott’s fictional universe–that sentinel demons were created to protect humankind after the gods of Mt. Olympus retired to the Elysian Fields and left people unprotected from the evil demons who desire to prey on them–is interesting and well thought out. So is the concept of “Radiants”–the fated mates that are the keepers of the sentinels’ souls.

The fast pace and a carefully placed twists kept me reading. Also, for once, the bad guys (“Evils”) of the series are actually pretty scary. I get a little tired of amazing heroes fighting powerful foes who turn out not to be so powerful after all. Scott’s baddies turn up when you least expect it and cause lots of chaos.

Zach’s brother demons are interesting–especially Hunter. When I finished this book, I immediately downloaded the other two. In fact, last week I posted my review of A Dangerous Fury, Hunter’s book. It’s the third in the series and my favorite, so it jumped to the head of the review line.

Excellent paranormal romance.

ETHAN’S MATE by J.S. Scott

A vampire warrior must find his fated mate to reclaim his soul.

Ethan's Mate (The Vampire Coalition, #1)

Ethan’s Mate

This is book one of J.S. Scott’s The Vampire Coalition paranormal romance series. It’s a novella…kind of. Really, it’s too short for that designation. It’s a long short story, which is fine. Nothing wrong with short fiction. Ethan and the heroine have strong and believable chemistry and the premise behind the author’s imagined world is interesting.

Pacing is a problem. This installment sets up the series and offers erotic content, but this is at the cost of plot depth and character development. The evil vampires are fascinating, but they are not used to the fullest effect. The ending is too abrupt.

ETHAN’S MATE gives us good a sense of where the larger Vampire Coalition series is going. The question is do we want to be bothered going with it? I probably won’t.

A DANGEROUS FURY by J.S. Scott

A sentinel demon with anger management issues must rescue a woman who holds the secret to defeating his kind’s biggest enemy.

A Dangerous Fury (The Sentinel Demons, #3)

A Dangerous Fury

This is my favorite of J.S.Scott’s Sentinel Demons series. Hunter Winston is by far the darkest and most complex of the three sentinel “brothers.” His zeal for killing “Evils” (the bad demons) makes him break all sorts of rules and gets him into serious trouble. As we learn, Hunter has plenty of reasons to be bitter. In many ways his long-term mission has been much harder and more damaging that those of his brother demons, Zach and Drew.

The future of all the Sentinels depends on his current assignment, but this woman he’s charged with protecting isn’t easy to trace. Hunter has to fight his way to her hidden mansion. By the time he gets there, he’s not a happy camper. I can’t say much more or even give the woman’s name without completely spoiling a plot full of unexpected twists that shed light on the creation of these unique demons and their mission to protect humanity.

There’s amazing chemistry between the leads. Scott builds up Hunter’s bad attitude so well that we expect an explosion when the couple finally comes together. Which brings me to my only real criticism of the book–the romantic tension resolves too quickly. I wanted a more stubbornly rebellious Hunter, who fights his attraction to this woman tooth and nail. However, even with the premature tying up of the romance part, there’s plenty of action and plot revelations to keep you reading.

An exciting and entertaining paranormal romance.

Review: Haunted House…Haunted Life

A dying woman’s obsession with her childhood “friend” follows her into an uneasy afterlife.

Disclaimer: This isn’t an easy book to review properly without spoiling. The story really needs to be experienced firsthand for the biggest impact, so forgive me for any vagueness here.

HAUNTED HOUSE...HAUNTED LIFE: (What We Leave Behind) (The Coffee Break Series Book 5)

HAUNTED HOUSE…HAUNTED LIFE: (What We Leave Behind)

HAUNTED HOUSE…HAUNTED LIFE starts out as a darkly funny drama, and the main character, Jeanne, seems like a long-suffering wife and mother yearning for one last contact with the only friend she’s ever had. Things quickly turn on their head, however, and we learn that “Anna Maria” isn’t quite who–or what–we think. Nor will Jeanne’s search for her be as simple or straight forward as we expect. Instead we watch in stunned horror as the woman we’ve been rooting for with the batty husband and disappointing kids slowly twists into someone else altogether as her obsession ratchets higher and higher.

At the same time as Jeanne struggles toward her goal, there’s a secondary family tale going on. This one centers on parental love and the lengths some will go to in order to make amends to those most important to them. I love how, in a way, misguided, tragic Jeanne provides the opportunity for another remorseful soul, to find his way to reconciliation and peace.

This is a funny, sad, moving book that I’ll remember for a long time.

Review: BOUND BY LIGHT

*I received an ARC of this book in return for an honest review.

A young woman moves to London after her mother’s death and is swept into the arms of a movie star who is more than he seems.

Bound by Light (Cauld Ane, #7)

Bound by Light

I’ve read all of the Cauld Ane books. It’s a great series and BOUND BY LIGHT has one of the most endearing heroines. Sydney is likable and vulnerable. She has everything anyone could want on a material level, but she’d give it all away to have her mother back.

