Book Review: Alpha Kaden

cover-review-Alpha KadenTitle: Alpha Kaden [Alpha 2]

Author: Midika Crane

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Werewolves

Rating: 3 Stars (3.5)

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Description/Synopsis:

Everyone knows of Alpha Kaden, a man of twisted riddles and cryptic puzzles. His identity is one of them. His touch, another. He is feared throughout all 13 packs for his reputation of stealing young women out of their beds. And tonight he has come to steal Mara to make her a player in his wicked game.

But when Mara discovers the truth behind his sadistic mind games everything changes and she finds herself questioning what is real, and what is not. Mara always assumed her mate would be a man from her own pack. A good man. Not a sadistic, sinful Alpha named Kaden.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I have mixed feelings about Alpha Kaden by Midika Crane. From the synopsis, I assumed this was going to be a very dark romance tinged with bits of insanity–which is something I don’t often read, but I do find fascinating… but that isn’t really what I found. In fact, let’s be clear: the synopsis is incredibly misleading.

There were definite elements of darkness and insanity to the story (and a whole lot of romance) but not in the way I expected–and I’m not sure how I feel about that. At first, the romance between Kaden and Mara was everything it promised. There was this element of darkness and insanity that made the situation between the two lovers sultry and taboo…but then part way through the book there is a twist (and not a bad one at that!) that completely changes how we readers see Alpha Kaden.

Without giving too much away, he went from being this bad-ass, devilishly charismatic man… to being, well… kind of a wimp. On the one hand, I understand why the author changed his personality mid-way through, but on the other hand, I don’t think it was the best way to handle the situation. Kaden is an Alpha… just because the twist happened, doesn’t mean he stops being an Alpha. Frankly, I liked him before the twist a lot better than after. Mara didn’t agree with me apparently. She went from hating this man beyond words to falling madly in love with him n the course of a page—which was annoying, to say the least.

That being said, the chemistry between the characters was steamy, and everything you want from a romance once you get past the initial shock and confusion. The world building was interesting, the characters, though maybe a bit shallow, were compelling enough to carry the story. The writing itself was easy to read and flowed well. I just wish the Alpha hadn’t become such a Beta. It felt rushed and sloppy the way it was handled.

If you like paranormal romances with suspense and werewolves, you’ll probably enjoy Alpha Kaden. Despite its flaws, it was entertaining and definitely worth reading, but this isn’t going to be one of those books that you re-read over and over.

Book Review: Sinful Vices

review-cover-sinful vicesTitle: Sinful Vices

Author: Heather West

Genre: Romance, Thriller, Dark

Rating: 2 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

I’m no saint. She’s no angel. This is a match made in hell.

Cassidy is the one girl forbidden to me.

The one I’d sworn never to touch.

But when her father demands that I be her bodyguard, I can’t say no.

I should stay away.

I should leave her be.

But I can’t.

The temptation, the hunger, the need…

It’s too much to resist.

She’s so supple in my hands, so easy to bend to my will.

Owning her is ecstasy.

Until her father founds out what I’ve done.

Now, I’ve been exiled.

Stripped of my patch, my pride, and my woman, I’m a lost soul.

But I won’t be humiliated that easily.

I’m coming back.

I’m coming to take what’s mine.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Sigh. I can’t even with this book. I wanted to like it—I really did—and I did manage to finish it… but this is what I’d call a fluff book. It had plot, characters, conflict… but entirely lacked any sort of grounding. As much as I liked the main characters, their romance and the overall arch of the story, the dialogue, actions, and decisions of the characters were so ridiculously unbelievable that it ruined the book for me.

The worst perpetrator of this was the father of the main female lead, who talked like an old mob-boss. He was so over-the-top dramatic all the time that he made me want to roll my eyes. His dialogue was some of the most unrealistic I’ve ever read.

I don’t know if the author just rushed through this book in order to get it published as quickly as possible, or what—but it was definitely sub-par to the sort of care and craft I generally look for in a romance.

