Commodity by Shay Savage

Commodity by Shay Savage

Commodity Cover

2 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Commodity in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Hannah Savinski’s world was turned upside down when she dug into a discrepancy at work, and now her life is in danger. Falk Eckhart becomes her bodyguard, and he takes his job seriously. So when the world is attacked and he and Hannah are among the few survivors, Falk continues to protect her. But now the threats are different, and the two have to navigate this new world together. With so few women left, Hannah is a prized possession, and Falk will have to fight to save her.

Ms. Savage has created an interesting dystopia in Commodity. The story begins like a typical romance where we find out about the life of Hannah, and she meets her new bodyguard Falk. Disaster doesn’t strike until after they meet, and Falk vows to continue to protect her even though he’s no longer being paid for the job. He has a keen sense for when something isn’t right thanks to his years of military training.

I liked Falk and the buildup of the relationship between him and Hannah. It was paced nicely, on par with Hannah’s background and the new world they lived in. Falk was a typical alpha male, but even when he was barking orders there was an attractive quality about him.

I am typically a big fan of Ms. Savage’s work, but this book just didn’t hit home for me. It was told in first person point of view in two parts: the first part by Hannah and the second part by Falk. Unfortunately, this gave the book a very segmented feel. Because we don’t hear from Hannah again, there was no resolution provided for the background we were given in the first part of the book. Falk’s problems were barely hinted at in the first section, but they then became the focus of the second section. The resolution of the book was from Falk’s perspective, so there was no wrap-up of Hannah’s issues. It felt like the book would have been better served if it was written from only one perspective and focused on one character’s problems.

As much as I liked Hannah and Falk together, many times I rolled my eyes at Hannah’s clichéd actions. Every time she disregarded Falk’s directions, she ended up getting herself into trouble.

The book had a muddled feel to it as well. There were a large number of editing errors—things like quotation marks at the end of a paragraph when dialogue continued in the next paragraph, missing commas, missing punctuation, incorrect words—as well as quite a few discrepancies that drew me out of the story. For example, in one part Falk took off Hannah’s shoes, but she later asked what happened to them and he said they fell off. In another part, Hannah said the bag over her head had been taken off for a specific purpose, and shortly after she says she got the bag off her head while she was doing something else. All these issues combined gave the story a disorganized feel, as if it had been thrown together and not given the proper attention.

Unfortunately, this story wasn’t up to par with Ms. Savage’s other books.

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Rach

Enter the Moon (A Warriors of Luna Novel) by Jennifer Fisch-Ferguson

Enter the Moon (A Warriors of Luna Novel) by Jennifer Fisch-Ferguson

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2 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Enter the Moon by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Kama DeKosse has great plans for her life. She’s been training to be an opera singer since the age of seven. While on vacation and shopping for performance gowns, Kama meets Jack Twist and everything in her life gets thrown into a tailspin. Neither Kama nor Jack can deny their attraction to the other, but the obstacles they have to overcome may be too great. Their age difference is a major hurdle, yet it’s not the biggest thing standing in their way.

When Kama finds out her life is not at all what she thought it was, and neither is her boyfriend Jack, she’ll have to take some pretty big leaps of faith in order to survive. Her career in the world of opera hangs in the balance, and a new family of sorts is waiting for her on the other side.

Enter the Moon is a paranormal romance and urban fantasy novel that includes a romance with an age difference and werewolf shifters. The story is told in third person point of view by both main characters, even though it is mostly focused on Kama’s story.

Having both main characters be shifters along with their age difference was an interesting spin on the paranormal aspect of the story. The setting was also good, moving from LA to NYC and then focusing on Central Park. I also enjoyed the way the author used Jack’s “inner wolf” in a way that kept you guessing before you knew the truth. But in my opinion, the execution of what could have been a great plot was lacking.

At several points in the story, important events appeared to be thrown in with no transition. Each of these events felt misplaced, shocking in an unintended way. The entire story also seemed fragmented into different sections. It started with a large focus on Kama and Jack’s developing relationship and Kama acting very mature. When the story moved to NYC, Kama practically turned into a different character with more immature actions. We were also introduced to another character, who later disappeared from the story. The final section was the only one containing werewolves, which wasn’t really enough time to delve into the entire situation. Jack and Kama’s relationship was mostly an afterthought once we reached this point. I wanted to see more focus on the two of them together, or Jack explaining to Kama some of the things he mentioned in narration. Almost in passing, he mentioned Kama being his mate and that he couldn’t date her, but those issues were never really explored.

