Deanna’s Review ~ 8 Recent Reads

DEANNA’S REVIEW ~ 8 RECENT READS

Mini Book Reviews for 8 Books I Recently Read and Enjoyed

8 Recent Reads is a mini book review post about some of the books I read and enjoyed the last couple of months. Since time isn’t always permissible for a longer book review, I thought I would do a combined post to talk about some of the books I read in the past few weeks. This post is by no means all of the books I read and enjoyed, but simply a few I enjoyed and wanted to talk about in a short post. I will have more individual posts coming up in the weeks ahead about what else I’ve read lately, but for now, I’m sharing my thoughts on these reads.

 

Deanna's Review 8 Recent Reads

 

DRAGON REVEALED

by Donna Grant

* E-book purchased through Amazon *

Dragon Revealed by Donna Grant

Deanna’s Thoughts: This was such a well written, action-packed, can’t-put-it-down novella. From the very first page, Grant pulled me into the story. Made me want to know more about the characters, the setting, and the Dragon Kings world. I enjoyed seeing things from Jeyra’s point of view, and learning why she had such an issue with the Dragon Kings. It was easy to like her and follow her on her journey, though her methods were seriously questionable. Varek was also a great character, and his dilemma was fun because it forced him to react differently to the people around him than he would if he had his magic.

The characterization and setting in DRAGON REVEALED was vivid and so well-developed, and the love story was epic in its sense of forbidden desire, secrets and lies, and an almost blinding need for vengeance. Very much a story about how hatred of others can blind us to the truth, and how differently we might see if we simply opened our eyes and saw the world through another pair of eyes. Such a great story!

 

RATING: 5 out of 5 stars

 

BOOK DETAILS

PUBLISHER: 1,001 Dark Knights Press
SERIES: Dragon Kings
AVAILABLE IN: Digital, Paperback
PUBLISHED: January 12, 2021
PAGES: 163

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant comes a new story in her Dragon Kings series…

The capture of a Dragon King is cause for celebration. Jeyra never dreamed she would actually face one of the creatures who destroyed her home. But the longer she’s around him, the more she finds herself gravitating to him. All it takes is one reckless kiss that unleashes desires and the truth that has been hidden from her to set them both on a course that could be the end of them.

Varek, King of Lichens, has known nothing but a life with magic. Until he finds himself on a different realm unable to call up his powers. Worse, he’s in shackles with no memory of how it happened. When he sees an enthralling woman who leaves him speechless, he believes he can charm her to free him. The more she rebuffs him, the more he craves her, igniting a dangerous passion between them. Can he protect the woman he’s fallen for while uncovering the truth – or will peril that neither see coming tear them apart? 

AVAILABLE NOW AT

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | WALMART EBOOK

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BACK IN THE TEXAN’S BED by Naima Simone

* Received an ARC, but also purchased print book through Amazon *

Back in the Texan's Bed by Naima Simone

Deanna’s Thoughts: I have to admit, I am a bit hit or miss with secret baby books, but Simone did a great job with tackling that issue here. I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t say how she tackled that in the story, but I will say high-handed tactics were involved, and none of them were so outlandish that they weren’t believable. It is all too easy to imagine how something similar to this could come about in real life, which made it really easy for me to root for Charlotte and Ross to get their happily ever after in this book. And I loved the romance in this. That whole second chance, forbidden love angle is one of my all time faves, and when it also comes with a son of the boss/hired help type dynamic…yeah, I’m in.

This was a really fun read, with two equally great characters. Highly recommend checking it out.

 

RATING: 4.5 out of 5 stars

 

BOOK DETAILS

PUBLISHER: Harlequin Desire
SERIES: Texas Cattleman’s Club: Heir Apparent
AVAILABLE IN: Digital, Paperback
PUBLISHED: February 2021
PAGES: 221

Will they ever learn… that giving in to desire is playing with fire?

