blog · book review · review

Book Review | Alphabits Series by Susi Hawke & Crista Crown (part 2)

The Alphabits series, written by Susi Hawke and Crista Crown, is a spin-off of their other series, Team A.L.P.H.A. They are a team comprised mainly of Alphas who have all chosen to specialize in cases dealing with shifter pups.

Here are my thoughts on the last three books in the series…

Book five introduces a minuscule BDSM element into the Alphabits series…

When Patton and Finn go out to meet up with an informant who is looking for help in finding the kids he considers family, Patton never expects to find his mate.

Then again, Axel (former thief, omega, and go-go dancer) only ever thought true-mates were a fairy tale. But neither man is willing to let the other go, not now that they’ve found each other.

I really liked how much Axel cares about the kids he used to run with. This story has all the earmarks of found-family (which I adore) with a little bit of thievery and, of course, an evil gang leader.

One of the other things I enjoyed in Twisted was getting to see Finn settle into his place with the Alphabits. A little bit of hazing, via catnip and laser pointers, and he finally starts to unwind a little. Can’t wait to read his book… something’s going on with this one, I can tell.

Silenced is book six in the series and sadly, my least favorite…

Our big bear shifter, Cyrus, finally meets his omega when Leaf decides to track down the man who’s scent he had smelled all over another alpha while trying to stop his brother from making bad decisions with STAHP… ALPHA’s rival organization.

I enjoyed that Cyrus had decided to take Nate, one of the kids from the last book, under his wing and how he has absolutely NO idea what to do with a teenager!

Leaf is treated as so, terribly fragile in just about every situation… especially after he gets pregnant, which seriously? Super potent alphas, we get it. *eyeroll* He keeps saying he’s stronger than Cyrus thinks, but is never really allowed to show off his own strengths. Cyrus’ family is basically the local chapter of the Russian mob, but nothing really comes of it except for a brief, VERY brief, moment of tension.

It’s not a terrible addition to the series and it was nice to see the Chucky and Morgan were able to be re-united, but it felt like it was just filling space to me.

Finally getting to Finn’s book with number 7 in the series!

Turns out, Finn’s true mate is Antonio Montoya, the leader of STAHP. He’s none too happy to discover this, but it’s hard to turn away from the draw of his true mate… maybe he can influence Antonio’s decisions and get STAHP to stop eating their victims?

I wanted SO BADLY to enjoy this book! I love Finn in every other encounter we get to see him in! But I’m sad that these last three books seem to turn omega’s into simpering messes who just want to be with their mates, pregnant and kept without any agenda of their own.

I would have love, love, loved to see Antonio actually have to work to court Finn and gain his favor. It would have been amazing for Finn to keep his backbone after meeting/mating Antonio. Instead, as soon as they get hot and heavy, he becomes the “perfect omega” ready and willing to bend over and do whatever his alpha needs.

Format: eBooks
Publisher: Hawke & Crown LLC
Source: Amazon Kindle Unlimited
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon || Goodreads

blog · book review · review

Book Review | Alphabits Series by Susi Hawke & Crista Crown (part 1)

I must have fallen down the ABO / Shapeshifter / True mates hole (truly, no pun intended here), because this is the second series I’ve recently read in this particular genre.

The Alphabits series, written by Susi Hawke and Crista Crown, is actually a spin-off of their other series, Team A.L.P.H.A.

The team is comprised mainly of Alphas who’ve chosen to specialize in cases dealing with shifter pups.

Book one starts with Dean and his Alpha, Sam, moving into their new house a few months before their baby will be born.

Sam is getting his new team together, the Alphabits, and testing to see how all of the team members will mesh in the long run.

But both of these things pale next to the, possibly abused, shifter pup who lives across the street.

For the most part, this is a great introduction to a new series. My only complaint would be that there wasn’t much in the way of character development. Although, this is probably because it’s a spin-off and I’m unfamiliar with the main series. 😛

Probably my favorite of the series…

Book two had me hooked from the minute I read about Adrian. An omega working at a daycare, Adrian loves being able to spend time with the kids and help his brother in caring for his nephew.

But when Pierce and Cyrus show up at the daycare to take custody of his nephew, things take a turn for the worse.

I really enjoy how take-control Adrian is, he’s not just going to roll over and do whatever an alpha (even if it’s his alpha) tells him to. Especially when kids are involved. He continually makes his own decisions and is fiercely loyal to his family. Now Pierce? Well, he needs a kick in the butt… and also to do whatever Adrian tells him to, lol.

Book three is all about Gizmo, the techiest alpha to ever alpha, and Micah, an omega who helps shifter kids escape from a cult-run conversion camp.

In order to keep his part in the underground network a secret, Micah lives entirely off the grid, which makes it all the more amazing for him to meet his true-mate. But, when Gizmo and Ozzy come across him while he’s helping a shifter pup escape, that’s exactly what happens.

Sparks fly and Gizmo and Micah embrace their mating bond in record time before working to close the conversion camp.

All in all, a cute addition to the series.

Chained is the first time in the series that the Alphabits team works with another species of shifter (not counting Cyrus).