One big issue for me was the amount of internal dialogue from both characters. I understood this was partly done to show the split between the human and wolf personalities, but it pulled me out of the story because of the frequent shift between third person (narration) and first person (inner dialogue). At times there was almost as much inner dialogue as there was narration, and it didn’t add anything to the story, only told us what we already knew. The inner dialogue also contributed to an overall feel of “telling” instead of “showing,” though arguably this issue wasn’t limited to the inner dialogue. Telling the reader Kama and Jack made small talk over dinner didn’t help me get invested in the relationship.

Probably the most prominent issue for me was the editing—missing words, words out of order, commas in the wrong place, incorrect and missing punctuation, misuse and overuse of semicolons, sentences mashed together or ending abruptly. Dialogue (internal and actual) lacked contractions, making it feel stiff and formal. Internal dialogue was a mix of being in italics or single quotation marks, sometimes both and sometimes neither.

As much as I wanted to like this book, I had a difficult time becoming invested in it and sticking with it. This book just wasn’t for me.

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Rach

Forever Changed (The Forever Series Book 1) by Mona Ingram

Forever Changed (The Forever Series Book 1) by Mona Ingram

Forever Changed Cover

2 out of 5 Stars

When Ariana finds out she has breast cancer, she doesn’t know what to do with herself even though she’s been preparing herself for this for years since it took the lives of her mother and sister. The diagnosis forces her to take a hard look at her life, and she doesn’t like what she sees—a marriage that’s long since died and an unfulfilling job. When Ariana walks into Blaine Bennett’s tattoo shop, both their lives will be forever changed.

Forever Changed is a women’s fiction and contemporary romance novella that hooked me with its summary. Ariana’s breast cancer diagnosis and surgery gave her a new lease on life, and what better way to start it than with a new romance? I loved the plot and that this was a short, quick read. Blaine was a hot tattoo artist who knew his own loss, which was another plus for this story.

Unfortunately, it didn’t deliver as much as I’d hoped it would. While we were given enough background on both characters and some secondary characters as well, the insta-love between Ariana and Blaine was an insta-turn-off. Blaine saw Ariana twice before they met in person, and Ariana had never seen him before their first meeting. They spent maybe an hour together—it was actually difficult to tell—and then they were both in love. On top of that, Ariana left that meeting thinking Blaine was repulsed by her, yet she still loved him. I couldn’t buy into it and struggled throughout the rest of the story.

There were some other issues that didn’t really work for me as well, like bringing up the problems with Blaine and his father and immediately resolving them, Ariana’s best friend asking if she was in love after her first meeting, and Ariana’s eagerness to get remarried before her divorce was even final. On top of that, the amount of editing errors—missing commas before direct address, incorrect punctuation, letters missing from words—gave the book an unprofessional feel.

I truly had higher hopes for this book and was disappointed when they weren’t realized.

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Rach

Laid Out (Worth the Fight Book 4) by Sidney Halston

Laid Out (Worth the Fight Book 4) by Sidney Halston

Laid Out Cover

2 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided an Uncorrected Proof of Laid Out by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Violet Channing doesn’t know what life is like without her two best friends, Jeremy and Cain, until the boys are deployed when she’s sixteen. She’s left behind with mounting confusion thanks to her father’s issues with her weight, an explosive first kiss from Cain, and then being shunned by Cain and asked out by Jeremy. Twelve years later, Violet is trying to learn how to date again after her fiancé, Jeremy, is killed in action.

When Cain Sorenson comes back into Violet’s life, things get more confusing than ever. He’s ex-military but still works dangerous missions, and he’s involved in both MMA and underground fights. Cain has always been in love with Violet, but his guilt over Jeremy’s death won’t allow him to be anything more than her friend. Now Violet needs someone to teach her how to date, and Cain is the man for the job. They spend a few steamy days together, but when it’s over, each of them has to decide whether they should admit their true feelings or not.

Laid Out is a contemporary romance that just didn’t win me over. Part of the issue is that the copy I received was completely unedited, causing confusion throughout. There were incorrect wording choices that changed the meaning of a sentence. One character’s name was changed in parts of the story. Sometimes points of view were mixed together. I contacted the publisher to request a cleaner copy once it was available, but I was told the uncorrected proof was all that would be available. The issues were not limited to grammatical errors. They also extended into parts of the plot.

