Review: Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark, #18), by Kresley Cole

Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark, #18)Wicked Abyss by Kresley Cole
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The ‘Immortals After Dark’ series is one of my favorite guilty pleasures. The over-the-top Alphas that fill this supernatural world are perfect, in a very primal sort of way. Kresley Cole knows exactly how to hit the spot when creating this type of male. I know I should be appalled by their obsessive and controlling caveman antics, but I just can’t help myself.

I have listened to the Audible edition of all of the books in this series, except for ‘A Hunger Like No Other’. Despite the fact that I usually prefer to avoid explicit erotica selections in this format, it has always seemed to work for me with this series. Usually, I find it kind of creepy to have the narrators bringing intimate sexual acts to life as I’m sitting in traffic.

For some reason, that has never bothered me with this series. This probably has something to do with the fact that the series is already ridiculous in many ways, so having the narrator grunt and groan so animatedly doesn’t really detract from this series in any way. Just know that you will laugh out loud if you choose to listen to this series. Again, it definitely falls in the “guilty pleasure” category for me. You will get some strange, and amused, looks in traffic if you roll down your windows. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

That being said, I didn’t find myself enjoying this story as much as the others. I can’t really pinpoint why, but it just didn’t do it for me. I’m a moody reader, so maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind for this light-hearted, over-the-top smutty romance.

This book is the story of Abyssian “Sian” Infernas, the King of Hell, and Calliope “Lila” Barbot. Like other couples in this series, they have a very love/hate relationship. As expected there is plenty of sexual tension and rivalry in the beginning, which eventually gives way to some pretty passionate mating action. If you’ve followed this series, you know the drill.

Also like earlier books in the series, the meddling Valkyrie, Nix, is instrumental in the story. If you’re a fan of the super-crazy Nix, like I am, then you’ll enjoy her interference and manipulations. I can’t wait to read her story. One day soon, I hope we’ll get it.

Despite the fact that this couple wasn’t one of my favorites from this series, I did enjoy their story. The imagery was especially remarkable. I could picture the jade beaches like I was standing there, feeling the smooth green sand between my toes. I absolutely loved that part of the story.

I have to say that I don’t regret reading this one, even if the story wasn’t a big stand-out for me. I was definitely in the minority with this one among my friends. I still plan to continue the series and it remains one of my favorite guilty pleasure go-tos. In fact, I might even return to this one at a later date to see if it holds more appeal when I’m in a different frame of mind.

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Review: Almost Missed You, by Jessica Strawser

Almost Missed YouAlmost Missed You by Jessica Strawser
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Imagine this: You’re on vacation with your husband and young son. Everything is seemingly perfect. In fact, your considerate husband has agreed to watch your son while you relax with a drink and a good book on the beach for a couple of hours. Then, you return to your hotel room to find everything missing except for your personal belongings. Your husband and child are nowhere to be found. No note. Nothing.

That is exactly what happens to the heroine in this book, Violet. I cannot even begin to imagine the all-consuming sense of betrayal that she must have felt. My heart broke for this mother and her child.

As more time passes and it becomes clear that Violet’s husband, Finn, is not planning to return, pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place. Finn has secrets that he’s been keeping from Violet…and he isn’t the only one. It seems that some of her closest friends have been keeping secrets from Violet as well. Truth be told, she has been lying to herself for a long time also.

Told from the POVs of Violet, Finn and their best friend, Caitlyn, this story comes together little by little. Jumping between past and present-day, Violet and Finn’s fateful first encounters seem to be straight from a storybook. As Finn’s past is revealed, the image of a picture-perfect marriage with Violet begins to show cracks.

I don’t want to say too much about this story, because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. However, I will say that I was completely absorbed in this story and the mystery, until right about 80% or so. Once Finn’s motivations were revealed, I have to say that I was a little let-down. All I could think was, “Seriously? That’s it?”. Then, there was some other craziness toward the end that seemed a little unnecessary and unbelievable as well.

Overall, it was a good story. It did start to lose appeal toward the end for me, but it had my rapt attention up to that point. All things considered, I give it 3.5 stars.

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Review: Sisters One, Two, Three, by Nancy Star

Sisters One, Two, ThreeSisters One, Two, Three by Nancy Star
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was the first book that I’ve read by this author, and I’m still not quite sure what to make of it. ‘Sisters One, Two Three’ certainly wasn’t my usual type of story. It ended up being “okay”, but not particularly interesting or compelling – at least, not for me.

I listed to the Audible version of this book and the narration was fine. However, the characters were unappealing and awkward for me. I just didn’t like any of them…and boy, did I try.

The story is told from the POV of Ginger and jumps back and forth between her present-day adult life and her childhood. The reader/listener is provided a front row seat to the inner-workings of two generations of strained mother-daughter relationships. There is the present-day relationship between Ginger and her daughter, Julia. Then, there is the relationships between Ginger’s mother, Glory, with Ginger and her sisters, Mimi and Callie.