If you’re just looking for a fun, quick read to while away the time, this book is probably fine… but it’s not something I’d pick up if there were any other romance book within arm’s reach. I expected more.

Free Fiction Friday #77

Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Free Fiction Friday #77! For those of you who are new to this blog, or may have missed out on the previous Free Fiction Fridays—every Friday I post an article containing 10 fiction e-books that are 100% FREE on Amazon at the time of posting, and an additional 5 that are roughly of the same genre and on sale for less than $5.

I try my best to make sure they are all 4+ stars, have over 40+ reviews, and are 100 pages minimum—so you can have a hand-picked list of the best-of-the-best to choose from and enjoy over the long weekend (while I do more important things, like laundry). I try to switch up the genres every week, and this week our theme is: Science Fiction!

 

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Book Review: The Haunted Manor

review-cover-the haunted manorTitle: The Haunted Manor [Power and Love 1]

Author: Emilia Hartley

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Historical

Rating: 2 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Luck has not been on Lord Michael Baird’s side. After losing yet another large sum of money, he is relieved to discover that he has been left an estate in Scotland. With the ownership of this new estate he decides he will do his best to make it profitable. Upon arrival to the town he notices how unfriendly everyone seems to be. Finally when he reaches his estate he is met with not only a less-than-pleasant manor, but also household staff who refuse to even stay in the estate overnight. They try to explain about the ghostly goings-on in the home but he ignores their warnings completely. However it isn’t long before Michael is thoroughly convinced! He learns that there is only one person who might be able to help him rid his new estate of the malevolent spirits that haunt it: Rebecca.

Rebecca is the village’s wise woman who is only too willing to help. Ignoring her growing attraction to Michael, she works hard to find out more about the spirits and how she can banish them forever using her magic. Michael is surprised to discover that the wise woman is both young and beautiful, and a desire for her grows the moment he first sets eyes on her. Realizing that nothing can happen between them, he tries to put his attraction aside, knowing that he will need to marry well if he is to set the estate to rights.

Will they be able to rid the estate of its ghosts and pursue their love for each other, or will Michael’s pursuit for money push her away for good?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

This is the second book from Emilia Hartley that I’ve read in the past week, and honestly, I’m underwhelmed. I wanted to like this book—it has everything I enjoy: it’s a historical romance that deals with the paranormal. What’s not to love? Apparently… quite a bit.

Here’s the thing: In the past year I read a book that was almost identical to this one in plot. Guy takes over a dilapidated manor, finds out it’s haunted, asks the local wise woman/town witch to help him out in getting rid of the haunting…they fall in love, things are resolved… and they live happily ever after. The one big difference is the other book was written better. Judging solely on the two books I’ve read from this author, she has a tendency to rush through her narrative. The pace in The Haunted Manor was quick to the point of making the events absurd. Despite societal rules and barely knowing each other, the main couple falls in love almost instantly, and within a handful of days, are ready to change their entire lives for each other. It’s a bit much to believe.

Another problem was the characters. They were all pretty 1-dimensional. The main male lead, Lord Michael Baird, was snobbish, entitled, arrogant, and weak-willed. The entire reason he decided he couldn’t be with the woman he loved… is because he thought it beneath his station to get his hands dirty. I did not like him as a character, and I found his attitude towards the other characters condescending. His voice came off as feminine—but trying not to be. The funny thing is… other than Michael not wanting to step below his station, almost all other historical societal conventions of the time period were completely ignored.

As for the technical aspect of the book—it wasn’t bad. It was relatively clean and easy to read, although I did find a misused word, some doubled words and a few punctuation problems. It wasn’t what I’d consider egregious.

Overall, I was underwhelmed. I expected more out of this book, and I was disappointed by the rushed, lackluster manner in which it was written. I think it could have been better with a bit of polishing and some critical beta readers. In the end, I just didn’t like it.  If you like fluffy, short reads, you may enjoy this book, it just wasn’t for me.

Book Review: Configured

review-cover-configuredTitle: Configured [Configured 1]

Author: Jenetta Penner

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

In the future love will make you a traitor.

