Sugar & Gold (Dreamcatchers Book 2) by Emma Scott

Sugar & Gold (Dreamcatchers Book 2) by Emma Scott

Sugar & Gold Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

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

Sugar & Gold is the second book in Emma Scott’s Dreamcatchers series, but as a standalone novel, you can comfortably read this amazing book without having read the first in the series (although I highly recommend reading How to Save a Life anyway—my review can be found here). Like the first book, this one contains what I’d categorize as a touch of paranormal. It’s so well-incorporated into the characterization that it doesn’t feel like a paranormal story though, so definitely don’t let that scare you off from reading if you’re not a fan of paranormal romance.

Nikolai Young was born with a gift he’d rather not have. His ability to know people’s emotions set him apart from a young age and caused his father to leave and his mother to think he had the devil inside him. He spends his life running from his ability, crisscrossing the country to keep his gift from overwhelming him. He plays poker to win just enough money to live off of and then moves on. Until he meets Fiona, the woman who calms the chaos of his gift.

Fiona Starling has a dream of moving to Costa Rica. The bright colors and lush greenery will help her escape her ugly past. She’s already begun rebuilding her life on her own terms, and a one-night stand with a tattooed stranger fits the bill of doing whatever she wants in the moment. Their physical connection is so strong right from the start that Fiona and Nik can’t seem to stay away from each other. But both of them have inner demons to deal with before they can find peace with each other.

I have yet to read a book by Ms. Scott I didn’t love, and this one was no different. It captured my heart right from the start with Nik’s poor, tortured soul just trying to find a little peace. I also loved sweet Fiona, so happy and carefree on the outside but with a difficult past she kept buried inside. The character growth in this book was a joy to watch. Nik and Fiona each had issues to come to grips with, and they knew they couldn’t depend on the other as their sole resource.

As with all of Ms. Scott’s books I’ve read so far, this story is full of passion and emotion. The author has a way of making you feel everything right along with the characters. I am a fan for life of Ms. Scott’s work and will be eagerly awaiting each of her new releases.

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Happy reading!

Rach

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How to Save a Life by Emma Scott

How to Save a Life by Emma Scott

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of How to Save a Life by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Josephine Clark is scarred in more ways than one. Weeks away from graduating high school and starting out on her own, she meets Evan Salinger, the town freak. Evan has been labeled a mental case by the rest of the students. He claims to see things in his dreams he otherwise has no way of knowing, and Jo is warned to stay away from him. But Jo is a freak in her own mind, and the pair quickly find solace in each other, building a soul-deep relationship. With Evan by her side, Jo’s future looks a little brighter, until they’re ripped apart by circumstances outside their control.

Several years later, Jo is hanging on by a thread. When Evan finds her, the thread snaps and they have to go on the run from the law. Evan’s visions keep them moving in what he’s sure is the right direction, although things only seem to be getting worse from Jo’s perspective. It’ll take a lot of faith for them to finally be able to live the life they’ve dreamed of all these years.

How to Save a Life is a second chance romance with a bit of paranormal fueling the plot. Even if you’re not a fan of paranormal stories, this is one book you should take a chance on. The paranormal aspect is so well incorporated it feels like a natural part of Evan’s character. He’s just a regular high school kid who happens to have dreams that end up coming true. He intensely feels the visions, and they guide all his decisions in life. Because of their love—an emotion foreign to both main characters at the start of the novel—Jo is able to trust in Evan’s instincts even if she doesn’t understand them. The journey this takes them on is intense and thrilling, resulting in a book I couldn’t put down once I started reading it.

Both Jo and Evan are flawed characters, which made me love them all the more. Issues in Jo’s past have shaped who she is now, and it’s easy to understand why she doesn’t trust many people. Evan knows he can’t depend on anyone but himself, and he also understands there are sacrifices he has to make in order to reach his destiny. He has to trust his visions, even when he doesn’t fully understand them.

The romance between the two was well-developed even though it occurred over a short period of time. It was clear these two people were meant to be together, but the journey throughout the book made for a wild ride that kept me on the edge of my seat, waiting and hoping they would find their happily-ever-after.

