Tracking the Tempest By Nicole Peeler

From Barnesandnoble.com:  Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and Ryu – Jane’s bloodsucking boyfriend – can’t let a major holiday go by without getting all gratuitous. An overwhelming dose of boyfriend interference and a last-minute ticket to Boston later, and Jane’s life is thrown off course.

Ryu’s well-intentioned plans create mayhem, and Jane winds up embroiled in an investigation involving a spree of gruesome killings. All the evidence points towards another Halfling, much to Jane’s surprise…

 Jane is a half-Selkie, who is dating a vamp, spends most of her time with a Gnome and is now being stalked by another halfling who is convinced they are soul mates.  Needless to say, these books are different but in a good way.  Jane is hilarious, here is one of my fave quotes:

“Ryu knew damned well that humor could overcome any emotion, even lust.  I couldn’t help laugh s he helped to my feet and pushed me to the wet room.  Meanwhile, I began strategizing all the various ways in which I would destroy him later.  And he’s afraid of a little Gorgon, I thought as I wondered what, exactly, Iris has packed from my dirty drawer.  Game on Vlad, I thought, wriggling my own eyebrows at my vampire’s back as he went to get my suitcase.  I’ll show you an ‘impaler.

I also have to include this quote because I know one certain fellow blogger who will appreciate this:

 “Before executing my culinary genius, I first poked ay Ruy’s iPod, set in his state-of-the-art sound dock thingie, until I found the Killers and put them on shuffle.  I was officially obessesed with the Killers, not least because of the lead singer’s slightly spastic-yet-strangely-sexy dance moves.”

Tracking the Tempest was action packed and hilarious from start to finish, kind of like a summer blockbuster for books.  However, I have two complaints. First, I learned very quickly that the series is also forgettable.  I had a really hard time remembering supporting characters (besides the Gnome, who I am moderately obsessed with) from the first book.  It wasn’t a huge deal, and it didn’t ruin the fun, but since these are kinda short reads, they just don’t stick with you.  Second, Jane talks a big game about all the dirty things she has planned for Ryu, but then we skip over the actual scenes.  To this I say, BOOO!  You can’t refer to Jane’s dirty drawer repeatedly and then not show the contents in action!  Alas, I am not really crazy about Ryu anyway, so I was excited to see the little love-triangle brewing with Anyan.  I am firmly on Team Anyan at this point.  Ryu is just too pretty. 

Rating: 8 (with bonus love for the super cute covers!)

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels #1) By Ilona Andrews

From Goodreads.com:  When the magic is up, rogue mages cast their spells and monsters appear, while guns refuse to fire and cars fail to start. But then technology returns, and the magic recedes as unpredictably as it arose, leaving all kinds of paranormal problems in its wake.  Kate Daniels is a down-on-her-luck mercenary who makes her living cleaning up these magical problems. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, her quest for justice draws her into a power struggle between two strong factions within Atlanta’s magic circles.
The Masters of the Dead, necromancers who can control vampires, and the Pack, a paramilitary clan of shapechangers, blame each other for a series of bizarre killings—and the death of Kate’s guardian may be part of the same mystery. Pressured by both sides to find the killer, Kate realizes she’s way out of her league—but she wouldn’t have it any other way…

The Good:  Let me start by saying after I made it through the first 50 pages or so, I liked this book more than I thought I would.  I liked most of the plot, espcecailly the fresh take on vampires and the need to be piloted by a human.  It was refreshing to see vamps as gross, not hot and/or sparkly.    I liked Kate, and I really liked Curran.   But what I liked most was the setting.  You see, I have lived in Atlanta my entire life, so reading about all these landmarks and even suburbs (I live very close to the Shifter compound, btw) of Atlanta was great!  There was also a quote that I just have to include because it was so nice to see: 

“‘Lovely morning isn’t it?” he said, the unmistakeable harmonies of coastal Georgia vibrating in his voice.

“Shouldn’t it be ‘ain’t it?'” I said.  My voice sounded weak.

“Only if you are an uneducated fool,” the man said. “Or if you wish to appear country.  And I’m too old to appear anything that I’m not.'”