The other part of the issue is that the whole thing was a bit too cliché and sometimes unbelievable. Cain and Violet watched porn together, which led to them getting all hot and bothered. He continually pushed her away because of guilt, yet he was willing to sleep with her to teach her how to date. Cain was also extremely jealous of seeing Violet with another man.

Violet, Jeremy, and Cain had been best friends all their lives, yet they grew up in military families. It was entirely unrealistic for all three families to be stationed at the same bases all the time, allowing them to maintain such closeness. It also didn’t really fit that there would be a three-year age gap between Violet and the boys. If Violet and Cain were such good friends, I didn’t understand how she would have let him give her the silent treatment for so long once they were reunited. I also didn’t quite buy the fact that Violet happened to end up living in the same town as Cain along with her two new best friends.

Violet also was not a strong character. She constantly said she was okay with her weight, but then she’d put herself down because of her body image. The back and forth made her characterization weak.

Perhaps in the final version, some of these issues were ironed out, but there wasn’t enough believability for me to think the entire plot could be fixed prior to publication. I wanted to like this book because the summary and cover drew me in (although I later found that the cover image didn’t totally match the main character’s description). Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find enough I enjoyed to rate this positively even with the understanding that errors would be cleaned up.

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Rach

Stiletto (The Avengement Series Book 1) by Caddy Rowland

Stiletto (The Avengement Series Book 1) by Caddy Rowland

Stiletto Cover

2 out of 5 Stars

*I was gifted a copy of Stiletto by the author. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Jasmine Albertson has become used to a life of luxury thanks to her husband Stu’s money, but when his business is investigated for participating in a Ponzi scheme, she loses everything—the money, their house, Stu’s life, and even the baby she is carrying. Stu’s partner, John Mickelson, set everything up so Stu would take the fall and John would escape free and clear. Except Jasmine knows her husband was innocent, and if the law won’t punish John, she will.

Once all of her assets are gone, Jasmine is determined to build herself back up and put an end to John Mickelson no matter how long it takes. Her plan takes shape while chatting with her fellow exotic dancers—a job she had to go back to in order to make good money fast—and she is gifted a beautiful pair of shoes. But the shoes are more than just beautiful; they’re also deadly. And Jasmine knows exactly how she will put them to use.

Stiletto is a suspense thriller novel with very little actual suspense. Right off the bat, the reader knows Jasmine plans to rid the world of John Mickelson, and thanks to the prologue, we also are given a pretty good idea of how she will do it. Sure, some of the details are not revealed until later, but by that point in the book I didn’t really care. Nothing about this book drew me in or kept me engaged. The scenes were very simple and jumped around, and there wasn’t any character development.

This story had way too much “telling” instead of “showing,” and there was very little action when dialogue was involved. The dialogue felt unnatural and awkward. The plot was also unrealistic. Jasmine’s plan required her to become someone else and seduce John, but John and Stu had been best friends yet we were supposed to believe a blonde wig and blue contacts would mean John wouldn’t recognize his best friend’s wife of three years. The story included Jasmine’s best friend Tory, and his sub-plot was also not realistic. When Jasmine moved back to NYC, Tory was in the beginning stages of a relationship with a man named Brady. After three years of living and working in NYC, Jasmine somehow dodged any attempt of meeting Brady, and Tory and Brady’s relationship hadn’t progressed beyond the insecurity stage.

Both Jasmine and John were extremely cocky. Jasmine was somehow able to predict every one of John’s thoughts regarding her sex appeal and how much he would want her, plotting out exactly what he would do or say in her head before it happened. John’s character drove me crazy with how often he declared that Jasmine’s alter-ego Grace would want him sexually and want to come back for more once she had him.

The book was written in third person point of view, and at times the points of view were mixed together. There was also a random point of view from a club owner thrown in that had no reason to be there. The inclusion of Tory’s point of view was one more piece we didn’t need since he was also able to guess what Jasmine was up to. All of this combined for a lot of unnecessary repetition. The story would have been much better served by sticking to Jasmine’s point of view and adding more action. By the time Jasmine was ready to bait John into her plan, I was bored with the book and ready to move on. There was no mystery, and the suspense was minimal. With all of John’s cockiness, he accepted why Jasmine was going to kill him too easily, leaving the reader with an anticlimactic scene.

There were also some editing issues, like missing and extra words and missing punctuation. Overall, I found this book difficult to finish and almost put it down several times.