Ms. Scott has a way with drawing out emotions to pull the reader into the world of her characters. Several times I was in tears over these characters. I highly recommend this book and will definitely read more by this author.

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Happy reading!

Rach

Talent (Descended from Myth Book 2) by Erin McFadden

Talent (Descended from Myth Book 2) by Erin McFadden

Talent Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

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

Claire Montgomery is a Talent who doesn’t trust the very organization charged with protecting her. She is able to see into people’s minds and help correct things that are wrong, this Talent descended from the original nine muses. But when using her Talent, Claire develops headaches and other problems, and those around her are at a loss as to why. Now she’s about to be assigned her own Watcher from the Guardians, and she’ll have to figure out who she can really trust to keep her safe.

Porter McGavin has PTSD from serving in the military. He suffers alone, until he’s offered a position with the Guardians and he finally finds a place he fits in. When temporarily assigned to watch Claire, the two find an unexplained connection, but with Claire’s trust issues and Porter’s past coming back to haunt him, it will be a race against the clock to save both their lives.

Talent is book two of the Descended from Myth series and is a paranormal romance. Although a standalone book, there were some issues that were not fully discussed in this book, which may have been more thoroughly delved into in book one. Claire’s past was alluded to many times, and I had a general idea of what had happened to her, but there were missing pieces of information that might have rounded out my understanding of her character.

The first half of the book moved too slowly to hold my attention. The narrative was very telling, trying to catch the reader up on events that had already happened, and we learned about the characters through narrative rather than through actions.

Although the book got off to a very slow start, the second half was much more action packed and held my interest more. The plot was interesting, and I appreciated the connection between Claire and Porter and how their lives were intertwined once things got moving. The way all the pieces of the puzzle came together was satisfying and entertaining.

There were a lot of tense changes, which drew me out of the story, among other editing errors. Long paragraphs where one person’s dialogue was mixed with another person’s thoughts were also distracting. I had a difficult time visualizing Porter because the picture on the cover didn’t match his description in the book. My attention to the plot would have been stronger without these disruptions.

Three stars for this interesting paranormal romance.

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Happy reading!

Rach

Guardian (The Guardian Trilogy Book 1) by Sara Mack

Guardian (The Guardian Trilogy Book 1) by Sara Mack

Guardian Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

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

Overcome with grief after losing the love of her life, Emma Donohue tries to put her life back together with the help of her best friend, a new job, and the interest of new friend Dane. But James’ voice in her head makes her think she’s going crazy. When she sees James—really sees him—she has to decide if hallucinations are taking over her life or if what James tells her about himself is true.

Guardian is book one in The Guardian Trilogy and is a paranormal romance between Emma and a new love interest, Dane, after Emma’s boyfriend James is killed in a car accident. The premise of the story was enthralling. James appeared to Emma and explained how he became a Guardian and what that entailed while allowing him to visit her from time to time. But in visiting her, he was also witnessing her life and how she was moving on. Emma was consumed with guilt over James’ death, believing it was her fault, and also didn’t want to move on since she still loved James so much. She had some difficult decisions to make throughout the book.

Starting with James’ death, the book backtracked a bit through Emma’s memories to show how their relationship came about. A little too much information was provided while still not truly selling me on their great love. Little tidbits of paranormal activity were hinted at in the beginning, but the first part of the book dragged for me before things really got moving.

The story did pick up pace and keep me interested until the end, although I had trouble with the timing of the plot. The entire book took place over about three months, and Emma’s best friend was pressuring her to move on with another guy only a month after James’ death. Dane also was a bit too forward for my liking. He would say he didn’t want to pressure Emma and understood she was grieving, but his actions were entirely contradictory. I did see a bit more connection between Emma and Dane though.

There were some editing and formatting problems, but one thing that confused me more than anything was a major part of the paranormal aspect. When James was with Emma, he wasn’t able to touch her. Hands and bodies passed through each other, but then they were able to hold hands, put arms around each other, and kiss.

This was a solid plot that left the door open for book two of the series without a cliffhanger but had some definite room for improvement.

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Happy reading!

Rach

Mountain Charm by Sydney Logan

Mountain Charm by Sydney Logan

Mountain Charm Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

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

Do Appalachian Mountain witches really exist? That’s exactly what Dylan Thomas sets out to find out in the sweet love story, Mountain Charm. Sydney Logan has created another engaging plot, and you’ll be convinced that love charms and healers are real.