THANK GOD.  I love this because it’s almost as if the authors were warning you up front to not expect any hick jackasses just because it’s based in Atlantan which I appreciated.

The Bad:  I think the worst thing about this book was the lack of explanation.  At some point, something happened and magic started causing problems for technology.  We don’t really know what happened, and it’s hard to understand why the “tech goes out.”  I just felt that there wasn’t enough background on the current atmoshpere as well as the characters to feel a connection.  It’s obvious that Kate has a lot of secrets, and I am sure we learn about them as time goes on, but I needed a little more for her.  The villain was confusing, I had to re-read sections to make sure I understood what exactly has was.  And be warned, his scenes are grusome and distrubing.  This is pretty dark urban fantasy.  The level of detail was a little much for me, I found myself skimming a lot in this one. Honestly, if I didn’t already know the series gets a lot better (and really enjoyed The Edge series), I probably wouldn’t continue reading.  Liked Kate and Curran, but don’t really care at this point.

The Bumpin’ Uglies:  Le Sigh.  No one bumps the uglies in this one.  I know it’s not PNR, so not required, but it might have been nice for Kate to have one lighter scene to break up all the darkness.   But I am keeping my eye on Curran, he has potential.

Rating: 6.5

Pride series by Shelly Laurenston

The Beast in Him

Some things are so worth waiting for. Like the moment when Jessica Ward “accidentally” bumps into Bobby Ray Smith and shows him just how far she’s come since high school. Back then, Jess’s gangly limbs and bruised heart turn to jelly any time Smitty’s “all the better to ravish you with” body came near her. So, some things haven’t changed. Except now Jess is a success on her own terms. And she can enjoy a romp-or twenty-with a big, bad wolf and walk away. Easy.

The sexy, polished CEO who hires Smitty’s security firm might be a million miles from the loveable geek he knew, but her kiss, her touch, is every bit as hot as he imagined. Jess was never the kind to ask for help, and she doesn’t want it now, not even with someone targeting her Pack. But Smitty’s not going to turn tail and run. Not before proving that their sheet-scorching animal lust is only the start of something even wilder…

 

 The Mane Attraction

Weddings have the strangest effect on people. How else to explain the fact that Sissy Mae Smith woke up in Mitch Shaw’s bed the morning after her brother Bobby Ray tied the knot? Or that gunmen are trying to kill Mitch, and Sissy Mae now has to escort a bleeding, stubborn, yet still incredibly sexy lion shifter to her Tennessee Pack’s turf to keep him safe? It doesn’t help that Mitch’s appraising gaze makes her feel like the most desirable creature on earth, or that the ultimate stray cat is suddenly acting all kinds of possessive…Mitch is an undercover cop who’s about to testify against some dangerous ex-associates. Even more worrisome, he’s harboring hot, X-rated fantasies about the fast – talking little canine – and he has to deal with every male in Sissy Mae’s Pack sniffing around her in a way that makes his hackles rise. Mitch has his pride, and he intends to show Sissy Mae that when a lion sets out to make you his mate, the only thing to do is purr, roll over, and enjoy one hell of a ride…

Okay, I have resurfaced.  I just couldn’t put these books down! These books have been on my list for a while because I ADORED the dragon kin series by Shelly Laurenston’s alter ego, G.A. Aiken.  I was so happy to find that everything I loved about those silly dragons was here as well.  The books follow the usual PNR formula, minus the crazed serial killer stalking our lovers or some similar sort of horrific situation.  They are more about friends, family and love.  Don’t get me wrong, there were villains, but more of the loser baby-daddy/extortionist variety, not Satan’s spawn or anything.  In the Pride series, we are introduced to a hillbilly wolf pack, a crazy wild dog pack, a super hot Lion pride and the cutest bear shifters ever!  All of them are hilarious and there are just so many great characters in these books.  The books are so great actually, that I will not even rant about the ridiculous Southern stereotypes.  Well okay maybe a little, tiny rant.  But seriously, who actually says hoss??  Sigh…it was bad, but I just told myself they were in some isolated area in Appalachia where everyone has two names and that helped the cringe factor (Disclaimerlicious: Only The Mane Attraction takes place in Tennessee.)  I realize I started with the 2nd book in the series (which was an accident), but I didn’t feel like I missed a lot, so it worked out.  Here is the series list:

