Shelly Laurenston, The Unleashing

I’m not a big Paranormal Romance reader. I’ve always liked psychics, but things with witches and vampires and shape shifters were never really my thing. Luckily I have good friends who give EXCELLENT book recommendations, and I got hooked on Shelly Laurenston’s shifter books. When I received the ARC I was both excited and trepidatious. The good was YAY! New Shelly Laurenston book! The bad was Hmm. Birds? Really?

I’m not a fan of birds. They creep me out. And they’re pretty evil, but that theory could be because I saw The Birds when I was young and impressionable. *shudder*

I finally had the time and the inclination to read this one and see what it was about. I was as surprised as anyone when I discovered I really enjoyed myself. Kera was the typical Laurenston heroine: Snarky, funny, and not about to take anything from anyone. She’ll stand on her own, thankyouverymuch, and if someone doesn’t like it, there’s the door. It was interesting to see a woman who was, more or less, a total loner adjust to living in a house full of women. Not to mention adjusting to becoming a Crow.

As for Vig, our hero, he was adorable. Quiet and strong and willing to do what was necessary to help Kera become everything he always knew she could be. He is gruff and scary to everyone but her, and he’s been lusting after her for AGES. He is her stability and safety in a world gone mad, and he helps her figure out her place in it. He’s got his “brothers” and she has her “sisters” and watching the two of them deal with it all was fun to watch.

I also LOVED the little bits with Kera’s dog, Brodie Hawaii.

The one complaint I had is there is a lot of world building in this book. I mean A LOT. While it is interesting and cleverly done, this book is obviously a set up for her new series, and even though there IS a HEA for Vig and Kera, there are threads and plots running through The Unleashing which are left unresolved and will be picked up in the next book. I’m looking forward to that one, as hopefully we’ll get more time with the main couple (whoever they may be) and less world building.

Still, all in all, I enjoyed it and will happily pick up book 2.

Rating: 3 Stars

Lynda the Guppy


Smokin’ Hot, Lynn LaFleur

When I saw Lynn LaFleur’s Smokin’ Hot was up for review, I grabbed it quick! Why, you might ask? Well, let’s take a look, shall we:

Firemen: Check
Novellas: Check
Friends to Lovers story (Spark): Check
Marriage in Jeopardy (Smolder): Check
Small Town Romance: Check

All it needed was an ugly duckling story or a beauty and the beast story and you’d have all the tropes I love in one book.

Happily I can report I really liked this book. It was a collection of three novellas (Singe, Spark, Smolder) all centered around the Volunteer Fire Department in Lanville, Texas. They were voted the Hottest Fire Department in Texas, too. The stories were short, yet satisfying, the sex was hot, and the firemen hotter (hubba hubba), and the characters engaging and interesting. I had never read anything by Ms. LaFleur before, and I could tell there were other stories already told about these firefighters, but I never felt I was missing something by not reading all the stories in order.

My one complaint, and it’s kind of minor in the grand scheme of things, was some parts of the sex scenes carried over from one story to the next. For example, there were mannerisms the guys all did in the bedroom which wouldn’t happen in real life. And no, I’m not talking about Tab A fitting in Slot B. I’m talking about specific instructions they give and the gestures they make are an obvious result of one author creating all the scenes. I wish that had been caught during edits. It’s really more of an author’s writing tic than a conscious decision. All authors have them, but usually they show up across several books. In this case, Ms. LaFleur had them all show up in different stories within the same book.

Like I said up above, I enjoyed this book. It was a quick, entertaining read, and I’ll be on the lookout for the next book in the series to see what everyone’s up to.

Lynda the Guppy
aka A Fire Fish Who Loves Firemen
aka The Fish With Sticks 

Rating: 3 Stars