Angelina Clark casts a spell on her thirteenth birthday, just like her female ancestors before her have, to find her true love when she turns twenty-one. Unfortunately, by the time of her twenty-first birthday life has dealt her a sour hand and she no longer wants any part of the spell. She believes the attraction she feels to journalist Dylan Thomas isn’t real, and neither is his devotion to her.

But with Dylan’s persistence and her mother’s love, Angelina begins to realize that even if the charm played a part in bringing her love to her, it has no part in keeping them together. Dylan’s not perfect, and he has issues of his own to resolve, so they’ll need to work together like any other couple to make their relationship successful.

If you’re looking for a charming love story, look no further than Mountain Charm. This is another well-written tale with just enough family issues and outside interference to balance the sweetness. I loved that the hero wasn’t the run of the mill alpha male. He had flaws to overcome, making him more believable. And although the story was mostly focused on Angelina, Dylan also had family issues to resolve, adding depth to his character and the plot.

Ms. Logan is a master at happily ever afters, and this book did not disappoint. I look forward to reading more by her in the future.

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Happy reading!

Rach

The Kiss: The Cotiere Chronicles Book 1 by Michelle Bolanger

The Kiss: The Cotiere Chronicles Book 1 by Michelle Bolanger

The Kiss Cover

Summary

Best friends since birth, Leisel Gottschalk and Baden Dietrich are months away from the ceremony that will unite them forever, until Baden learns that everything they’ve been told about their arranged union is based on lies. He knows he has to let her go, but getting her away from their family will cost them everything.

Koen Lockton is determined to make the most of his life. He’s just signed a recording and tour contract that will jump start his music career. With one year of school left before he hits the road, his life changes in a way he never would have dreamed when he hears Leisel Gottschalk’s laugh. But when she fails to recognize him for what he is, he knows something is terribly wrong.

Driven into hiding and divided by an ancient wrong, a forgotten race of people are nearing extinction. Old traditions and long held grudges will be exposed and challenged when one man risks it all to right the wrong he caused and three young lives are caught in the middle. Will they be strong enough to change the future and unite a broken people? All it will take is a single kiss, but are they willing to break her family rules?

Rach Lawrence Books Review

3 out of 5 Stars

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

The Kiss is a clean paranormal romance about Leisel Gottchalk coming of age and finding her mate. Born without the sense of smell, Leis is afraid she will be unable to bond with best friend and intended Baden Dietrick when the time comes. Their people are near extinction and are depending on Leis and Baden to mate and reproduce, but Baden knows he and Leis aren’t really meant for each other.

The story is an interesting one, beginning with Leis trying to find feelings for Baden that just aren’t there. All her life she’s been told it’s her fault because she has no sense of smell, but the true problem is that Leis and Baden are being forced into something that isn’t meant to be. I loved the way the author contrasted Leis’ feelings for Baden with her feelings for Koen once he entered the picture. Certainly any girl would be attracted to Koen, the sexy musician, but Leis recognizes there is something different about the way she feels for Koen even when she can’t smell him like the rest of the females of her race.

Set in modern times, the book is about a supernatural race nearing extinction. I enjoyed the world the author created and how the Cotiere was able to live in everyday society without being discovered. The plot of Leis, Koen, and Baden having to fight against their own people lured me in and kept me reading. I liked the way the book was set up with a letter or snippet of information in the beginning of each chapter.

Unfortunately, there were quite a few errors, which drew me out of the story—things like incorrect or missing words and comma and apostrophe misuse. There were also some inconsistencies within the story, some actions that felt like the came out of nowhere, and some plot points that were forgotten at times.

I did enjoy reading the book but would love to see it better edited for grammar and content.

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Happy reading!

Rach

Author Bio

Michelle Bolanger has been an avid reader all her life. In 2014 and with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided to take the leap and publish her own books. The Kiss is her first full length novel and the beginning of what is to be a four book series titled The Cotiere Chronicles. Michelle is also a talented vocalist and amateur photographer. She enjoys going on cruises, cheering for her favorite professional hockey team, and falling asleep to the sound of auto racing on TV. Michelle lives in Ohio with her husband and two dogs.