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Rach

Inestimable Blessings by Amanda Young

Inestimable Blessings by Amanda Young

Inestimable Blessings Cover

2 out of 5 Stars

Lee Calder knows what he wants out of life. He has a wonderful career as a physical therapist and a baby on the way via surrogate. The only thing missing is someone to share his blessings with him, but he’s okay with that as long as he gets to be a father. He’ll keep daydreaming about his hunky neighbor Finn while he enjoys life.

Literally stumbling onto his neighbor and finding out the other man is also gay is quite a surprise. While their attraction grows, Lee has to find a way to tell Finn he’s about to become a daddy without scaring Finn off.

Inestimable Blessings is a M/M contemporary romance about finding love when you least expect it. While Lee was happy to raise his child alone, finding someone to share his family with would be the icing on the cake. Finn also wasn’t looking for love after being burned by his ex. And he certainly wasn’t looking for a ready-made family.

Although I loved the premise of this book and enjoy family-centered romance, there were a few things that missed the mark for me. Lee was quick to anticipate the problem of Finn rejecting him because of his impeding fatherhood when Finn had given no indication he wouldn’t be receptive to the idea. It felt like the author was telling us what the issue would be instead of building up to something. The summary also misled me to believe there would be some big rescue between the two men when in actuality it was nothing like that. There was also a bit of unnecessary cliché.

I found the dialogue somewhat awkward as well as editing and formatting issues. There were some inconsistencies, like telling us that the surrogate had four children but later saying she had two. Several chapter breaks were missing, and there was some random highlighting in the electronic version. A professional editor and formatter would have made a world of difference in this book. These days, there are so many choices that it’s not worth it to read something that’s not professionally done.

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Rach

Love Takes Your Breath Away (Truth About Love Book 1) by Caleigh Hernandez

Love Takes Your Breath Away (Truth About Love Book 1) by Caleigh Hernandez

 Love Takes Your Breath Away Cover

2 out of 5 Stars

*I was gifted a copy of Love Takes Your Breath Away by the author. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Izabella and Diego are madly in love and get married in a small ceremony in Las Vegas with only their two best friends in attendance. Now they’ll have to settle into life as a married couple. They’ll be going through some changes as their marriage progresses and will have to find a way to navigate the good and the bad.

Love Takes Your Breath Away is a contemporary romance novella about what happens once lovers say “I do.” We follow Izzy and Diego from their wedding, through their honeymoon, and into the trials and tribulations of married life. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem like anything really happened in the book. It was just a series of events between the main characters and their two best friends. I kept waiting for there to be a point to the plot, but it never happened. There was no conflict and no climax. Sure, I understood that Izzy and Diego loved each other, but the author never demonstrated why. There wasn’t much history or depth to the characters. There was more description of food and clothing than the characters.

In addition to the lack of plot, most of the book didn’t make sense to me. Why were their best friends spending so much time with them when they were supposed to be on their honeymoon? Why was one of the best friends making food for them in a hotel? How could he have possibly made food for an entire wedding reception—still in the hotel—by himself? The characters were constantly laughing or crying when nothing really seemed funny or sad. The story felt like someone’s trip down memory lane where the reader was left out of all the private jokes.

Then there were the formatting and editing issues. There was supposed to be a picture at one point, but it didn’t come through in the Kindle edition. There were tense changes, bad dialogue tags, typos, incorrect punctuation, and incomplete sentences. A few inconsistencies also drew away from the story, like the woman who sold them the house said she had no children, but then she said she had to go visit her grandchildren.

Unfortunately, what could have been a sweet romance was nothing more than a boring series of events interspersed with sexual encounters. If it had been cut down and edited properly, it could have been filler for a novel with an actual plot.

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Rach

Destiny Disrupted (There’s Always Tomorrow Book 1) by M.D. Saperstein

Destiny Disrupted (There’s Always Tomorrow Book 1) by M.D. Saperstein

Destiny-Disrupted Cover

2 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Destiny Disrupted by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

*Warning: This review contains spoilers.*

Vance Summers has faced a lot of disturbing scenes in his years on the job as a homicide detective, but the latest string of gruesome murders has him questioning his ability to do the job. Being on the highway behind Melina Higgins when her car is overcome by metal rods falling from a truck feels like kismet. Vance finds himself drawn to Melina as she recovers from her injuries.

Melina is hesitant to date a man whose job will always come first, but her attraction to Vance is undeniable. When Vance’s job becomes personal and the serial killer goes after those he loves most, Vance, Melina, and all their friends will need to band together and fight against the threat.