Right from the start, I was appalled by Julia’s disrespectful behavior toward her mother. Oddly enough, while it seems that the intent of the author is to portray Ginger as some sort of over-bearing, out of control, worry wart, I didn’t find any of Ginger’s behaviors to be alarming. In fact, if anything, I found the lack of concern from her husband and the daughter’s bratty, entitled behavior to be the source of my outrage. I was with Ginger all the way. Her teenage daughter needed to be reined in and her husband needed a foot in his a$$.

Accordingly I didn’t buy into one of the major premises of this story, which was that Ginger’s over-bearing nature chased off her daughter. Apparently, when your underage teenage daughter hangs out in her bedroom with her boyfriend, it is going too far to expect her to keep the bedroom door open. Similarly, it should be alright for said teenage daughter to respond in a mouthy, disrespectful manner to her mother if she dares to ask “where she is going”, “who she is going with”, “what she is doing”, etc. I call bullshit! That is called “parenting”.

Of course, while I spent most of this book wanting to bitch-slap Ginger’s worthless husband, who spent most of this story mentally checked out, I couldn’t really jump on the “horrible Ginger bandwagon” that seemed to be driving the storyline. Nope. Nothing was going to convince me that a reasonable parent wouldn’t be concerned when their underage teenage daughter decided to run off with her boyfriend to become a…wait for it…STREET PERFORMER! I could definitely understand Ginger, it was every other adult in this book that concerned me. To think that Ginger’s husband was actually a counselor of some sort terrified me.

Meanwhile, Ginger’s memories provide a glimpse into her own relationship with her mother. If Ginger is overbearing, her mother was anything but. In fact, I’m not sure that her mother had a nurturing bone in her body. Glory was one of the most self-absorbed characters that I’ve ever encountered. Her children were little more than “accessories” or a “captive audience” to stroke her out of control ego. Toward the end, a little light was shed regarding her motivations for some of her actions. By that point, it made little difference to me. I loathed this woman.

I don’t want to give too much away, but there are many lies and secrets that prove to be pivotal in this story. Aside from highlighting some very troublesome mother-child relationships, this book illustrates how lies can be ruinous. There was so much dishonesty and it left destruction in it’s wake.

Overall, this ended up being a mediocre read for me. I didn’t feel like all of my questions were answered. For example, I still have questions about the nature of Glory’s relationship with Casper. I also felt like the “big reveal” was a bit anti-climactic. I guess after all of the waiting, I expected something more. In the end, it just never happened.

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Review: The Risk (Mindf*ck Series, #1), by S. T. Abby

The Risk (Mindf*ck Series #1)The Risk by S.T. Abby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Holy hell! This book was fantastic! I had never heard of S. T. Abby before now, but she has blown me away with this book. This is one twisted and fascinating story. I will be one-clicking her releases from this point forward.

The first in a series of five serials, ‘The Risk’ was suspenseful and utterly addicting. I could not put this super short book down. Once you’ve finished the first one, you’re going to want to delve into the next book immediately. Luckily, the entire series has been released, so you don’t have to live with the anxious anticipation for long.

Logan Bennett is a very successful FBI criminal profiler. His team is the FBI’s “dream team” of sorts. They get assigned the toughest cases, tracking down and capturing the country’s worst murderers. He is the quintessential “good guy” and a real-life hero.

Lana Myers is his polar opposite. Her life experiences have taught her that good does not always prevail. She is no longer a young girl with illusions of a criminal justice system that is fair and just. She knows all to well that there is true evil in this world. She has no qualms about handing out her own special brand of justice to those that she deems deserving of punishment. I can’t say that I disagreed either. Lana is quite possibly one of my favorite leading female characters ever…and she’s a serial killer!

When Logan and Lana cross paths, sparks fly immediately. One chance meeting at a coffee shop sets a chain of events in motion that will change the lives of these two forever. I was completely glued to this story. I knew that things were bound to get really ugly, but I couldn’t tear myself away.

Lana knows that the last thing she should ever do is pursue a romantic relationship with an FBI profiler. However, she just can’t deny herself the happiness that she feels with Logan. For his part, Logan is completely clueless about Lana’s true identity or what she does when she’s away from him. He has no idea that the serial killer he’s been hunting is actually warming his bed at night.

From start to finish, I could not pull myself away from this story. Despite being polar opposites, S. T. Abby managed to make both Logan and Lana characters that were endearing. I loved them both, even as I feared the heartache that I know has to be looming in the distance.

This story was dark, twisted and thrilling. This first serial ended with a big cliffhanger, that had me jumping into the next one immediately. I was blown away by this story.

If you’re a fan of dark, suspenseful stories that will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time, then you need to read this series. The first book is free, so you’re not losing anything if you don’t like it. If you’re like me, you won’t even want to come up for air until you’ve read all five. This series was phenomenal!

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