This time it’s fennec fox shifters and brothers to boot. Lance Lancaster (yeah, his parents are jerks) doesn’t care about his high society upbringing or social status, he just wants to find his little brother, Spencer, who was kidnapped from his school and seemingly disappeared.

The Alphabits team decides to resurrect this cold-case and recruit Lance to help.

Spencer is autistic and when you’re reading from his point of view, it is written in a believable way. Kudos to the author’s for this. It was sort of horrifying to find that there are alphas in this universe who would kidnap and groom CHILDREN to be their mates when they come of age, but I guess that’s what the Alphabits do? Deal with the criminal element and all.

Format: eBooks
Publisher: Hawke & Crown LLC
Source: Amazon Kindle Unlimited
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon || Goodreads

blog · book review · review

Book Review | Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

One of the first fantasy series I can remember reading was the Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce and I fell in love from the very first page.

Song of the Lioness follows the life of one Alanna of Trebond, a young girl who switches places with her brother so that she can be a knight and he a mage.

Along the way, she discovers that the gods have taken an interest in her, even if she would very much rather they hadn’t.

Alanna of Trebond has always dreamed of being a knight, of protecting the kingdom of Tortall and proving herself a hero worthy of great tales.

But she doesn’t take into account the years of hard work and secrets she must keep from those closest to her. Alanna can tell no one that she is a girl, not when she is being bullied and certainly not when puberty hits an her body begins to change against her will.

Be warned: this isn’t a story where things come easy to our main character.

One of the best things about this series is that Alanna questions her decisions. When she begins her training as a knight and discovers just how much hard work it takes, she wants to give up and go home, thinking ‘how could a girl ever do this?’ Instead, she buckles down and works hard to get what she wants.

The first hints of the strength of Alanna’s magical abilities and glimpses of her grand destiny begin to show, no matter how hard she tries to ignore them, but the will of the gods can not be ignored. Her begrudging attitude towards the use of magic is one of the things I like most about Alanna, she isn’t afraid to backtalk her friends, superiors, or even the gods.

Alanna’s interactions with her friends and mentors is so, so great! These people have become her family and she would die for them, if she needed to. Not only does she befriend the nobles, but she also manages to become close friends with George, the “king of thieves.”

I think that the relationships are what really makes this series great… you can’t help but find yourself rooting for everyone in whatever situation they may find themselves in.

Format: e-Audio book
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio
Source: Overdrive
Rating: ★★★★★
Links: Amazon || Goodreads

blog · book review · review

Book Review | The Royal Alphas series by J.J. Masters

This series was suggested to me a long time ago and I’ve forgotten by whom, but they certainly knew how much I love reading stories about selkies.

It’s possibly my favorite of all the cryptids and it’s always interesting to see what new spin an author will take with the myth…

The Royal Alphas series follows, you guessed it, five royal alpha brothers as they go about their lives and try to find their true mates (even while their father tries to force things to go his way).

The world building in this series is quite good, from the different kingdoms with their own varied rules for how each caste (gender) is expected to behave and what they are even allowed to do to the way that half-breeds and humans are treated. It’s all quite well written.

In book one we meet Kai and his true mate, Luca.

As the firstborn son of the king, Kai is expected to follow in his father’s footsteps and produce an heir… but his father decrees that his Kai must get his omega pregnant within six months and that his firstborn child must be an alpha.

The story follows the stress and overwhelming worry as Kai and Luca try to get to know each other and as they try to get pregnant, all while Kai’s father has a “back-up” omega in case they fail.

I kind of thought this was a cute-ish book?

Hard-ass Adrian is second in line for the throne, even though he’s first in line for behaving exactly like his father, believing it is his duty to follow the traditions set by the council.

When he meets Del, an omega who hid his status in order to become a guard and serve the king, Adrian begins to question those beliefs… so he can protect his mate.

When Zale decides to warn Finn that he shouldn’t be sleeping with Zale’s younger brother, he finds the omega in the throws of his heat. He isn’t able to say no.

Finn is entirely off limits, as the omega his father brought as back-up for his firstborn and possibly for himself… but something about him has a hold of Zale and doesn’t want to let go.

When Finn becomes pregnant with Zale’s pup, he mourns the fact that he’s taken away the prince’s chance at finding his true mate.

Basically, they are both dense and need a smack up alongside their respective heads. 😛

My favorite of the series.

Book four brings Nic to the forefront, as he falls into bed with Marlin, his former lover’s younger brother… and yeah, things are about as awkward as you think.

Marlin knows his father will make him find his true mate, but he can’t stop thinking about Nic. The human consumes his every thought and he has no idea why.

But Nic has a secret. One he’s been keeping for years and that he is terrified someone will discover.

Definitely a close second for my favorite book in the series, book five FINALLY gives us an omega son! I call bull that every other baby has been an alpha, but what can you do?

After years of infidelity, Caol is finally ready to settle down with his beta Beck, but just as he’s made up his mind, an omega shows up with his son!