Destiny Disrupted is a suspenseful romance detailing the lives and relationships of Detective Vance Summers and all his friends. The suspense surrounds the case of a serial killer that turns personal when Vance begins to receive messages pointing to the fact the killer knows him. When he comes home to find all of his roommates injured and one person left dead, Vance is finally able to put the pieces together and figure out who the killer is. But they still have to catch him.

The story unfortunately had many issues between the writing, lack of relationship buildup, the plot itself, and most importantly the ending. Written in third person point of view, it seemed like we heard from almost every character at one point or another, and truly only Vance’s point of view fit in with the ending of the story. The writing was simplistic and at times naïve. While in Melina’s point of view, Vance called 911 to report the car accident, and within his dialogue the author spelled out in parentheses what the police codes meant. We were introduced to a lot of characters and their relationships to each other in the beginning of the book, giving the feeling of cramming for a test rather than natural incorporation into the story.

Regarding the relationship between Vance and Melina, all of the details of them getting to know each other were skipped over. The focus was on the sexual encounters, leaving no chance for the reader to become invested in the relationship. The relationships between other characters were even worse, feeling like they were thrown in within Vance and Melina’s story with a chapter here and there in someone else’s point of view.

There were several issues with the plot that drew away from the overall enjoyment. To start with, Melina was in a car accident, bleeding with a pipe stuck through her thigh, yet all she could think about was how gorgeous Vance was. Her recovery and immediate return to dancing weren’t realistic for the type of injury she suffered. The ages and jobs of each of the men didn’t fit. For example, Vance was twenty-eight and had been a homicide detective for eight years. His little brother was twenty-one, yet he was still “best friends” with Vance and all of his friends. And Ryder, one of Vance’s best friends, had been attracted to Vance’s little brother for a long time. I couldn’t figure out how old Vance’s younger sister was supposed to be as she was married with two children, the oldest of whom was seven.

Another issue was with the way some information felt forced into the story, as if the author wanted to focus on the sexual aspect of the characters’ lives rather than their emotional and personal issues. Several times, it was mentioned that one or another of the guys slept naked, and none of them had any problem with others barging into their room like that. There was also a scene with Vance and one of his friends jerking off to porn together that was entirely unnecessary. The portions told from other characters’ points of view included a sexual scene between two men, which again felt like it wasn’t necessary, as well as sexual scenes with Vance’s other roommates.

Spoiler Alert: The ending of the story really pushed me over the edge for how much I disliked this book. After all of these other characters had their say, many scenes not including Vance, we found out the entire story was some kind of a dream and Vance had never even met anyone named Melina.

This book unfortunately wasn’t worth the time it took to read it.

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Rach

Fighting to Start (Fighting Madly Book 1) by S.L. Ziegler

Fighting to Start (Fighting Madly Book 1) by S.L. Ziegler

Fighting to Start Cover

2 out of 5 Stars

Twenty-one-year-old Hadley loves Reed “Riker” Collins madly, which is why she completely shuts down when he leaves her one day with nothing more than a note. Reed is an MMA fighter looking to make something of himself so he can be good enough for Hadley, his only love, a girl who grew up in privilege as opposed to his life of poverty. He promises to come back for her once he finds himself, hoping she’ll also follow her dreams instead of giving everything up to follow him.

Unfortunately, Reed’s good intentions don’t work out like he planned. Although he’s made a name for himself and plenty of money, both his life and Hadley’s have been practically destroyed in the process. Reed will fight to get her back, but Hadley isn’t sure there’s anything left worth saving.

Fighting to Start is book one in the Fighting Madly series, and the story doesn’t end with a happily ever after. It’s not a cliffhanger ending, but there is clearly more to the story between Hadley and Reed. While Fighting to Start is definitely in the romance genre, I’d call it more of a relationship story. It starts with the main characters madly in love with each other, but very quickly Reed makes the decision to leave Hadley for her own good, and the two live their lives separately for about five years. We hear about what each of them is up to during that time and the bits of information they get about each other, which spurs on the choices they make. Eventually the two arcs come back together, but there’s no immediate happy reunion. Even once they do reunite romantically, the story is not over since both characters are hiding information about their past from the other.

This is where things got a little too cliché for my liking. Reed and Hadley agreed to discuss the past one time and then put it behind them, but neither of them did that. They both kept secrets, and when those secrets came out neither of them were able to just move on from it. I didn’t understand the ending of how Hadley could suddenly decide she couldn’t be in a relationship with Reed because of something that had happened while they were apart when they made that agreement in the first place.