Movie star (and Cauld Ane) Thane Allen is strong and protective without being overbearing. Though Sydney might disagree! She balks at his attempts to keep her safe from a stalker who turns out be far more dangerous and unhinged than anyone expected.

I figured out WHO the villain was early on. So did Sydney, even if she didn’t understand that she knew. The WHY behind it all did come as a surprise. Let’s just say that at its core this book is about the mother-child bond–at its best and at its worst.

The binding scene between Thane and Sydney could have been more sensual. I’m not saying Jackson should have been more graphic in her depiction of their coming together. I do think it was noticeably underwritten. Sex aside, it would have been nice to know more about what Thane and Sydney were feeling and thinking at this pivotal moment.

Also, the pacing between the 50% and 80% points lags a little as we follow Thane and Sydney from home visit to home visit to home visit. It is nice to catch up with the previous Cauld Ane couples, but all the relatives and their wonderful estates do begin to blur together.

The climax makes up for the travel section. The villain is SCARY and it’s heartbreaking when Sydney learns that her childhood memories are not the whole truth. I can’t say more without spoiling the story.

BOUND BY LIGHT is romantic and suspenseful. Five stars!

Review: MANTEQUERO

An overweight school teacher spends her Christmas holidays in Spain where she meets a mysterious man and and even more mysterious fate.

Mantequero

Mantequero

As this paranormal story is quite short, there isn’t too much I can say without spoiling it for you. June is a teacher with no social life to speak of. Fed up with being taken for granted by her slimmer sisters and needy mother, she takes off for Spain in a kind of glorious rebellion. The tiny village is just what she wanted, and she settles in for what she expects will be a relaxing and uneventful stay. Then, while losing track of time during an evening walk, she meets a gentlemen whose courtly behavior and obvious interest in her raises the possibility of romance. But this Don Juan is much more than he seems.

Twist’s writing is solid. In roughly 36 pages, she manages to make June believable and likable, and she does a wonderful job with her settings. Both June’s life in England and her time in Spain seemed real to me. Twist’s pacing is perfect. There’s just enough suspense to keep you turning the pages until that shocking final image hits you in the gut.

Though this is the first story in a series, I wouldn’t call the ending a cliffhanger. The kindle version I read included the opening of the next story. The transition between the first and second installments is smooth, and the timeline is maintained, which helps keep you oriented.

MANTEQUERO is a short, entertaining horror story that leaves you eager for more.

Review: A Werewolf for Christmas

A young doctoral student recovering from setbacks in her career and love life is pursued by a werewolf who resents that she’s his natural mate.

All I Want For Christmas is a Werewolf (Changeling Encounters, #3)

All I Want For Christmas is a Werewolf

This story is the third entry in J.S. Scott’s Changeling Encounters paranormal series. It’s the most developed of the three. Both Faith and Gavin have back stories weighing on them. The romance isn’t simply a matter of the werewolf convincing the human that they are meant to be. Gavin thought he’d found his mate once before and it ended in heartache. So he hates romance and he hates Christmas.

Faith’s last lover stabbed her in the back by stealing her research and using it to get the job she wanted. Her feelings–anger, pain, distrust–are realistic. Unfortunately, Scott undermined my suspension of disbelief by not filling the situation in better. First of all, there’s no explanation of how Faith’s research was stolen. Every PhD student has an adviser and a committee overseeing their work from well before the research begins. Perhaps an adviser could steal research. But another student? Also, this “job” Faith lost out on is never specified. PhD students don’t compete for “jobs.” They battle for prestigious research fellowships, grants, and university teaching positions.

This may seem like I’m quibbling, but we’re supposed to believe this bright young woman with an advanced education is now scratching to survive. So the reason behind her problem needs to be convincing.

A good book, but a bit more research would have turned this four-star short into a five star.

Review: DANGERS OF ADOPTING A WEREWOLF

A young illustrator picking up the pieces of her life after a time of tragedy takes home a stray puppy only to discover he’s a werewolf.

The Dangers of Adopting a Werewolf (Changeling Encounters, #2)

The Dangers of Adopting a Werewolf

This is the second story in J.S. Scott’s Changeling Encounters paranormal series. I was glad to find it much better developed than MATE OF THE WEREWOLF. There’s tension from the first page as Rafe Lancaster, stays outside too long in his wolf form, is on the run from hunters. He makes himself as small as possible and hides. Zoey Hall discovers him during a walk in the woods. The tension escalates as readers wait for her to figure out what she’s brought home.

The romance develops nicely. There’s more of an arc to the relationship than in Scott’s first story. Still, by not delving deeper into Zoey’s past, the author misses an excellent opportunity to build the character.

THE DANGERS OF ADOPTING A WEREWOLF has a great premise and is an overall quick, fun read.