After discovering he has a secret son, oil heir Ross Edmond isn’t letting Charlotte Jarrett walk away again. He proposes they move in together–to share their son…and a bed. But Charlotte has secrets, and Ross doesn’t know the real reason his family’s former chef left town three years ago–and they still have a powerful enemy who could bring them both down…

AVAILABLE NOW AT

AMAZONBARNES & NOBLEWALMART EBOOK

ADD TO GOODREADS

 

THE RANCHER’S WAGER by Maisey Yates

* Purchased print book through Amazon *

The Rancher's Wager by Maisey Yates

Deanna’s Thoughts: I love a book with a good bet in it. It’s always so fun to see which one will win and which one will lose, whether by right or on purpose to gain something they didn’t think they wanted at the start. In this case, a determined Cricket wins her neighbor Jackson in a bet, with the sole purpose of using him to help her get her decrepit farm updated and properly functioning within the next 30 days. Though Cricket never felt like she belonged in her own family, she is desperate to prove herself capable and worthy of the farm she has inherited. She wants something of her own and she knows Jackson can help her get it.

A bit of a slow burn romance at the start, but a fantastic read overall. Jackson and Cricket were great together, and their romance was built on facing all those fears they each had about themselves and their past experiences. Really great read.

 

RATING: 4.5 out of 5 stars

 

BOOK DETAILS

PUBLISHER: Harlequin Desire
Series: Gold Valley Vineyards
AVAILABLE IN: Digital, Paperback
PUBLISHED:
January 12, 2021

This wealthy rancher has placed his bet…

And it’s winner takes all!

No one gets under Jackson Cooper’s skin like fellow ranch owner Cricket Maxfield. Now, facing off at a charity poker game, the stakes get personal. Jackson finds himself on the losing end… And paying up means being the ranch hand at Cricket’s beck and call. In close quarters, tempers flare—and the fire between them ignites into a passion that won’t be ignored… 

AVAILABLE NOW AT

AMAZONBARNES & NOBLEWALMART EBOOK

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AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS by B.B. Alston

* Purchased hardcover through Amazon *

Amari and the Night Brothers

Deanna’s Thoughts: Amari and the Night Brothers is a fantastic middle grade read, with small influences from books and movies sprinkled throughout its chapters. I absolutely loved Amari and how determined she was to find out what happened to her brother, Quinton. Everything she went through in trying to get answers about her brother speaks to the level of love and respect she has for him, and why she needs to find him and bring him home.

The magical elements and supernatural world in this book are so dang fun. So many nuisances and lessons to discover, and the whole time, I wanted to know more about this world and all the characters and creatures who inhabit it. This book was a dynamic 5 star read for me and a phenomenal start to what it is sure to be an incredible new series. One day, I hope to see this series reach movie screens. It would be amazing to see some of this come to life on screen.

 

RATING: 5 out of 5 stars

 

BOOK DETAILS

PUBLISHER: Balzer & Bray
SERIES: Supernatural Investigations
AVAILABLE IN: Digital, Hardcover
PUBLISHED: January 12, 2021
PAGES: 413
AGES: 8-12 (Grades 3-7)

Amari Peters has never stopped believing her missing brother, Quinton, is alive. Not even when the police told her otherwise, or when she got in trouble for standing up to bullies who said he was gone for good.

So when she finds a ticking briefcase in his closet, containing a nomination for a summer tryout at the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain the secretive organization holds the key to locating Quinton—if only she can wrap her head around the idea of magicians, fairies, aliens, and other supernatural creatures all being real.

Now she must compete for a spot against kids who’ve known about magic their whole lives. No matter how hard she tries, Amari can’t seem to escape their intense doubt and scrutiny—especially once her supernaturally enhanced talent is deemed “illegal.” With an evil magician threatening the supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she’s an enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t stick it out and pass the tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton.

AVAILABLE NOW AT

AMAZONBARNES & NOBLE | WALMART EBOOK

ADD TO GOODREADS

 

THE VINEYARD AT PAINTED MOON by Susan Mallery

* Received an ARC, but that did not influence my review of the book *

The Vineyard at Painted Moon by Susan Mallery

 

Deanna’s Thoughts: This was a bit of a tough read for me. As a multi-point-of-view story, it had several family drama subplots going on that felt like it distracted a bit from the main story. And yes, I know the other characters and their issues were all connected to the main plot of the book, it just made this a more difficult read for me personally. However, I enjoyed reading the book on whole. Susan Mallery is a fabulous storyteller and her characters are always unique and well-developed. This book was no exception to that.