Let me discuss the stupid choices they each made. To start with, Reed left Hadley for her own good without giving her perspective any consideration. That was the entire premise of the story, and it annoyed me from the get-go. While they were apart, he was so broken up over not being with her that he went out and slept with other women—lots of other women. Meanwhile, Hadley complained about how much of a pig Bennett was and an hour later she decided he was perfect for her. Once his true nature came out, she admitted he was a monster but never entertained the idea of leaving him.

Then there was the unrealistic. Reed’s father died quickly and without warning, yet somehow he managed to write a letter to Reed that said how long ago Hadley had contacted him, which meant he had written the letter right before he died somehow knowing he was going to die. Hadley’s mother made a long-winded speech on her deathbed while she was in pain but holding off on getting pain meds. Reed and Hadley got back together and had sex the night Hadley’s mother died. Then everything between them was magically okay after that. Reed’s training only ever consisted of using punching bags, even though he was a master of mixed martial arts. The story ends with Hadley in a coma, but the epilogue jumps to her going home and being strong enough to leave Reed.

And then there were the editing mistakes. The dialogue was unnatural. There were tense changes, lots of run-on sentences, missing words, words out of order, and incorrect word usage—rose “pedals” instead of “petals,” “heal” instead of the “heel” of a shoe, another “thing” coming instead of another “think” coming. Hadley talks about storm counting with her mom when she was younger, but she got the process wrong, saying they counted from thunder to lightning when it should have been counting from lightning to thunder. At one point, Reed was on the phone with someone, yet he told us he watched the guy shake his head. In the epilogue, Hadley said she hasn’t said a word to Reed since she left the hospital, but she had just had dialogue a few paragraphs prior.

Overall, this story wasn’t very enjoyable for me with so much of it being cliché, unrealistic, and poorly edited. I would not be interested in reading more of the series.

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Rach

Captive Guardian (Witches Amulet Book 2) by Paulina Woods

Captive Guardian (Witches Amulet Book 2) by Paulina Woods

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2 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided with a copy of Captive Guardian by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Michael, second in command of the gargoyle army, is captured by evil witches and taken to New York where he is placed in a penthouse cage. His roommate, Marcus, is a male witch who has only ever known a life of captivity. Marcus was raised to breed powerful witches. Realizing Marcus is his mate, Michael vows to find a way to free them both, but Marcus doesn’t know how to live outside of captivity.

Once free, the men take refuge with a coven of vampires while they wait for Michael’s strength to return so he can open a portal and take them to his home. When they return to Michael’s home, Marcus is finally able to meet his sister Milcah, another powerful witch. Marcus will need to decide if he wants to be part of the quest to overthrow the evil witches and become Michael’s mate, or if he’d rather return to the simple life he’s comfortable with.

Captive Guardian is the second book in the Witches Amulet series. Although I was assured this was a standalone book, I did not feel it could be read and fully understood without having read the first book in the series, Stone Guardian. The beginning of Captive Guardian picks up right where Stone Guardian left off, and as with the first book, the quest doesn’t advance much in the second book. I assume it will be continued in another book to be added to the series.

I enjoyed the paranormal aspect of the story, which included gargoyles, witches, vampires, and fae, but felt the story was lacking in quite a few areas. The main focus of the book was the relationship between Michael and Marcus, with the attraction from both of them being instantaneous. There was not enough focus on the quest to save the world from the evil witches. That felt more like a sub-plot.

Marcus was a very immature, simple, and needy character. Some of his characterization called for this as he had spent his entire life in captivity, but at times he seemed more like a young boy rather than a grown man capable of making decisions for himself. Barely any discussion revolved around Marcus’ powers, or his history and how he became captive, or on what his part in the quest to save the world would be.

Like book one of the series, this book contained numerous formatting and editing errors as well as unnatural dialogue. A character name was spelled wrong, and the wrong name was used several times. “Tuscan Mountains” was used frequently, although the characters were in Arizona (not Italy). I believe the term the author was looking for was “Tucson Mountains.”

The story essentially ends with no resolution, leaving the reader hanging once again. It is not necessarily a cliffhanger ending, but not a true end to the story either. Overall, it did not entice me to read more.

Yesterday I posted my review of book 1 of the Witches Amulet series, Stone Guardian. You can find it by selecting Romance/Paranormal from the Review tab.

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Rach