The omega, Galen, is Caol’s fated mate and Beck resigns himself to being set aside as the two become mates and start their family… but Caol has other plans in mind, if he can only convince Galen and Beck to go along with him.

Format: eBook
Publisher: J.J. Masters
Source: Amazon Kindle
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon || Goodreads

blog · book review · review

Two Book Tuesday

I’ve mostly been taking a break from the internet these last few weeks. It’s so disheartening to hear about how bad the world is and I just needed a break. Just taking time to sit and enjoy the quiet peace of a chair in the sun and some knitting.

After I finish studying for my trigonometry class in the evenings I’ve been re-playing the Mass Effect trilogy of games on my PS3. I’m pleased to say that I have successfully completed a hardcore play through of the first game AND got the platinum trophy for game two… just mopping up trophies left and right, lol.

And, I know it’s what you’re here for, so here’s what I’ve been reading…

This comic follows Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker on one of their early missions to find the source of a distress beacon. They crash land on a planet still fighting the civil war that destroyed their civilization and are quickly drawn into the plotting of each side.

It’s an interesting story, you get to see Palpatine’s machinations in both Anakin’s life and the day-to-day happenings of the Jedi temple… and yeah, it’s pretty insidious (no pun intended, lol).

If you like the Star Wars franchise or either of these two main characters, then I would certainly say that this comic is a good one for you to read.

The cover of The Trouble with Hating You immediately caught my eye in the newsletter I’d received. A moment later and my brain caught up with the title and I knew that I would absolutely have to get my hands on this book!

From the description, it sounds like author Sajni Patel has come up with a witty, enemies to lovers, office romance and I can’t wait to read it. 😀

blog · book review · review

Book Review | Trusted Bond by Mary Calmes

Jin Rayne is having trouble adjusting to the new life he’s supposed to love. Instead of adapting to being the mate of tribe leader Logan Church, Jin can’t get past the fact that his lover was straight before they met. He’s discovered the joy in belonging to Logan but fears his new life could disappear at a moment’s notice, despite Logan’s insistence that they are forever, end of story.

Jin wants to trust Logan, but that desire will be put to the test both by a rival tribe leader and by a startling revelation about Jin’s existence. At stake is Jin’s life and his place in the tribe. If he’s going to survive to see Logan again, he’ll have to release his fear and freely accept the bond, for only then can he truly trust.

This book made me smile and I’m really glad that I gave it a chance after the fiasco that was the audio book version of Change of Heart (book one of the series).  You can read my review of Change of Heart HERE.

One of my favorite things about Trusted Bond is the politics of the panther shifter society and how the shapeshifters deal with those who break the law.  The world is well thought out and Mary Calmes has done a wonderful job of filling that world with characters that you want to know more of and a story that I literally could not put down!

As I mentioned earlier, I’m glad I gave this book a chance.  It was both entertaining and enjoyable to read more about Jin and Logan’s relationship and to watch as Jin finally, FINALLY, figured out that he’s it for Logan and that’s that.  Although some of the situations that Jin finds himself dealing with seemed a tad unbelievable, I can see how they were used in the grand scheme of things to get Jin where he needed to be.  Let’s be honest, it’s fiction and sometimes fiction is unbelievable.

It was great to see Jin’s growth as a person in this book!  He really comes into his own and absolutely does not stand for anyone trying to hurt his mate or his family, protecting them at any cost.

If I had one complaint, it would be the excessive use of titles, terms, and places that are used throughout the story.  It can be hard to follow at times, but there is a glossary right in the front of the book and as I really am beginning to enjoy this series it wasn’t too much of a hardship for me to check on a word/title when I wasn’t sure what it meant.

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable read… I read it in less than a day, after all.

Series: Change of Heart series, book 2
Format: eBook
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Source: Tennessee READS
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon || Goodreads

blog · book review · review

Book Review | Buzz by E. Davies

I was suggested The Riley Brothers series by E. Davies by someone who knows I’m a sucker for hockey stories. Surprisingly, the entire 40-hour series was on sale on Audible for just 1 credit! It sounded like a steal and the series had some good reviews, so I went ahead and spent the credit.

Kind of wish I hadn’t.

There isn’t anything particularly wrong with the story or even the narration of it… it just didn’t work for me.

Up and coming hockey player, Cam Riley (one of the brothers), has to give up his dream of joining the big leagues when a medical condition causes him to pass out whenever his heart rate is too high for extended periods of time. He heads home where he meets art director, Noah Clark, and sparks fly.

Even as their relationship grows, Cam chooses not to tell Noah the entire truth about his condition and that he’d been a professional hockey player. But his condition doesn’t let him keep those secrets for long and the truth comes out.

There isn’t much conflict between the two, even with all of the lying, and they resolve things easily. Cam gets his surgery, recovers, and they live happily-ever-after.

Oh, and Noah’s uncle is a beekeeper. Cam ends up working for him, which is where the title Buzz comes from… I thought that was cute.

Like I said earlier, it’s not a bad story, just not for me.

Series: The Riley Brothers, book 1
Format: Audible audio book
Publisher: Audible
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Links: Amazon || Goodreads