Mackenzie’s plight is something a lot of readers can relate to, because it really highlights how much women sometimes have to give up in their life for the men they love. And what happens when that love begins to fade and contentment with the status quo no longer holds any appeal. Because there does come a time when some couples drift so far apart, they become strangers to one another, and this book is a really good example of how that can happen. I loved Mackenzie’s journey to find herself and to build something lasting of her own. Her growth from just going through the motions of life to actually living life was one of the many great life lessons to take away from this book. Overall, this was a great story, and one I am so thankful I had the chance to read.

 

RATING: 4 out of 5 stars

 

BOOK DETAILS

PUBLISHER: HQN Books
AVAILABLE IN: Digital, Paperback
PUBLISHED: February 9, 2021
PAGES: 361

Mackenzie Dienes seems to have it all—a beautiful home, close friends and a successful career as an elite winemaker with the family winery. There’s just one problem—it’s not her family, it’s her husband’s. In fact, everything in her life is tied to him—his mother is the closest thing to a mom that she’s ever had, their home is on the family compound, his sister is her best friend. So when she and her husband admit their marriage is over, her pain goes beyond heartbreak. She’s on the brink of losing everything. Her job, her home, her friends and, worst of all, her family.

Staying is an option. She can continue to work at the winery, be friends with her mother-in-law, hug her nieces and nephews—but as an employee, nothing more. Or she can surrender every piece of her heart in order to build a legacy of her own. If she can dare to let go of the life she thought she wanted, she might discover something even more beautiful waiting for her beneath a painted moon.

AVAILABLE NOW AT

AMAZONBARNES & NOBLEWALMART EBOOK

ADD TO GOODREADS

 

RECKONING by Jeaniene Frost

* Purchased e-book through Amazon *

* Buddy Read with Heather *

Reckoning by Jeaniene Frost

Deanna’s Thoughts: Though this is a short novella, it was a really great read for me. I loved getting to know Bones before he meets Cat in Halfway to the Grave. Loved the setting and the action in this and just the overall characterization of Bones. What he went through prior to landing in Ohio and why he went through it was great to discover, and let’s face it, Bones is a fascinating character to begin with. He’s just so much fun to read, and such a great vampire character to explore in terms of history. He can be violent, sure, but he’s not without heart, and I think that’s the biggest takeaway here.

Absolutely loved this one. Great series to start if you loved the Buffy tv series and have been missing it, since it ended.

 

RATING: 5 out of 5 stars

 

BOOK DETAILS

PUBLISHER: Avon
SERIES: Night Huntress # 0.5
AVAILABLE IN: Digital | PAGES: 71
PUBLISHED:
November 29, 2011

In New Orleans, a pair of undead ghoul serial killers is about to turn Mardi Gras into a horror show – unless the immortal hitman Bones can hunt them down first. Can he avoid redhaired vampire mercenary in pursuit at the same time? Originally printed in the anthology, Unbound.

AVAILABLE NOW AT

AMAZONBARNES & NOBLEWALMART EBOOK

ADD TO GOODREADS

 

HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE by Jeaniene Frost

* Purchased print book through Amazon *

* Buddy Read with Heather *

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Deanna’s Thoughts: Years ago, I listened to this book on audio and absolutely loved it, though I think that was due to the voice actors of the book and my love of all things Buffy. Now that a few years have passed and I picked this up in print as a buddy read with Heather, I found my opinion of the book has both changed and somehow not. The first half of the book wasn’t as strong as the second half for me this go-round, but the second half is what made this book such a great read for me.