By Sea (Supernatural Renegades Book 1) by Carly Fall

By Sea (Supernatural Renegades Book 1) by Carly Fall

By Sea Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

Brody Teller doesn’t have much left in life. As a former Marine, the government has demanded his silence and is forcing him to live a quiet life, hiding the fact that while on his last mission, an explosion left him with a supernatural power. He has a connection to the ocean—so much so that if he’s away from it for too long he becomes ill. When he’s offered a job that gets him out from under the government’s thumb while also putting him on a boat full time, he has nothing to lose and takes the job of Captain and security guard.

Rayna Lopez is trying to work her way up from her desk job in the CIA. But when her father asks for her help to protect her sister, Rayna accepts because family comes first. The sisters board a yacht to help keep them out of harm’s way while their father deals with her sister’s stalker. Rayna feels an attraction to Captain Brody, the man she was previously assigned to check on who she knows has a supernatural ability. But with their time short and danger lurking, starting a relationship is the last thing either of them can afford. Brody’s on the run from the government and Rayna needs to return to her government job, so they’re doomed before they even get started.

By Sea is a contemporary paranormal romance with a touch of military, some action, and some drama. The hero is a former Marine, and we see a bit of his past and the mission that ended his military career. There’s also involvement from a drug cartel. The hero and heroine have to work together to save Rayna’s sister in addition to their budding romance. The paranormal aspect comes in the form of Brody’s ability to control the water. Dolphins seem to flock to him and communicate with him, but his moods are also reflected in the temperament of the ocean.

The plot was interesting and had a nice mix between the romance, drama, and action, keeping me engaged and curious to know what was going to happen next. Brody’s supernatural ability was an interesting addition, although it didn’t seem to add much to the story. We were shown how it worked early in the story and little bits were carried through Brody’s point of view, but other than using the power once during the climax it didn’t have much impact on the rest of the plot.

Some parts of the plot didn’t quite fit and drew me out of the story. Rayna’s father was head of a drug cartel, which happened to be involved in Brody’s accident—a little too convenient and not really necessary. What really threw me was that Rayna could be part of the CIA without anyone knowing her father was the leader of the drug cartel. It was explained as not being listed on her birth certificate, but considering how she had continued contact with him her whole life, it wasn’t plausible that she could have gotten through a background check. There was also a specific reference to Rayna being denied an agency cell phone because of her family lineage, so someone must have known her link to her father. I was able to figure out the issue that led to the boat’s whereabouts being located without any problem, which dampened the climax for me.

While some chapters were short and choppy, some of the story focused too much on telling instead of showing, and there was too much repetition. Although told in dual points of view, the repetition came more from the actual narrative rather than overlapping scenes told by both characters. I also found the dialogue a bit stiff and unnatural.

Even with some editing errors that I found while reading, I mostly enjoyed the plot. Although part of a series, this book is a standalone. Three stars for this supernatural romance.

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Happy reading!

Rach

Breathless (Blue Fire Saga Book 1) by Scott Prussing

Breathless (Blue Fire Saga Book 1) by Scott Prussing

Breathless Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

Leesa Nyland has never had what most would call a normal life. Her mother hides in the dark and won’t go outside during the daytime, claiming she was bitten by a one-fanged vampire eighteen years ago while she was pregnant with Leesa. Now Leesa is moving to Connecticut for college to be closer to her aunt and uncle, but also to search for her brother Bradley who disappeared without a trace after sending Leesa an email saying not to look for him.

Not long after starting college, Leesa meets two strange but intriguing men: Rave and Stefan. Rave warns Leesa to stay away from Stefan, claiming he’s a vampire. With Leesa’s family history, she doesn’t immediately dismiss the notion. As her attraction to Rave grows, she finds out he’s keeping some secrets of his own.

With the help of her Vampire Science professor, Rave, and even Stefan, Leesa continues to search for her brother. In the process she stumbles onto information that might cure her mother. But with Rave and Stefan being sworn enemies, Leesa will have to make some tough decisions if she wants to save her brother and help her mother.