The Mane Event: Dez and Mace & Brendon and Ronnie Lee

The Beast in Him: Smitty and Jess

The Mane Attraction: Mitch and Sissy Mae

The Mane Squeeze: Gwen and Lock

Beast Behaving Badly: Blayne and Bo

In terms of hotness, I think Lock was my favorite.  Especially when the wild dog pack forced him into that Braveheart costume on Halloween…yummm!  My favorite book was The Beast in Him.  Jess is just so dorky and awesome, and the wild dog pack is hilarious!  But you get to see most of the characters in every book, so I didn’t have to miss them too much.  In my opinion, Smitty and Jess had great chemistry and the hottest scenes…I mean, cherry cobbler was involved, need I say more?  If you are looking for some light, seriously funny PNR, check out this series (or Dragon Kin).  If you require a level of drama on par with Nalini Singh, might want to skip this one. 

Favorite quote (one of them anyway):  Smitty smiled up at the male lion standing behind the couch–seething.  “Hey Shaw.  Nice house you’ve got here.”   Arms crossed over that massive chest, the lion looked down his nose at Smitty as only a cat could.  “What else have you taught my son?  How to chase his tail?  Lick his ass?” 

“Nah, I stuck with the cat basics.  Park lazy ass under tree, sleep twenty hours, eat all the food after the females do all the hunting, take a few minutes to roar, the sleep another twenty hours.” 

And another quote:  “Don’t go,” he mumbled, already falling asleep. 

“Mitch, Mitch, Mitch.  If I stay, you’ll only fall madly in love with me like so many men before you.”

“It’s you we have to worry about,” he sighed out.  “You’ve already been trapped in my erotic web of lust.  Might as well give it up to the daddy of all cats.”

Grinning, Sissy stretched out next to Mitch, her arm thrown over his waist.  “You keep on dreamin’ that dream kitty.”

“I will.  I own poines in that dream, too.”

 

Series rating: 9

Moon Sworn By Keri Arthur (Riley Jenson, Guardian #9)

From Barnesandnoble.com:  

Some nights never end.
Some desires never die. . . .
Shape-shifting werewolf and vampire Riley Jenson is through with death—causing it, solving it, surviving it. Her soul mate, Kye Murphy, is dead—and at Riley’s own hands. Not even the seductive embrace of her vampire lover, Quinn, can fully ease her mind, for she has begun questioning everything that makes her Riley—including her job at the Directorate.

Now, the ritualistically slain bodies of ex-cons have started turning up. Reluctantly, Riley takes the case, but something even worse is waiting in the wings. A vicious enemy from her past is determined to strip Riley of everything that gives her life any meaning: her lover, her brother—and even her own identity. Can Riley survive this ultimate assault? All she knows is, she must fight one last time to find answers, before everything goes dark forever.

 

Warning: Spoilers from previous books are unavoidable.

Since Riley Jenson is one of my favorite heroines ever and this concludes the series, I’m abandoning my normal review format to discuss Moon Sworn, but I will do my best to avoid spoilers.  Moon Sworn picks up weeks after the death of Riley’s friend Kade and her soul mate Kye.  While she survived his death, she is deeply depressed and battling the emptiness of his loss despite her love for Quinn.  Riley, Rhoan, Liander and Quinn are still awaiting the child Liander’s sister is carrying for them, which gives Riley the will to live.  Shortly after saying good bye to Kade, Riley’s boss Jack calls in her help on a murder case.  Because of the experimental drugs given to Riley in a previous book, she has developed the ability to speak with the souls of the recently deceased.  The soul gives her enough information to figure out this murder was motivated by revenge. As with all the other cases Riley works, she quickly gets the details she needs and solves the case.  However, Blake Jenson is still seeking revenge.  Blake has developed an elaborate plot to make Riley suffer from memory loss and adjust to a new life before he kills her.  Of course, Riley is not going down without a fight, even if she doesn’t know who she is.  When she finds herself lost in a small town with a new identity, she somehow keeps being Riley…and being Riley means finding all trouble possible.  Luckily another murder case pops up and has so many similarities to the vengeance murders she was investigating, her memory is jogged.  Before Blake’s plan comes to an end, Riley must figure out who she really is and take care of the Jenson pack once and for all.  That’s all I can really say without giving away the ending so I will move on.