I absolutely loved how Cat comes into her own and realizes exactly who she is and what she wants, and it’s because of Bones and his quest to have “all of her” that she does. He makes her realize she’s more than she’s allowed herself to be, more than her family thinks her to be, and more than the past that surrounds her birth says she could be. It’s such a powerful moment, and for someone that’s never quite felt like she fit in, a defining moment for Cat…and for Bones.

Highly recommend this book if you haven’t read it yet. It is truly a wonderful paranormal romance read, and it stands the test of time. Readers in 2021 can still enjoy this read, even all these years after its original publication date.

 

RATING: 4.5 out of 5 stars

 

BOOK DETAILS

PUBLISHER: Avon
Series: Night Huntress #1
AVAILABLE IN: Digital, Paperback
PAGES: 358 | PUBLISHED:
October 30, 2007

Flirting With The Grave…

Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father – the one responsible for ruining her mother’s life. Then she’s captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unlikely partnership.

In exchange for help finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She’s amazed she doesn’t end up as his dinner – are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn’t have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side … and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.

AVAILABLE NOW AT

AMAZONBARNES & NOBLEWALMART EBOOK

ADD TO GOODREADS

 

DESPERATE MEASURES by Katee Robert

* Purchased e-book through Amazon *

* Buddy Read with Heather *

Desperate Measures by Katee Robert

Deanna’s Thoughts: This book was another buddy read with Heather. I love Katee Robert and I fell behind reading a lot of her newer releases due to day job and graduate school commitments, so much so that I just kept the books in a TBR list to read when I wanted to binge a series. I was excited when Heather mentioned she was about to start the Wicked Villains series because it gave me a great reason to finally get to these books myself, and so far, after reading this first book, I’m enjoying it a lot.

Jafar is a bit of an asshole, for sure, but there’s also something about him that is so dynamic and engaging to read. It’s easy to understand how Jasmine could be equally drawn to him and wish to get away from him and all he stands for. He definitely isn’t a cinnamon roll hero, given the danger and darkness that surrounds him, but somehow, I love that about him in this book. I love that there’s this dark, dangerous edge to him, though he also has a secret softer side he doesn’t quite acknowledge or allow others to acknowledge about him. And I understand how Jasmine could both want him and not, given who he is and who has been to her. He was the forbidden…and then, suddenly, not so forbidden. The emotion and changes that come with that switch in circumstance is what makes this book such fun to read. It’s down and dirty, sinfully sexy, and with so many twists and turns, nothing can be taken for granted.

Overall, a fabulous start to the series. Looking forward to reading the next book. 

 

Favorite quotes

 

“…we reached the point of no return the second she looked at me with lust in those dark eyes and dared me to catch her.”

 

“The devil is Jafar’s voice in my ear, full of sin and promised pleasure.”

 

RATING: 5 out of 5 stars

 

WARNING SIDE NOTE

SEMI-SPOILERISH IF YOU CARE ABOUT THAT

This is a dark underworld type book, with all the kinks to match it, so if that isn’t your thing, you might want to avoid this one. While nothing happens in this story that isn’t entirely consensual between the characters, there are consensual-non-consensual sex scenes, power dynamics, and Daddy kink at play in this book. They are all handled extremely well by the author, but I know there is a fine line there that can be triggering for some and it’s also just not everyone’s cup of tea, so be aware of their existence in this, if you are thinking to give this book a try.

 

BOOK DETAILS

PUBLISHER: Trinkets and Tales
SERIES: Wicked Villains
AVAILABLE IN: Digital, Paperback
PUBLISHED: May 28, 2019
PAGES: 230

My Savior… Or My Ruin?

One night, and my entire life went up in flames. All because of him. Jafar. As my world burned down around me, he offered me a choice. Walk away with nothing but my freedom… Or rise to his challenge and win my fortune back.

I bargained.

I lost.

Now Jafar owns me, and even as my mind rails against his rules, my body loves the punishments he deals out when I break them.

But a gilded cage is still a prison, I’ll do anything to obtain my freedom.

Even betray the man I’m falling for.

 

AVAILABLE NOW AT

AMAZONBARNES & NOBLEWALMART EBOOK

ADD TO GOODREADS

 

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