120 years after a virus decimated earth’s population the survivors thrive in safety, away from the death and destruction of the Outerbounds. Divided into three levels of intellect, Citizens focus solely on duty.

Due to her advanced intelligence, seventeen-year-old Avlyn Lark is separated from her twin brother at birth and raised by adoptive parents. She gains privilege, the ideal future. He dies. Avlyn barely knows him yet remains linked to his memory.

But following a string of rebel intrusions on the city, Avlyn receives a cryptic message and begins seeing visions of her dead twin. The mysterious radical who urges Avlyn to join their fight becomes her link to answers. Freedom.

Opportunity awaits, but if she says yes will she lose it all?

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I thoroughly enjoyed Configured by Jenetta Penner. Although it was yet another dystopian in an already saturated market, there were aspects to Avlyn’s story that were very new.

As far as the technical aspects of the book are concerned, Configured was exceedingly well written. The narrative flowed well, there were no obvious technical mistakes, and I easily got sucked into the story from beginning to end.

The characters were interesting and likable. Avlyn and her love interests were, of course, my favorites—complicated would be an understatement. The romance was one of the draws of the book for me (I’m all about that romantic tension!)

Overall, it was a good, solid start to the series, and I greatly enjoyed it. If you’re a fan of Young Adult Dystopian reads, this is definitely a book you’re going to want to pick up. I honestly don’t have anything to complain about with Configured, and I can’t wait to delve further into the series!

Free Fiction Friday #76

Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Free Fiction Friday #76! For those of you who are new to this blog, or may have missed out on the previous Free Fiction Fridays, every Friday I post an article containing 10 fiction e-books that are 100% FREE on Amazon at the time of posting, and an additional 5 that are roughly of the same genre and on sale for less than $5. I try my best to make sure they are all 4+ stars, have over 40+ reviews, and are 100 pages minimum-so that you can have a hand-picked list of the best-of-the-best to choose from and enjoy over the long weekend (while I do more important things, like laundry). I try to switch up the genres every week, and this week our them is: Historical Romance!

THE FREE

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THE BARGAINS

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Book Review: Remnants

review-cover-remnantsTitle: Remnants [Brandon Fisher FBI Series 6]

Author: Carolyn Arnold

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Crime

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

When multiple body parts are recovered from the Little Ogeechee River in Savannah, Georgia, local law enforcement calls in FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team to investigate. But with the remains pointing to three separate victims, this isn’t proving to be an open-and-shut case.

With no quick means of identifying the deceased, building a profile of this serial killer is more challenging than usual. How are these targets being selected? Why are their limbs being severed and their bodies mutilated? And what is it about them that is triggering this person to murder?

The questions compound as the body count continues to rise, and when a torso painted blue and missing its heart is found, the case takes an even darker turn. But this is only the beginning, and these new leads draw the FBI into a creepy psychological nightmare. One thing is clear, though: The killing isn’t going to stop until they figure it all out. And they are running out of time…

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Remnants by Carolyn Arnold is not the type of book I would normally pick up. Although I love murder mysteries and suspense stories, I’ll admit that character-driven fiction is the main basis for my love of most books—and this book wasn’t character driven. We’ll get to that in a minute, though.

Technically speaking, Remnants was well written. It was easy to follow along, there weren’t a lot of grammatical or punctuation mistakes, and the pace of the book was steady throughout. It was effortless to sink into the story and follow along with the story—I have nothing to complain about.

The crime was interesting and thrilling, and like the characters, I had a hard time puzzling out who the perpetrator was until near the very end. My only true nitpick is that I didn’t feel like I really connected with any of the characters. I didn’t relate to them, I didn’t particularly like them, and aside from the murderer, I didn’t find them all that interesting. Maybe it’s my penchant for character-driven fiction—I don’t know—but It did drop this book down a star for me.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t like the book though. Overall, I enjoyed the book for what it was, and if you love crime fiction, this is a solid choice. I only wish I’d been a little more drawn to the characters than I was. It would have been nice to get sucked into the personalities of the FBI agents a little more.