My thoughts on Moon Sworn and Riley Jenson’s journey:

I am literally wincing as I type this, but I did not love this book.  Over the past 8 books Riley Jenson has been through some serious stuff.  SERIOUS stuff.  She has been beaten (a lot), shot (even more), kidnapped, drugged, raped while drugged, genetically altered and forced to kill her own soul mate.  So, as far as I’m concerned, being dumped in a small town with no memory was like child’s play for Riley.  She also happens to have a crazy lethal twin brother and the most bad-ass vamp boyfriend on Earth who can tear a small town apart.  And the case she was working didn’t even have layer upon layer of messed up Aussies to peel away.  She solved it with only like 2 gun shot wounds and a dead hooker! So seriously?  This was the send off she got?    Sigh…I guess it depends on how you look at it.  If you were sick of fate kicking the crap out of Riley, then maybe you were relieved that things finally got easy for her.  But the reason I love Riley Jenson is how she always gets herself out of trouble on her own, without even relying on all the back-up she has available.  She is one of the smartest, sexiest, most kick-ass heroines I have ever read, and I loved every minute of her journey up until this point.  But this book felt almost formulaic to me.  I was really hoping for something even more over the top than the multi-species fighting ring from Tempting Evil (which is my fav book in the series and has one of the most awesome climactic battles ever!), but maybe it was time for things to calm down for Riley.  I am sure lots of people will love this final piece of Riley’s story.  And I really did love the ending; it was nice to see Riley finally at peace with herself and her past.   I think I was just ready to go on one more insane adventure with my favorite werewolf\vamp\seagull shifter and I don’t feel that I got it.  But don’t let my semi-negative review take away from this series.  I loved these books.  They are so much fun.  I will miss Quinn’s hotness, Rhoan and Liander’s sweetness, and Jack and Sal being super annoying.  I will miss Riley being that ridiculous seagull then shifting in midair to break someone’s jaw.  I will miss (actually have been missing for a few books now) the horny wolfie full-moon sex clubs and Riley’s unapologetic promiscuity (why the hell couldn’t she hook up with Cole just once?!?).  And finally I will miss getting to read all about Australia, which made these books unique for me. Okay, gushing is complete.  It feels weird to actually have closure from one of these series though.  Especially since book 8 left us with Riley on death’s door, its kind if nice to know everything is good now.  So if I can give no other reason to read this series, read it because IT’S DONE. 

Rating: 7.5 (-1.5 for lack of kick-assery)

Primal Hunger & Primal Attraction by Sydney Somers

From Amazon.com:When the sun goes down, passion is unleashed.

Pendragon Gargoyles, Book 1

Kennedy Beaumont loves her bartending job, even if her spirited nature sometimes gets her in trouble. Like threatening to hose down one of Pendragon’s co-owners. When it comes to Tristan, she could use a good hosing down herself-maybe it’ll help her stop casting him as the star of her wickedest dreams. Since he goes out of his way to avoid her, it ought to be easy to put him out of her head-until he reluctantly offers her a ride home.

Gargoyle shape-shifter Tristan Callaghan hasn’t had time for anything other than recovering the mystical dagger that was used to permanently lock his brother in a prison of stone. The cat inside him should have stopped craving Kennedy’s touch long ago, but now that she’s sitting next to him in his car, his very human need for her is sharper than ever.

The distraction is costly. In a split second, Kennedy finds herself thrust into a dangerous, millennia-old hunt for Excalibur. A hunt that marks her for death-and leaves Tristan with a painful choice-sacrifice his family, his quest…or the one woman meant to be his.

Warning: There’s nothing tame about this alpha male hell-bent on claiming his mate. Featuring bone-melting explicit sex, graphic language, violence and a little harmless bite…or two.