Breathless is not just another teenage vampire novel; in fact, the vampire in this story is not even the hero. But it is a story about vampires and other paranormal creatures that had me intrigued right from the start. I loved the different spin the author took in this plot. There are two other creatures that feature prominently—grafhym, which are one-fanged vampires with lesser powers, and volkaanes, which are extremely powerful vampire hunters who have fire within them. Rave, the hero of Breathless, is a volkaane, which adds a different twist to the romantic aspect. He can’t touch Leesa until he’s ready to tell her his secret because she’d immediately feel the heat his body gives off. He also has to be extremely careful while kissing her because the fire inside of him is used through a kiss to kill vampires and could easily kill Leesa if he’s not careful.

This story mixes the romance between Rave and Leesa with Leesa’s search for her brother and information on what might have actually happened to her mother eighteen years ago. The plots are all nicely entwined. While Leesa is adjusting to life in college and making new friends, she’s also exploring her relationship with Rave and hunting down clues to her brother’s disappearance. Her professor agrees to help her, and in the mean time he also happens upon some information related to her mother. I loved watching Leesa go from a shy loner to a somewhat more outgoing friend, all while asserting herself and making life or death decisions regarding her family and herself.

I had very few complaints while reading this book, but in all fairness I’ll share them with you. The story was told in third person point of view, which is good for capturing more than the main character’s thoughts. At times, the points of view were mixed together in the same section, making it slightly difficult to follow. Not a huge deal though. There were a few scenes from a random character’s point of view that I thought could have been removed. For example, not showing us how the young vampire escaped and went on his spree would have left more intrigue while the main characters were trying to figure out what happened to the missing girls.

My only other issue was that at times there was too much description. It wasn’t necessary to detail exactly what each character in a scene was wearing or what they did or didn’t eat. But that information was easy enough to skim over.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and wasn’t able to put it down. Breathless is book one in the Blue Fire Saga, and it wraps up nicely, leaving room for the plot of the next book without leaving the reader on a cliffhanger. I look forward to reading the rest of this series.

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Happy reading!

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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Happy reading!

Rach

Stone Guardian (Witches Amulet Book 1) by Paulina Woods

Stone Guardian (Witches Amulet Book 1) by Paulina Woods

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3 out of 5 Stars

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

Milcah has never really fit in, and now she lives her life with her dog and a dead-end job as a waitress. When her best friend convinces her to take a vacation and travel, Milcah stumbles onto a field of gargoyles turned to stone. She somehow is able to free them from their stone prison, but they take her through a portal to their home.

Jarod, a general in the gargoyle army, saves Milcah and determines she’s his mate. But Milcah is anxious to return to Earth and her old life until she removes the amulet she’s always worn and finds she has powers she never knew about. Being a healer and Jarod’s mate might just be her destiny after all.

Stone Guardian is an interesting paranormal romance set in present day. Something definitely seems different about Milcah, and when she finds the field of stone gargoyles we realize she has powers that have been hidden. Based on the prologue to the story, it is easy to determine that Milcah is one of the five witches who were kidnapped and hidden at a young age to protect them from being raised by evil. The plot mostly surrounds the growing attraction between Jarod and Milcah and Milcah learning about her powers and how to use them. At the end of the story, more questions are raised without too many being answered. Although I was assured this could be read as a standalone book, the story definitely isn’t over and continues in the next book right where this one left off.

There were some things about the story that didn’t feel quite right. Dialogue was unnatural and stiff, and there were a few inconsistencies. For example, we were told that Milcah and Mary have been best friends from a young age, yet Milcah and her mother had to continually move when suspicion of their abilities would rise. How would the girls have continued their friendship if Milcah and her mother were constantly in hiding? At times, it felt as if the author was trying too hard to make the character humorous, but it just didn’t flow with the stiff dialogue. The erotic scenes didn’t really hit the mark.

There were also several formatting and editing mistakes, including comma splices and tense changes, that distracted from the reading experience.

Overall, there was not enough action in the plot to make the story feel complete. Even if the saga continued, more should have been resolved within this book to make it feel whole.

Tomorrow I will review book 2 of the Witches Amulet series, Captive Guardian.

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Happy reading!

Rach