 

He’ll stop at nothing to claim her- If she doesn’t kill him first.

Pendragon Gargoyles, Book 2

A lethal huntress, Sorcha lives to track and eliminate rogue immortals-until her latest assignment turns out to be a sexy, gargoyle shape-shifter. From the start she-s shaken by the lust his touch awakens inside her. Not only that, but the cat is convinced she-s his mate, and for the first time, she-s unable to kill her target.

Still mourning the loss of his mate, Cale is stunned to find Sorcha alive. Yet the woman he aches to possess doesn’t-t recognize him and is after the only thing that will save his brother-a mystical weapon that will lead to Excalibur.

Determined to protect his family and reclaim his mate, Cale ruthlessly takes advantage of Sorcha-s one weakness-her desire for him. Desire that could unlock their past-or cause him to lose her all over again.

Warning: Featuring a sarcastic, ass-kicking heroine going toe-to-toe with the stubborn shifter who-s dead set on reclaiming his mate. Also contains graphic violence, death-threat foreplay and scorching sex that will make you roll over and purr.

The Drama:  In Primal Hunger we are introduced to a family of Gargoyle, cat-shifters cursed to spend the daylight hours in stone for their role in the death of Arthur.  Yes, the Arthur, as in Camelot and such.  Tristan has just returned from retrieving a dagger thought to aide him in releasing his brother Cian from his stone prison, but these same daggers are also thought to point to the whereabouts of Excalibur.  If Excalibur is located, Arthur can return, so his mother, the Goddess Rhiannon, is very interested in retrieving it.  Unfortunately, Morgana wants Excalibur for her own selfish reasons, so all those seeking to appease her are after the daggers as well.  When a wraith is contracted to retrieve the dagger from Tristan, Kennedy is caught in the middle.  A bartender at his brother’s club, Kennedy has been secretly lusting after Tristan for months.  When he is attacked outside the club, Kennedy is forced to get him to safety at his brother Cale’s home.  Tristan must figure out a way to get rid of the wraith while keeping the dagger and protecting Kennedy and figure out who is behind the attacks. 

Primal Attraction takes place around the same time as Primal Hunger and deals with why Cale has seemingly disappeared.  Rhiannon has tasked her huntress Sorcha to kill Cale for threatening to sell the dagger Tristan retrieved.  Hunters are responsible to taking care of anyone who threatens to reveal the existence of the fae, and they are pretty deadly, but part of the deal is having their memories wiped every 100ish years.  When Sorcha approached Cale about the dagger, Cale is convinced the huntress is his dead mate.  Sorcha has no memories of Cale, but for some reason is hesitant to kill him.  Cale had no intention to sell the dagger, just to find the sorceress who can assist in using it to wake Cian.  Somehow Cale has to convince Sorcha that he is innocent of the charges and that she truly is his mate.

The Smut:  Oh the smut.  I’m actually shocked I remember the plot at all, and to be honest, after the first love scene I was like “what plot?”  In this series, as soon as the lovers are alone, it’s on!  There really isn’t a ton of sexual tension, no building up to the money shot, just one big romp-fest.  I mean, Tristan and Kennedy don’t leave any rooms in Cale’s mansion underutilized.  And Cale and Sorcha’s locales are just plain HOT.  Hidden Avalonian Lagoon, stairwells, Rhiannon’s throne room….yummmmm.  Somehow these scenes don’t seem cliché though, just really well-written.  But seriously, these gargoyles\cats\whatevers have one-track minds and I am a fan.  Here is my fav quote:  “His hand slid down her neck, his thumb doing that seductive sweeping thing to her throat.  ‘If it means that I get to spend every day figuring out how to make you laugh and smile, and every night learning how to drive you absolutely wild in bed, then that’s more than okay with me.’”  Le sigh. 

The Rant:  It’s a good thing when my rant is about these books being too short, right?  I really could have dealt with at least 100 or so more pages.  I felt like while the smut was VERY well-developed, the plot was not.  In Primal Hunger, you learn just enough about Avalon, Arthur and gargoyles to get by, and there isn’t really a ton more information in Primal Attraction.  I was confused by the whole gargoyle thing at first, I thought it was just a cruse, but then other gargoyle clans started popping up, so I kinda figured it out.  But I still want to know more about their role in the war that Arthur died in and more about the powers they possess.  I guess if I were to use proper terms here, I would say the world-building could use some work.  And while I thought Cale and Tristan were super yummy, I really couldn’t distinguish them in my head.  They are both dark-haired, blue-eyed hornballs, so it felt like I was reading about the same guy twice.  I would have like to seen a little more personality there so I can tell them apart.  Oh, and my inner middle-schooler really loved the name Kennedy.  Made me reminisce on old-school MTV VJ goodness.  But overall I really enjoyed these books and was genuinely disappointed they weren’t longer.  They are great Kindle bargains though, both are under $5. 

Rating:  8 for both smut-fests.

Vulnerable By Amy Lane

From Amazon.com:  Working graveyards in a stop & rob seemed a small price for Cory to pay in order to get her degree and get the hell out of Nor-Cal. She was terrified of disappearing into the aimless vortex that awaited the lost and the young that haunted her neck of the woods. Until the night she actually stopped looking at her books and looked up. What awaited her was a world she had only read about—one filled with fantastical creatures that she was sure she could never be.

And then Adrian walked in—and she discovered that risking your life was nothing compared to facing who you really were. And then falling in love.

The Drama:  Cory works at a Chevron in middle of nowhere Northern California, while trying to get her college degree and leave her small town.  While working the night shift, Arturo the elf enters her world, touches her, and enables her to see the rest of the supernatural community around her.  Arturo’s friend, a gorgeous vamp named Adrian, sees through her tough chick Goth looks.  Cory cannot understand what Adrian sees in her, but takes a chance on him anyway.  Then, the murders start.  Were-cats are being viciously murdered all around Cory, so Adrian takes her to his home, where she meets Green.  Green, a high elf, and super hot sex healer, welcomes Cory into their home and unleashes Cory’s mysterious powers.  The three, Cory, Adrian, and Green struggle with new powers and new feelings, while trying solve their friends’ murders. 

The Smut:  WARNING: SMUTTY SPOILERS  Vulnerable offers up one of the most complicated relationships I have dealt with in this genre.  Adrian and Green have been in love for…well ever, and secretly hope to find someone who can love them both.  Cory is a 19 year old virgin whose life is turned upside down by recent events.  I struggled with the idea of Cory’s first love being for two people, not because I am against it, but because there are just so many what-ifs.  Cory is thrust into a house full of hot elves and vamps at 19; I would have been trying to bang everyone in the house too! But is that love? After a few weeks?  Hmmm…  But don’t let my questions fool you, the smut in this book was different and I enjoyed the hell out of it.  I am really struggling not too give much away, but let me tell you: Adrian + Cory + Green + Magic = Extremely Exciting Topiaries.  …And I will leave it at that.

The Ranty Rave:  By my normal shallowish standards of what makes a good book, I should have hated this book.  It’s dark, deep, and has very little humor (besides previously mentioned topiaries).  I had to reread sections multiple times to understand WTH was going on, and I was unsure if that was because of the writer, the editing or the HORRIBLE Kindle edition.  (Kindle rant: This was the worst book I have encountered on Kindle in terms of typos and errors.  There were literally random numbers everywhere.  Hard to swallow when paying almost full price for a book.)  This book left me depressed with several unanswered questions about Cory and her powers. Cory was a little too close to lowest-self-esteem-on-Earth Bella Swan for my tastes, but towards the end she started to kick some serious ass, which made me very happy. That being said, I loved it.  I loved the characters, the plot, the moodiness, the settings and the smut.  It’s not a happy book, but since I have friends who actively seek out the saddest books they can find, I know there are those who will love that about it too.  And besides, not every book can be about slutty foul-mouthed demons, right?

Rating: 8 for the book, but I cannot recommend the Kindle edition.

Crux (Southern Arcana #1) by Moira Rogers

From barnesandnoble.com:  Jackson Holt makes a decent living as a private investigator in New Orleans, home of one of the largest underground supernatural populations in the United States. He and his partners have never met a case they couldn’t crack…until a local bar owner asks him to do a little digging on her newest hire.  New Orleans is the fourth destination in as many months for Mackenzie Brooks, a woman on the run from a deranged stalker. After all, any man who shows up on her doorstep claiming to be her destined lover has more than a few screws loose. But crazy doesn’t explain why he always finds her no matter how far she runs.  When her well-meaning boss puts a PI on her case, Mackenzie comes face to face with the incredible truth: magic is real, and whatever spell has kept her hidden and separate from the paranormal world is rapidly deteriorating.  With time running out, she has no choice but to trust Jackson as he struggles to uncover the truth of her past—and her destiny.

Mackenzie Brooks is on the run from what she thinks is a crazy stalker.  When she ends up at Nicole Peyton’s bar in New Orleans, she makes a whole lot of new friends.  It doesn’t take long for Nicole and her PI best friend Jackson Holt to figure out Mackenzie is in serious trouble.  A crazy old Cougar, Charles is desperate to keep his species alive and is determined to make Mackenzie have all kinds of little cougar cubs whether she likes it or not.  Nation-wide shenanigans ensue as Jackson and his friends try to stop Charles and find Mackenzie before its too late.

The Good:  As with any new series, there were a whole slew of potentially interesting characters introduced in Crux.  I am really interested to hear more about the Nicole and Derek star-crossed lovers’ storyline. Oh, and I reaalllyyy curious about Wesley. Anyone who says stuff like this: “Jesus Fuck, Holt.  It takes an act of God to get you on the phone,” is my kind of man.  And while shifters, weres, and witches are nothing new, I liked the concept of combining magic and shifting with the Seers. As for the plot, I was kinda shocked that what I thought should have been the climax happened so early, while the actual climax happened much later and was sort of lackluster.  I appreciated the deviation from the standard story arc, but I am not sure it worked in this case.  As for Mackenzie and Jackson (I love that name, its sooo Steel Magnolias), I was so pleasantly surprised that they weren’t declaring their undying love for each other and/or married after a few days.  So refreshing.  I felt like they were more in lust than love, which is exactly what should happen when you meet some dude in a bar.  And neither of them wore leather pants!! In fact, there was no leather anywhere in the book!  Hooray for jeans!

The Bad:  Well, the first sentence…”Nicole Peyton as I live and breath,’ and all the mama’s and darlin’s afterwards really made me cringe.  ::Rant Alert:: See, I am from Georgia, so southern stereotypes really irk me.  No one actually says darlin’ anymore unless they are my 84 year-old extremely sassy grandmother, and she only pulls it off because of said sass.  Unless you are from Backwoodsville, (insert southern state), you don’t say mama, or even worse “mama en em.”  So Jackson Holt being from Georgia and somewhere around my age should have maybe had a slight twang, an affinity for sweet tea, and used the term ‘y’all’ but not ‘mama’ ::Rant complete:: .  Anywho, my only other real complaint is that the witty banter and charm seemed exclusive to Mackenzie and Jackson.  I really didn’t get a feel for anyone else’s personalities, except for maybe Alec, who is just bitter.  Because of this, the fact that all these other people would be willing to risk their lives for a girl they met three days ago felt a little contrived.  Hopefully, the upcoming books will give us a better feel for the rest of the characters and their motives.

The Bumpin’ Uglies:  I can honestly say this is the first time I didn’t want everyone to shut up during the sex scenes.  Jackson and Mackenzie’s pillow talk was HOT.  I especially like this line:  “God damn it Jackson, if you tell me you’re not going to violate me in about ten different ways, I’m going to use my newly discovered super strength to kick your ass.”  Rob and Big would call Mackenzie a “chacha sucia.”  Hehe…yeah, I couldn’t really even remember what Mackenzie and Jackson looked like, but those sex scenes were STEAMY. 

The Morning After:  I think this series has a lot of potential.  Hell, the pillow talk alone will keep me coming back.  And if you are even shallower than me and will read a book for just the sex scenes, then you should definitely check out Crux.  Rating: 7.5

 

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